Army Infantry Brigades
Initial US plans were for Iraq is to get a new army division numbering 12,000 troops within a year. Plans called for the first division to a light infantry unit with an ultimate goal of three divisions, composed of 9 brigades of 27 battalions, with about 40,000 soldiers by the end of 2004. US General Paul Eaton, a former commander of the infantry school in the United States, would supervise training which will likely be contracted out to US firms. Recruiting began in early July 2003.
The New Iraqi Army's first battalion of some 700 soldiers graduated on 04 October 2003. The first army battalion had a bad start with about 300 members of the 700-strong force quitting over low salaries. The first battalion trained by the CMATT graduated on 4 October 2003 and is based at Kirkuk. It was employed by the 4th Infantry Division Mechanized. The second battalion was employed by the 1st Armored Division, and has been garrisoned at Taji since its graduation on 6 January 2004. Reportedly, 3rd Bn was disbanded in May 2004, leaving 1st, 2nd, and 4th Bns in 1st Brigade. The designation 3d Bn was then transferred to a new batallion in the process of forming.
The remaining 23 battalions will follow a course of action, where officers and non-commissioned officers will conduct separate courses. They then come together to form the battalion cadre, and will train their own soldiers are recruited and brought together en masse to the locations where the garrisons are set. This will be an Iraqi army trained by Iraqis.
The Iraqi army's 7th Battalion was activated 01 August 2004 with the basic training completion and graduation of 723 training recruits in a ceremony at the Kirkush Military Training Base east of Baghdad, concluding the stand-up of the army's fifth fully-manned and trained battalion. It also completes the Iraqi army's 3rd Brigade of the 5th Division.
By August 2004 steady growth and rapid progression seems to be the status of the 3rd Brigade, Iraqi Army, based out of the Kirkush Military Training Base. The 3rd Brigade is composed of Iraqi Soldiers from the 5th, 6th, and 7th Battalions, all which have achieved a high level of confidence incident to completing the military training program conducted by the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT). Soldiers from the 6th Battalion started conducting military operations in the Diyala Province, as the 3rd Brigade expands its role in the security of Iraq. Missions conducted by the 6th Battalion have included traffic control checkpoints; dismount foot patrols, and cordon and search operations.
The final unit was slated to come on line in early February 2005. In the meantime, on September 26, 2004, Lt. General David H. Petraeus, commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post that six regular army battalions would become operational sometime within the next two months and that nine more regular army battalions would have completed training by January 2005.
The Iraqi army's 6th Battalion, 3rd Brigade conducted a cordon-and-search mission north of the city, 15 November 2004, with elements from the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division resulting in the detention of 17 individuals. Since operations commenced in Fallujah, a week earlier, 6th Battalion had been primarily involved in traffic-control point, cordon-and-search, and other various security operations outside of the city in support of operations inside the town.