Iraqi Army (IA)
New Iraqi Army (NIA)
Between August 2005 and March 2010, the Iraqi Army increased in size to 196 combat battalions conducting operations, as well as 20 Iraqi protection battalions and 6 Iraqi special operations forces battalions. In that period the active Iraqi Army successfully absorbed units created for strategic infrastructure protection. The Iraqi Army had already absorbed the Iraqi National Guard by January 2005. During 2007, the Iraqi Army passed control of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces to the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. It retained administrative and logistical responsibilities for the units. As of March 2010 the IA continued to make steady progress toward a Minimum Essential Capability, but was not expected achieve a foundation for defense against external threats before December 2011 because of equipment procurement timelines and subsequent training requirements.
As of March 2010, the IA had 13 infantry divisions and one (partially) mechanized division organized under the IGFC. Ground forces included 196 generated and trained IA battalions and 55 combat brigades (51 infantry brigades, 3 mechanized brigades, and one tank brigade) with a force generation focus on enabler units to complete the divisional force structure. In addition to the combat brigades, the Ministry of Defense(MoD) established 2 Presidential Protection Brigades, each with 3 battalions, to protect the President and PM, and 15 Independent Protection Battalions to provide security for the Council of Representatives (CoR) and other Iraqi VIPs and visitors. The Baghdad Brigade, officially responsible for International Zone (IZ_ security, was 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).
Government of Iraq (GoI) budgetary constraints continued to affect the staffing of enabler combat support and combat service support units in early 2010. The lack of soldiers entering the training base was forcing Iraqi leaders at all levels to staff enabler units from within their organizations by cross leveling from over-strength units, such as ISR formations and HQ elements. As IA and MoD leadership dealt with continued manning and training challenges, the force generation of essential enablers was seen as having the potential to be adversely affected.
During early 2010, the Iraqi MoD Joint Headquarters (JHQ) demonstrated an increased ability to manage a maturing IA institutional training base comprised of Training Centers, proponent and specialty schools, and special training events. At the operational level, Training Center and School cadre and staff expanded their ability to manage and execute operations and training in accordance with approved MoD training guidance. The resource management of training continued to be a challenge due to a cumbersome IA logistical system. US Forces - Iraq (USF-I) advisor independent assessments of all Training Centers, Schools, and training events conducted at these institutions found evidence of progress in training base management. Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission - Army (ITAM-Army) advisors assessed the progress of events such as unit set fielding, the Warrior Training Program, and 81mm mortar training through all phases of training from reception at the site through culmination of the training event. Advisor assessments noted improving trends and progress made toward achieving a Minimum Essential Capability (MEC) during the second half of 2009 and first quarter of 2010.
With improved security in Iraq in 2009, the IA shifted from fielding a counter-insurgency (COIN) force to generating enabler units. This shift increased the need for individual Military Occupational Specialty Qualification (MOSQ) training and the Tactical Training Directorate responded accordingly. Nearly 6,700 soldiers completed MOSQ courses in maintenance, transportation, signal, supply, administration, weapons armorer, military police, basic medic, and various other medical fields throughout 2009.
Combined MOSQ courses trained 53 percent of the soldiers that units required. Enabler force generation also continued with IA soldiers completing C-IED Train-the-Trainer Courses to provide a Division-level Counter Improvised Explosive Device (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 were to begin their Unit Set Fielding in the first quarter of 2010. The Field Artillery School continued to mature and shifted its location from Besmaya to Abu Ghraib. The school had completed training a new cadre of instructors and would become home to soldiers prepared to receive instruction on the 120mm mortar system, which was considered light artillery in the IA. Starting in October 2009, 120mm training throughout was accelerated from 2 batteries per month to 5 batteries per month.
Through early 2010, the Iraqi Counterinsurgency (COIN) School continued to provide the IA with relevant and responsive training to develop IA leaders to meet the needs of the evolving operational environment. Courses were taught at both the NCO and Officer levels and provided resident training in COIN, Civil Military Operations (CMO), and Civil Affairs Operations. The Iraqi Counterinsurgency School completed its fourth iteration of the Battalion and Brigade Commander Tactical Leader's Course in February 2010. This course provided advanced instruction on lethal and non-lethal threat response, and provided learning application through Battle Staff Planning and Simulation Exercises. A cell comprised of IA NCOs facilitated the exercises, operating computers and developing the event matrix that drove exercise interactions.
By the first quarter of 2010, 11 IA proponent schools in Administrative Affairs, Armor, Bomb Disposal, Chemical, Engineer, Field Artillery, Infantry, Medical, Military Police, Signal, and Transportation provided doctrine-based, branch-specific, professional education for both officers and NCOs. These schools provided the foundation for self-sustaining professional competency and a platform to affect institutional change and improvement.
The IA continued to develop an NCO Education System (NCOES) that emphasized small unit leadership. The IA had over 3,700 NCOES graduates in 2009. The IA approved, in principle, an NCOES Campaign Plan developed in October 2008 with implementation to begin during the first quarter of 2010. The NCOES career progression path culminates at the Sergeant Major level with the Senior NCO course. The IA conducted the fifth iteration of the Senior NCO course for 40 students in February 2010. The course has had 160 graduates to date and continued to be refined by U.S. forces and IA representatives.
The Basic Combat Training (BCT) campaign plan generated a review of all BCT modules in order to improve the quality of graduating soldiers. The review identified a requirement for a Basic Combat Instructor Course. The Basic Combat Instructor Course was designed to reinforce skills required to instruct basic combat trainees using practical exercises. The IA expanded on its initiative to provide basic training to female soldiers with a plan to execute 4 training cycles through 2010. The third cycle of Female BCT was being conducted from January to March 2010.
According to 31 December 2009, data, which was the most current data USF-I had been able to collect by March 2010, the IA was manned at approximately 72 percent of its officers and 50 percent of its NCOs, with 83 percent of total MTOE numbers due to being over strength in the enlisted ranks. USF-I was working at the time with MoD personnel to be able to generate personnel data from the new Human Resource Information Management System (HRIMS) personnel software, and expected to have updated data for the next quarterly report. The policy-driven leave rate continued to be 25 percent of assigned personnel. The CoR-approved Military Service and Pension Law, coupled with the development of a formal personnel management strategy, was expected to facilitate appropriate manpower reductions and force shaping aligned with budgetary constraints. Incorporating the HRIMS to improve personnel accountability and streamline personnel administrative processes was also a critical issue for the IA to address. The promotion system continued to move towards a merit-based system.
On 24 February 2010, Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki approved the recall of 6,513 (1,449 officers and 5,064 enlisted) former soldiers into the IA. After reporting to division reception centers located throughout Iraq during late February and March 2010, they were to be transported to training centers for 60 days refresher training beginning on 1 April 2010, before being integrated into IA units. During first quarter 2010, the IA completed a recruiting drive to fill 6,000 positions targeting the northern provinces to fill shortages in Ninewa Province. This recruiting drive resulted in 5,000 enlisted and 83 officer recruits. The new recruits would be brought onto active duty to begin training in June 2010 after the former IA soldiers completed their refresher training.
By first quarter 2010, 8 of 10 planned training centers and a combat training center were complete with a combined capacity of 20,000 students. Each of the centers included a range complex, combat assault course, live fire shoot house, and various ranges. Each center supported both BCT and collective training exercises for the IA. The construction of 11 Location Commands continued. These commands consisted of warehousing, third line maintenance, fuel storage, billeting, and life-support facilities. Three Location Commands were scheduled for completion in 2009. However, construction delays moved the completion date into 2010.As of mid-2010 there were 196 IA combat battalions conducting operations. Although the IA continued to make steady progress toward MEC, it could not achieve a foundation for defense against external threats before December 2011 because of equipment procurement timelines and subsequent training requirements to complete development of four modern divisions (one mechanized and three infantry). Specifically, equipping, training, and combined arms integration of the M1A1 fleet, artillery units, and key mechanized enablers will not be complete.
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