Iraqi Army (IA)
New Iraqi Army (NIA)
As of March 2009, the Iraqi Army (IA) had 13 infantry divisions and one mechanized division organized under the Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC). Ground forces included 201 fully generated and trained IA battalions and 55 IA brigades with a force generation focus on enabler units to complete the divisional force structure. Of the 201 battalions, 179 comprised the IGFC combatant battalions. The other 25 battalions made up the Iraqi Infrastructure Battalion (5), the Presidential Brigade (5), the Baghdad Brigade (1), and the Independent Security Force battalions (13). Of the 55 brigades, 53 comprise the IGFC combatant brigades. The remaining 2 belonged to the Presidential Brigade and Baghdad Brigade, respectively.
In early 2009, budgetary constraints were expected to present a major hurdle to the IA's ability to recruit new members and to add new units. As of January 2009, 175 IA combat battalions were conducting operations, with 4 newly-formed battalions (179 total), an increase from 165 in the report from last quarter 2008. The hiring freeze based on budget challenges was expected to impact the manning of enabler units.
Despite the hiring freeze, the IA was able to generate 3 battalions, 2 brigade headquarters, one brigade headquarters service company, and one Motor Transport Regiment (MTR) with soldiers who were already in the training pipeline. As the hiring freeze continued, however, force generation of key enablers essential for completing the COIN force was expected to be adversely affected, particularly mortars, light artillery, signal, engineer, ISR units, field service regiments, as well as the remaining MTRs.
In October 2008, the IA suspended Basic Combat Training (BCT) after it surpassed its mandated manpower authorization. Approximately 73,000 Iraqi soldiers completed BCT in 2008. To maintain and improve institutional training capacity, Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTC-I) shifted its focus to professionalizing the force. This effort emphasized enhancing special skills, enabler units, unit-level, and recurring training to develop depth and improve the quality of individual soldier skills. The Warfighter Exercise (WFX) training program was indicative of continued improvement in training capacity and capability at the Divisional, Regional, and Combat Training Centers. Since the program began in June 2008, 4 battalions had completed this training. These exercises were scheduled and conducted by the IA with the Coalition prepared to support, as necessary. The Military Occupational Skills Qualification (MOSQ) courses for maintenance, transportation, signal, supply, administration, weapons armorer, military police, and medical personnel were other examples of continued progress. More than 14,400 soldiers have completed training in one of these eight different courses. The requirement for specialty MOSQ training was expected to increase significantly in 2009 as the focus continued to shift toward generating enabler units and skill sets.
In a separate effort, by early 2009 the IA had conducted 3 cycles of Transition and Reintegration (TNR) training with vetted former Iraqi militia. These 1,659 officers and 1,705 NCOs graduated from TNR training in December 2008, adding 16 percent to officer and 4 percent to NCO current strengths.
As of early 2009, the IA continued to develop a NCO Education System (NCOES) that emphasized small unit leadership. By March 2009, nearly 14,000 NCOs had graduated from NCOES courses. The IA approved its NCOES Campaign Plan in October 2008 after a 12-month planning effort and began implementation on 1 January 2009. The new NCOES was controlled by the Deputy Chief of Staff - Training Directorate, which standardized all IA NCOES education in Iraq. The system was based on the Iraqi leadership doctrine and was intended to link promotions to graduation from IA NCO-producing schools. A planning team of combat-proven IA officers and NCOs developed and refined NCOES courses for corporals, squad leaders, and platoon sergeants. The goal was to increase professionalism of the NCO Corps by improving leadership, training, and combat skills.
The Basic Combat Training Campaign Plan generated a review of the basic combat training modules and improvement in the quality of graduating soldiers. It identified the requirement to develop Drill Instructors and a Basic Combat Instructors Course to improve course instruction quality. The Basic Combat Instructors Course, designed to reinforce skills required to instruct basic combat trainees through the use of practical exercises was under development as of March 2009.
In November 2008, the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) conducted the initial 3-week course for Iraqi Senior NCOs. This course served as a "proof of principle" for future courses and lessons learned would lay the foundation for future senior NCO courses. The Iraqi Center for Military Values, Principles, and Leadership Development (CMVPLD) continued to provide the capability to professionalize the IA, offering instruction in 5 areas, including Professional Military Values, Leadership, the Profession of Arms, Law of Armed Conflict/Human Rights, and the Role of the Military in a Democracy. Ethics training was included in basic combat and leader training programs, during unit set fielding and as part of WFX exercises. The center had generated more than 400 new instructors at Regional Training Centers and the 4 Iraqi Military Academies. An additional 82 Joint Staff College students were also trained in 2008. In 2009, CMVPLD planned to deliver ethics training at the division level, as well as conduct training assessment visits to the Regional Training Centers (RTC) and the Divisions.
In January and February 2009, the Director of CMVPLD, the Chief of the National Defense University, and the Commandant of the Iraqi Military Academy at Qualachulon attended the International Society of Military Ethic's Annual Symposium in San Diego, and then visited the United States Military Academy at West Point. At West Point, the delegation toured the Academy's Center for Professional Military Ethics. They also participated in a full day workshop with the Army Center for the Professional Military Ethic to discuss character development and ways to develop effective ethics training programs for the IA. The Center also conducted pre-election training to elements of the IA on the role of the military in a democracy, and began distribution of thousands of military values posters and pocket cards to IA commands and training centers.
As of March 2009, 9 of 10 planned Divisional Training Centers (DTC) and Regional Training Centers (RTC) were complete. Each of these centers included a range complex, combat assault course, live fire shoot house, and outdoor classrooms. They were designed to support both BCT and WFX exercises for the IA. Billeting continued to be limited, however, which restricted usage of the centers. The combined capacity was limited to 14,600 students. Facilities planned in 2009 included dedicated after-action review and medical training classrooms, as well as weapons cleaning stations. The construction of 13 Location Commands, one for each IA division, continued. These commands consisted of warehousing, 3rd line maintenance, fuel storage, billeting, and lifesupport facilities. In 2009, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MoD) was also planning to build 14 life-support base sustainment warehouses to provide food storage capacity. Location Commands were targeted for completion in the spring of 2010, once Coalition funding was approved. By June 2009, location Commands were targeted for completion by 31 December 2009.
As of April 2009, the IA was manned to 59 percent of its authorized officers, 81 percent of its authorized NCOs, with 81 percent of total authorizations. IA personnel statistics reflected an average of 69 percent present for duty at any given time. The attrition rate of assigned personnel was 1.4 percent per month. The average leave rate was 25 percent of assigned personnel, which was equal to the policy limit of 25 percent. The absent-without-leave rate was less than 1 percent of the assigned strength per month. The most critical personnel challenge was developing a formal manpower management strategy aligned with the existing annual budget and expenditure plan that would permit intelligent personnel reductions and force shaping. Improving personnel accountability procedures, streamlining personnel administrative processes and the need to transparently promote individuals based on merit were also critical issues to be addressed.
Despite significant improvements, several shortfalls remained in the IA infrastructure by early 2009. The most significant shortfall was the availability of electricity. Only one base was connected to the national power grid, and all relied on generator-produced power, which was inconsistent at best and costly. Moreover, few bases had centralized power and sewage treatment plants. Although generators were used to offset this problem, connecting the remaining bases to the power grid would greatly reduce the cost of fuel and maintenance for the generators.
By June 2009, the IA had 13 infantry divisions and one mechanized division organized under the IGFC. Ground forces included 185 fully generated and trained IA battalions and 56 IA brigades with a force generation focus on enabler units to complete the divisional force structure. Of the 185 battalions, 168 comprised the IGFC combatant battalions. The other 17 battalions made up the Presidential Brigade (5), the Baghdad Brigade (1), and the Independent Security Force battalions (11). Of the 56 brigades, 53 comprised the IGFC combatant brigades. The remaining 3 belonged to the 1st and 2nd Presidential Brigade and Baghdad Brigade, respectively.
Budgetary constraints in mid-2009 were continuing to impact the manning of enabler combat support and combat service support units. The lack of soldiers entering the training base was forcing Iraqi leaders at all levels to face the dual challenge of manning and training enabler units. Divisions were expected to man enabler units from within their organizations by identifying overstrength units, such as the ISR formations and HQ elements, and cross-leveling accordingly. This was a difficult challenge as it forced them to make decisions against competing ministerial orders. The original 2009 force generation schedule was no longer applicable by June 2009 due to these challenges. As such, the Iraqi M7 Training Directorate had adopted a conditions-based Unit Set Fielding (USF) scenario where units had to meet a set of manning and training requirements in order to be scheduled for fielding. This was to ensure the units would be properly manned and trained prior to fielding and, upon completion, return a functioning enabler capability back to the division.
The 12th MTR completed USF during the second quarter of 2009 after a 3-month delay due to manning issues. This event completed the fielding of all 12 of the original MTRs. There has been a restructuring of the Field Service Regiment into the Transportation and Provisioning Regiment. This organization included the original MTR with each company gaining a Provisioning Platoon. The restructure also broke out the Field Workshop as an independent company and reorganized the Supply Company into the Ordnance Park as an independent company capable of receiving, storing, and disbursing Class II (clothing, tools, etc), IV (construction and barrier materials), and VII (major end items) items. The original capabilities of the Field Service Regiment were retained in this new organization.
In mid-2009, the MoD issued an order to all IA divisions requiring analysis on the effect of dissolving the 4th Battalion in each brigade and using those soldiers to man enabler units throughout the IA.
The Iraqi Counterinsurgency (COIN) School (ICS) continued during the middle of 2009 to provide the IA with relevant and responsive training, developing IA leaders to meet the needs of the evolving operational environment. The core courses, focused at both the NCO and officer levels, provided resident training in COIN, civil military operations, and civil affairs. 350 IA leaders had been educated since January 2009. Additionally, the ICS partnered with the Iraqi Ethics Center and the Lessons Learned Center to promote and enhance the highest level of professionalism among military leaders.
The IA continued at the same time the preparation for the fielding of both Light Artillery Batteries and Infantry Mortar Platoons. IA units were gaining basic mortar skills through partnership with Coalition forces. The IA training centers, with Coalition advisor instruction, were completing their second training course in preparation for the start of unit mortar fielding in July 2009.
During mid-2009, the Iraqi CMVPLD continued to provide the capability to professionalize the IA. The CMVPLD planned to deliver blocks of instruction to Division level leaders and training offices in 2009, and had by June 2009 executed 25 percent of this mission. Mobile TTs conducted train-the-trainer classes for 98 officers and NCOs in the 5th, 8th, and 14th Divisions (Karbala, Diyala, and Basrah Operations Commands, respectively), in addition to training 73 instructors at RTCs in Kirkuk (K1) and Hammam Al Alil. Awareness and relevance of the "Ethic Center" and its role in professionalizing the force was growing within the IA and the MoD.
As of July 2009, the IA was manned at 80 percent of its officers and 50 percent of its NCOs, with 88 percent of total MTOE authorizations. The average leave rate was 25 percent of assigned personnel.
As of September 2009, the IA had 13 infantry divisions and one mechanized division organized under the IGFC. Ground forces included 189 fully generated and trained IA combat battalions and 54 IA brigades with a force generation focused on enabler units to complete the divisional force structure. The 12th Division Military Police Company and the 11th Field Engineering Regiment completed USF in July 2009. Several units had been, or were in the process of being, validated by the M7 training directorate of the Iraqi Joint Headquarters (JHQ). These units were expected to execute USF in the August and September 2009 timeframe. Discussions with the IGFC G3/7 and G4 indicated the Division Field Workshops would likely become the IA priority units to go through the validation process and execute USF. This shift in priorities indicated the IA's recognition of shortfalls in maintenance and supply capabilities.
The shift toward generating enabler units had also increased the need for individual Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) school autonomy. The Logistics Affairs Training Institute (LATI) was separated into its individual component schools of transportation, maintenance, and logistics. More autonomy was expected to facilitate advanced education and technical training in multiple support disciplines. Combined MOSQ and transportation, maintenance, and logistical courses had trained 30 percent of the soldiers required for force generation units for 2009. Besmaya was the home of the new Field Artillery School. The school had completed training a new cadre of instructors and would soon be home to soldiers prepared to receive instruction on the 120mm mortar system, considered light artillery in the IA.
As of 30 November 2009, the IA was manned at 82 percent of its officers, 55 percent of its NCOs, with 85 percent of total MTOE numbers. The policy-driven leave rate continued to be 25 percent of assigned personnel. The Council of Representatives (CoR) approved Military Service and Pension Law, coupled with the development of a formal manpower management strategy, would facilitate appropriate manpower reductions and force shaping aligned with budgetary constraints. Incorporating the Human Resource Information Management System (HRIMS) to improve personnel accountability and streamline personnel administrative processes was also a critical issue to be addressed. The promotion system continued to move towards a merit-based system. The IA was executing a recruiting drive to fill 6,000 positions and was targeting the northern provinces for recruits who can fill personnel shortages in the Ninewa Province.
By the end of 2009, the IA had 13 infantry divisions and one partially mechanized division organized under the IGFC. Ground forces included 189 generated and trained IA battalions and 55 combat brigades (51 infantry brigades, 3 mechanized brigades, and 1 tank brigade) with a force generation focus on enabler units to complete the divisional force structure. In addition to the combat brigades, the MoD established 2 Presidential Protection Brigades, each with 3 battalions, to protect the President and Prime Minister, and 15 Independent Protection Battalions to provide security for the Council of Representatives and other Iraqi VIPs and visitors. The Baghdad Brigade, officially responsible for IZ security, had been reflagged as the 56th Brigade of the 6th IA Division for administrative purposes, although it continued to serve under the operational control of the Iraqi Prime Minister's Office of the Commander in Chief (OCINC).
The depth of the IA capability and capacity to independently execute training was significantly expanded by the end of 2009. This progress was evidenced by multiple training initiatives, including expansion of the 81mm Mortar Fielding Program from 12 to 24 platoons per month at 5 sites; completion of the second all-female Basic Combat Training (BCT) class of 36 students at the Al Muthanna Depot; preparation for an accelerated BCT surge at 5 sites to field 6,000 additional soldiers; and a Basic Training Cycle underway for 1,500 soldiers at seven Training Centers through December 2009. The successful WTP completed 2 training cycles for a total of 12 battalions at 7 separate Training Centers. The program had trained 29 battalions from its inception in June 2008 through the end of November 2009. Six more battalions had been nominated to attend the WTP in December 2009.
With improved security in Iraq in 2009, the IA shifted from fielding a counterinsurgency (COIN) force to generating enabler units. This shift had increased the need for individual Military Occupation Specialty Qualification (MOSQ) training and the Tactical Training Directorate has responded accordingly. Nearly 6,400 soldiers had completed MOSQ courses in maintenance, transportation, signal, supply, administration, weapons armorer, military police, basic medic and various other medical fields in 2009.
By the end of 2009, combined MOSQ and transportation, maintenance, and logistical courses trained 53 percent of the soldiers that units require. Enabler force generation also included IA soldiers completing Counter-Improved Explosive Device (C-IED) Train-the-Trainer Course to provide a Division-level C-IED instruction capability across the force. Concurrently, an initiative to generate the Chemical Defense Company began with MOSQ Training at Taji. Following the completion of Chemical MOSQ training, Chemical Defense units would begin their Unit Set Fielding in the first quarter of 2010. The Field Artillery School has continued to mature and shifted its location from Besmaya to Abu Ghuraib while continuing to conduct live-fire training at Besmaya. The school had completed training a new cadre of instructors and would soon be home to soldiers prepared to receive instruction on the 120mm mortar system, considered light artillery in the IA. In October 2009, 120mm training throughput was accelerated from 2 batteries per month to 5 batteries per month.
The ICS completed its third iteration of the Battalion and Brigade Commander Tactical Leader's Course in November 2009. This course provided advanced instruction on both lethal and non-lethal threat response instruction and learning application via Battle Staff Planning and Simulation Exercises. A cell comprised of IA NCOs operates the computers and facilitates the event matrix which drives the exercises. Their invaluable contribution to this high visibility school showcases the competency and empowerment of the emerging Iraqi NCO Corps.
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