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Iraqi Military Reconstruction

Iraqi Security Forces began to recover strength in early 2005, following the major setback in late 2004. However, by mid-2005 the overall growth in Iraqi forces had slowed, no doubt at least in part reflecting the ferocity of insurgent attacks against Iraqi Security Forces. End-strength growth from April through June was negligible, 162,000 on 04 May 2005 to 168,000 by 22 June 2005. Indeed, endstrength declined slightly in June, dropping from 169,362 on 08 June 2005.

Overall, from October 2003 through October 2004 the objective end-strength of Iraqi forces appears to have doubled, increasing from 170,000 to 346,700. The actual number of forces on hand increased from 98,700 in October 2003 to 181,200 in October 2004. The shortfall of troops increased from 72,200 to 165,500 over this period.

The US made essentially no progress in increasing the number of Iraqi forces during the year 2004, with the total number of troops on hand continuing to hover at about 200,000. The situation in January 2004 looked fairly good, with 210,400 troops on hand, versus a desired end-strength of 226,700 -- ie, about 90% fill of desired endstrength. By October 2004 things did not look so good, with with 181,200 troops on hand, versus a desired end-strength of 346,700 -- slightly better than 50% of desired end-strength.

Even more striking are the changes between August 2004 and October 2004, following the troops to task analysis completed in August. Over this three month period, the objective end-strength of Iraqi forces increased from 265,900 to 346,700, while the shortfall of troops increased from 30,100 to 165,500 over this same period. In September 2004 the Police end-strength objective increased from 90,000 to 135,000, while in October 2004 the Police forces on hand dropped from 84,900 to 43,900. Reflecting both the increase in end-strength requirements, and the drastic decrease in police on hand, the percentage of Police force requirements filled dropped from 95% in August to 33% in October.

All of these numbers include the Facilities Protection Service, charged with guarding buildings and preventing looting. We know that this outfit is still in existence, since on 04 December 2004 it was reported that a car bomb plowed into a bus carrying members of the Iraqi Facilities Protection Service as they traveled from the Kurdish city of Irbil to Mosul. According to one report, 13 to 15 members of the force were killed. But the roughly 75,000 members of this entity were dropped from reporting in the May timeframe, for no apparent reason.

The Facilities Protection Service seems to have been easy duty, since the FPS never had trouble meeting its quota. Indeed, in late 2003 and early 2004 it was chasing people away. The worst month was January 2004, when the FPS had 97,000 people on the payroll, versus a desired end-strength of 50,000.

If the Facilities Protection Service is removed from the equation, things don't look so good. From October 2003 through November 2004 the objective end-strength of Iraqi forces appears to have more than doubled, increasing from 148,000 to 273,600. The actual number of forces on hand increased from 79,500 in October 2003 to 165,800 in September 2004. But the actual number of forces on hand fell to 107,200 in October and to 114,000 in November 2004. The shortfall of troops increased from 69,400 to 159,000 over this period.

Leaving the Facilities Protection Service out of the equation, the US had made steady progress in increasing the number of Iraqi forces during the first nine months of 2004, with the total number of troops on hand growing from 112,000 in January to 165,000 in September. Through the middle of the year the desired end-strength numbers held fairly steady, at about 175,000 troops. But the August Troops to Task analysis increased the desired endstrength to roughly 275,000.

Between August 2004 and November 2004, the objective end-strength of Iraqi forces increased from 188,000 to 273,000, while the shortfall of troops increased from 30,100 to abou 160,000 over this same period. In September 2004 the Police end-strength objective increased from 90,000 to 135,000, while in October 2004 the Police forces on hand dropped from 84,900 to 43,900. Reflecting both the increase in end-strength requirements, and the drastic decrease in police on hand, the percentage of Police force requirements filled dropped from 95% in August to 33% in October. By December, recruitment had raised the total on-hand to about 50,000, still far short of the goal.

Force Planning Major Milestones

  1. November 2003 - Increased end-strength objective for Civil Defense Corps from 25,000 to 40,000.
  2. November 2003 - Increased end-strength objective for Border Police from 11,800 to 25,700.
  3. November 2003 - Increased end-strength objective for Facility Protection Service from 21,500 to 50,000.
  4. April 2004 - Army forces on-hand dropped from 5,600 to 2,400.
  5. April 2004 - Civil Defense Corps forces on-hand dropped from 34,700 to 23,100.
  6. July 2004 - Civil Defense Corps disbanded and replaced by National Guard, with end-strength objective increased from 40,600 to 41,000.
  7. July 2004 - Established new Intervention Force with an objective end-strength of 6,600.
  8. July 2004 - Established new Special Operations Force with an objective end-strength of 1,600.
  9. July 2004 - Established new Coastal Defense Force with an objective end-strength of 400.
  10. July 2004 - Established new Air Corps with an objective end-strength of 500.
  11. July 2004 - Increased end-strength objective for Facility Protection Service from 55,000 to 74,000.
  12. September 2004 - Increased end-strength objective for National Guard from 41,000 to 61,900.
  13. September 2004 - Increased end-strength objective for Border Enforcement from 16,300 to 32,000.
  14. September 2004 - Increased end-strength objective for Police from 90,000 to 135,000.
  15. October 2004 - Police forces on hand drop from 84,900 to 43,900.
  16. October 2004 - Established new Highway Patrol, with an end-strength objective of 1,500.
  17. October 2004 - Established new Dignitary Protection Service, with an end-strength objective of 500.

Background

Initial US plans were for Iraq is to get a new army division numbering 12,000 troops within a year. The New Iraqi Army's primary responsibilities would be for border protection, securing roads and installations, and clearing mines and unexploded bombs left over from the war.

The first division was conceived as light infantry, with an goal of three divisions with about 40,000 soldiers within three years. US General Paul Eaton, a former commander of the infantry school in the United States, would supervise training which will likely be supervised by contracted US firms most likely either/or Dyncorp and MPRI. Recruiting began in early July 2003.

Iraqi border patrol forces will relieve-and eventually replace-Coalition forces at checkpoints where foreign terrorists are coming across borders to attack US troops. As of October 2003 over 5,000 Iraqi border police were at work. The goal is to expand the number of border police and customs personnel to more than 20,000.

On 21 August 2003 Gen. John Abizaid, commander of the US Central Command, said more than 50,000 Iraqis "under arms that are working in coordination with the coalition." These Iraqi security forces include 35,000 in the police forces, 2,300 in a civil-defense corps, 17,000 security guards hired to defend infrastructure.

On 16 September 2003 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said 56,000 Iraqis are providing for their own security through police, army, border guards, site protection and a civil defense corps; and another 14,000 Iraqis have been recruited and are in training, which effectively brings to 70,000 the number of Iraqis now serving across the country.

By the end of September 2003 more than 60,000 Iraqis were serving in providing security for their country, making Iraqis the single largest member of the coalition after the United States. These Iraqis are fighting and taking casualties. Their numbers are made up of roughly 40,000 members of the Iraqi police, as well as members of the new Facility Protection Service, the new Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and the border guards. By January 2004, the US planned to have 15,000 members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and 20,000 members of the Facility Protection Service. With additional resources, those numbers could be expanded further, because there is no shortage of Iraqis willing to serve. The US has plans to field 66,000 police and 3 divisions of the new Iraqi Army which could be speeded up substantially with the additional resources the President has called for.

On 04 October 2003 President George W Bush said Iraq had a civil defence corps of nearly 2,500, a border guard force of 4,700 and a facility protection service of over 12,000. On 09 October 2003 US administrator L. Paul Bremer told a news conference in Baghdad that 60,000 Iraqis were providing security to their country.

As of mid-October 2003 about 70,000 Iraqis were engaged in security operations, and another 13,000 were in or awaiting training. These include the police, border enforcement officers, Civil Defense Corps, Facility Protection Service, and New Iraq Army. Plans are for this total to grow to at least 170,000. The supplemental supported the fielding of a New Iraqi Army - 27 battalions by September 2004. The first battalion of 700 Iraqis graduated from training in early October 2003.

By the end of October 2003 national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told foreign reporters the overall number was "over 85,000 and growing." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told an audience at Georgetown University the figure was "some 80,000 to 90,000."

On 04 November 2003 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that "over 100,000" Iraqi forces had been trained to provide security, with that number expected to double by September 2004. Rumsfeld's number represented a 40 percent increase from administration estimates a month earlier.

As of mid-November 2003 the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps Forces was at about 13,000 strength. They are a local militia of such, and they're projected to get up around 40,000 by mid-2004. The border police and the border patrol were at about 4,000 strength, moving up to 25,000. The Iraqi Police Services were at around 62,000, and they'll move to 71,000 by mid-2004. The Facilities Protection Forces free US forces up from having to do static guard duties. They will eventually be as high as 50,000. And the new Iraqi army that's being formed, was at one battalion strength, and it's going up to 35,000 strength.

OSD reported on 19 November 2003 that there are a total of 138,600 Iraqis working in the various Iraqi Security Forces. More than 6,900 are in training. The Coalition Provisional Authority's goal is to have 221,700 personnel in the security forces. According to OSD, 86 members of the Iraqi Security Forces have been killed in action; 153 have been wounded in action since 1 June.

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 about 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which approximately 100,000 were trained and equipped) along with 74,000 facility protection forces were actively participating in security missions. Petraeus believed that six regular army and Intervention force battalions would become operational sometime within the next two months and that nine more regular army battalions would have completed training by January 2005. However, in the previous two months only 7,500 men had signed up for the Army and 3,500 for the police force. He also provided an unspecified time table regarding the expansion of Iraqi border forces, then standing at 16,000, only saying that the numbers would increase to 24,000 and then 32,000.



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