The October 2007 updates to the Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle are now available at the ISF OOB Page.
Significant changes to the Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle for October include a continued shift in focus to re-enforce, expand, and clean up Iraqi Security Forces in Basrah, the expansion and development of the Iraqi Special Operations Command (ISOF), increasing training and development of the Iraqi Air Force, and major Foreign Military Sales purchase of vehicles for further motorization of the Iraqi Army (IA) and expansion of IA supply support. The significant changes to the Order of Battle are summarized below.
The shifting emphasis and resources to secure Basrah was confirmed with the release of the US Department of Defense’s Quarterly Report to Congress on September 18. According to that report, the 12th IA Division Headquarters with headquarters, military police, and signals companies was to assume control of a part of the area of 4th IA Division (Salahadin) and some subordinate brigades as ordered in 2006, but instead those headquarters elements are forming the 14th IA Division Headquarters (Basrah). This is the first confirmed diversion of significant resources to Basrah. The 12th IA Division will not be generated until 2008. Additionally, activity in the newly forming 11th IA Division (East Baghdad) has been confined to the redesignation of the 2-6 IA Brigade to the 1-11 IA Brigade. The 11th IA Division was due to stand up this fall. This indicates some of the assets meant for the 11th IA Division have also been diverted.
On September 9, it was reported that the 3-9 IA Brigade was being deployed to Basrah from Baghdad with US assistance. “The plan is to link up with another IA wheeled division outside of Basra and use the armor assets of 3/9th IA as a show of force.” This also indicates that the newly forming 14th IA Division is to stand up as fully motorized division. Since then a mechanized battalion of 3-9 IA Brigade has been confirmed as deployed to Basrah.
It is also reported that the 3-8 IA Brigade (Wasit) is swapping areas with 1-10 IA Brigade (Basrah). The 3-8 IA Brigade is one of only three IA brigades rated category one. This indicates that the 1-10 IA Brigade is not fully trusted and that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has decided to go with an entirely new force for Basrah to break the militia influence.
The 14th IA Division is being formed from intact brigades from out of area and newly formed brigades. Elements identified are the 3-8 IA Motorized Brigade, (at least elements of) the 3-9 IA Tank Brigade, the 5-10 IA Motorized Brigade (formed in May), and two new-forming brigades. The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has also started to clean up the Basrah Police in parallel with the MoD’s efforts.
Iraqi Special Operations Force
The Quarterly Report to Congress also provided details on the expansion of ISOF. Total personnel in ISOF was reported at 3,300 — compared to 1,500 in January — with the current total authorized strength of 4,500. The report also mentioned the formation of Basrah, Al Asad, Mosul, and Diyala companies. This was the first mention of a Diyala ISOF company. It also indicates a diversion of the already formed ISOF companies planned for Al Asad and Mosul to the newly formed Basrah ISOF battalion. When Multinational Security Transition Command – Iraq (MNSTC-I) Public Affairs was asked for clarification of this reporting, they replied:
Regarding the Iraqi Special Operations Forces: Currently Assigned numbers are: 3,300 as indicated in the report. Current Authorized Strength … is 3,979. As for the ISOF Company: This is a new unit that will be redesignated as a Battalion vs. Company. The MTOE [Military Table of Organization and Equipment] has been approved and the plan is for the Iraqi Army to transform or redesignate all their out units into Battalions.
This means that ISOF is currently planned to grow to seven line battalions: the 2nd Counterterrorism and the 36th Commando in Baghdad plus a battalion each in Basrah, Diwaniyah, Al Asad, Mosul, and Diyala. Additionally, ISOF is to get a to-be-formed, dedicated utility helicopter squadron.
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Air Force (IZAF) has finally started to develop and expand. As of September 6, the IZAF has 51 aircraft and 1,200 personnel. Pilot training started this month and the plan is to train 130 per year. Training new pilots takes two to three years. While authorized for 2,900 at end-year, the force will probably be approximately 1,500. Authorized strength at the end of 2008 is to be 6,000 personnel.
“The first of the Iraqi Air Force C-172 Initial Pilot Trainers is inbound to Iraq. This was just taken back in the states as it arrived to be carted up and shipped out here. The first new Iraqi Air Force pilot training school starts 1 October, and these aircraft will help with their initial training.” Aircraft acquisition is also normally a 12-to-18-month-long process. Jet aircraft will depend on funding and is not anticipated until 2011 at earliest and (2012 to be fully operational). MI17s have received a 57mm rocket-ground attack capability that will be operational soon. The IZAF is trying to get light-attack aircraft next year. Current short-term plans are for a non-kinetic counterinsurgency capacity with transport and reconnaissance at the end of 2007. By the end of 2008, they plan a kinetic capability in rotary and fixed wing. There are also indications of an IZAF element to be stationed in Anbar soon.
Iraqi military unit increase, proficiency, and expansion changes
The 7th IA Division in western Anbar is improving steadily with the 3-7 IA Brigade validated (in-lead). This is the second of 7th Division’s brigades to be validated. While the 3-7 IA Brigade has only 2,100 men, Habbaniyah has been training approximately 1,000 every five weeks. The 3-7 IA Brigade is also scheduled to get organic mortar systems, and the 7th IA Division is near in-lead and transfer to Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC). “The brigade is now receiving orders directly from its higher headquarters, the 7th Iraqi Army Division, and issuing orders directly to its subordinate battalions without having to work through [the Marines].” As manning improves, the 7th will transition over. “Iraqi 7th Army Division – based in Anbar – is near 100 percent of its strength, and [Marine Brigadier General Charles Gurganus] anticipates the Iraqi Ground Forces Command will assume responsibility for the division shortly.”
In northern Baghdad, the 4-9 IA Brigade has been active in and around Taji. The BTR80-equipped 4-9 IA Brigade is partnering with the Stryker-equipped 4-9 Infantry Battalion of 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
An announced Foreign Military Sale to Iraq includes 32 more Huey IIs (probably for ISOF), 3,935 trucks, 980 HMMWVs, 60mm mortar rounds, 81mm mortar rounds, 12,035 M4s, and 123,544 M16s. This is far more than what is necessary for only 25 battalions and a brigade HQ. It represents a major logistics and mobility support increase for the expanding ISOF Division, the 11th IA Division (Baghdad), the 12th IA Division (Salahadin), the 14th IA Division (Basrah), the retraining/re-equipping of the former strategic infrastructure brigades, the expansion of the regional support units and the National Depot, plus a conversion of remainder of the IA to US personal weapons. This also includes ammunition for the new 81mm mortars for the battalions’ new mortar batteries.
As of September 3, 22,100 of 32,000 Iraqis have been trained for the Prime Minister’s 120 percent manning initiative, and only 7,200 of 24,000 new personnel for new forming units have also received training. This indicates the priority is to fill existing forces. The Combined Logistics Operations Center (CLOC) has been established with IA supply hand-off in occurring in September. The maintenance hand-off is also in progress, while medical still requires significant Coalition assistance. While the IA was 103 percent manned in July and 110 percent in September, those numbers are misleading. The IA is seriously short of leadership. Mid-range noncommissioned offiers are manned at 38 percent, officers at 69 percent, and 65 percent are present for duty at any given time. Increased manning has IA combat divisions at 70 percent and the goal is a minimum of 75 percent manning. The biggest problem remains the 25 percent leave policy, while the second largest problem is a five to eight percent AWOL rate.
With all of those problems in lack of leadership, the IA has continued to expand. According to the Petraeus hearings, the number of battalions in C1 (fully independent) is 12, C2 (Iraq lead with Coalition support) is 82, C3 (fighting side-by-side) is 44, and C4 (unit forming) is 24. The number of C1 units has remained static due to the need for cadre for forming the new battalions (C4).
Ministry of Interior
Conflicting information about an “al Askarian” or “Samarra” Brigade in the Iraqi National Police in the DOD’s Quarterly Report and MNSTC-I’s reporting has been clarified. According to information from MNSTC-I Public Affairs provided in an e-mail, the National Police has an authorized organization of two divisions of four brigades each, one mechanized brigade, and a battalion-sized quick reaction force.
In addition to the National Police MTOE, the Prime Minister established the Al Askarian Brigade, in response to the second bombing of the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra. All 9 MTOE Brigades and the Al Askarian Brigade received CPATT [Coalition Police Assistance Training Team] support. CPATT has assisted in both training and equipping these units.
The e-mail went on to explain that, while the al Askarian Brigade is administratively supported by the National Police, it is a police brigade under the command of the Samarra Operational Command. By mid-October, the last of the National Police brigades will graduate from Phase II training, and the first of these graduates will send a battalion of leaders to Phase III training by the Carabinieri at Camp Dublin.
Additional MoI changes include unconfirmed reporting of a doubling of the Anbar Provisional Security Force with the addition of 10 more emergency response unit battalions and a continuing expansion of the Department of Border Enforcement (DBE). The DOD’s Quarterly Report indicated that DBE is up two more battalions in last three months (five regions, 12 brigades, and 44 battalions). Additionally, Ninawa is forming two border battalions and Wasit is forming a new border brigade.
Due to a technical malfunction, Page 12 – Iraqi Police will not be updated until next month.
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