Iraqi Security Forces continue to surge


The Real Surge in Iraq - the rapid expansion of the Iraqi Security Forces - continues. The Iraqi Security Forces is expanding with the Iraqi Army now growing to 61 planned brigades in 15 divisions while the Iraqi Special Operations Forces becomes the defacto 16th division. The latest "Measuring Security and Stability in Iraq" quarterly report was publicly released on December 18, 2007. What follows is some of the key developments of Iraqi Security Force.

According to the report, all remaining Iraqi provinces are set to transition to provincial Iraqi control in 2008. Of the 18 provinces, nine have already transitioned. The report also mentions that 61 of the 125 Coalition forward operating bases have been closed or transferred to Iraqi forces. Over 491,000 personnel are on Iraqi Security Force rolls, not including the civilian staff, Concerned Local Citizens, and Facilities Protection Service. The authorized Iraqi Security Force end strength continues to increase. There was an 80,000 ISF increase since last report due to uncounted non-Coalition funded training not previously reported.

The Iraqi use of US Foreign Military Sales system, which supplies the Iraqis with military equipment, has overwhelmed the organization. Several hundred Humvees and other equipment are in Iraq pending issue while there is a backlog of 75 pallets and 250 vehicles in the US pending shipment. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has ordered a special task force to be formed to clear the logjam in Iraqi equipment orders. In the latest request from the Iraqi government, includes equipment for the three former Strategic Infrastructure Brigades, a Presidential Brigade, an infantry division headquarters, and five brigades.

A recent briefing map provides clues to where the two Kurdish Regional Guards division will be re-flagged as Iraqi Army. Click map to view.

Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC)

The Iraqi MoD is authorized 208,000 personnel and has 161,000 personnel organized into ten infantry, one mechanized, and two establishing divisions.

The Iraqi Army is short on officer and non-commissioned officer leadership but strong in the enlisted ranks. The average manning of Iraqi Army units is 112 percent over strength as of end of November 2007. The enlisted ranks are 150 percent overmanned, while the non-commissioned officer corps is at 45 percent strength and the officer corps at 60 percent.

There are nine more IA battalions in the fight than there were in the last report. Seventy-seven percent the Army battalions can plan and execute operations with little or no support. The IGFC controls 11 divisions, 37 brigades and 113 battalions as of November 2007.

Of the 175 IA/ISOF/former SIB combat battalions, 98 are listed as in the lead (C1/C2), 30 as in fight (C3), and 47 as in-training or formation (C4/C5). The 21 logistics battalions are listed as 10 C1/C2, nine C3, and two C4. Discounting the unconverted former-SIBs and including ISOF, the IA has 117 active battalions and 42 planned or in force generation with 10 divisions, 34 brigades, and 108 combat and logistics battalions in the lead.

The Prime Minister's expansion initiative for the Iraqi Army is now described as five divisions. The government is working to add two Peshmerga divisions to the IA (possibly the 15th, and 16th Divisions). The 10th Division has moved its headquarters to Camp Mittica (Nasiriyah) to provide room for the 14th Division's headquarters at Basrah. The Operational Commands are finally being acknowledged as an interim step to forming corps headquarters.

Ministry of Interior (MoI), Iraqi National Police (INP), and Department of Border Enforcement (DBE).

The Ministry of Interior has grown by 27,040 personnel, of whom 23,571 are Iraqi Police, 1,937 are INP, and 1,365 are DBE. The MoI staffing, including civilian staff and Facilities Protection Service, is 372,482 personnel.

The purge of the MoI continues with the forced retirements of 40 Lieutenant Colonels and above with 30 Brigadier Generals fired or forced to retire for corruption or involvement with militias. Thousands of enlisted have been arrested or fired.

The MoI is receiving the first shipment of 2,600 vehicles to be delivered by April 2008, is adding ten more training bases, and expanding the current seven training bases.

There are 31 authorized INP battalions, 39 including support battalions. These battalions are organized into 2 divisions and 11 brigades. Ten of these battalions are in the lead, 17 are in the fight, and 12 are training. Three brigades are in the lead, five are in fight and three are in training. One division is in the lead and one is in the fight.

There is an ongoing redeployment initiative of INP shifting them from current deployment locations in Baghdad, Samarrah and Basrah to other areas. Over time, as the INP is no longer needed in Baghdad, it will be "regionalized" and re-base.

The DBE remains deployed in five regions. The DBE has 12 brigades, and 44 battalions and the Port of Entries (border crossing locations) have been consolidated and integrated into their command.

Iraqi Counterterrorism Bureau, Iraqi Special Operations Force, and the Presidential Brigade.

The 1st Special Operations Force Brigade is transferring to the Counterterrorism Bureau, which answers directly to the Prime Minister's National Operational Command. The 1st Special Operations Force Brigade is 87 percent manned, at 3,500 personnel, and currently composed of the 2nd Counterterrorism Battalion, the 36th Commando Battalion, a support battalion, and the Special Reconnaissance Unit. Additionally, the Special Operations Force has a commando battalion assisting the 14th Division in Basrah, and four more expansion battalions are being established. Prior to the issuance of this report, the Special Operations Force Brigade had not been a numbered unit. The public numbering of the 1st Special Operations Force Brigade and the transfer of the unit to the Counterterrorism Bureau indicates that the plan to add more brigades to the force is progressing. The full transfer of command and control is planned to be complete by 2009.

The report also mentions that the Iraqi government is requesting equipment for a "Presidential Brigade." While this is the first mention of such a unit, this brigade may be the 4-6 Brigade, which recently underwent "commando" training. It is likely that the unit would also be subordinate to the National Operation Command. This could explain the continued battalion-level over-strength of 6th Division and the "commando" training of the 4-6 Brigade. While some of the Commando Course graduates transfer to Special Operations Forces Commando companies, many are being retained by the oversized 4-6 Brigade. This indicated a special use planned for the 4-6 Brigade and becoming the Iraqi Praetorian Guard fits that role. The timing of the equipment order indicates this brigade is to be established and equipped during 2008.

Iraqi Air Force and Navy

The Iraqi Air Force is manned at 1,200 personnel with an increase to 1,500 planned by the end of year. The Iraqi Air Force is composed of two training wings and seven squadrons. The seven squadrons are broke down to two in the lead, two in the fight, and three in training. Taji is where the officer and enlisted basic and technical training is performed; flight training occurs in Kirkuk. The new squadron formed is the 15th Special Operations Squadron, which is to be dedicated to Special Operations Forces support and equipped with 22 MI-17v5 Special Operations Forces version helicopters to be received in 2009.

The aircrews are training on existing MI17s starting with night-vision goggle flight training in January 2008. Special operations specific training is planned to start in late summer 2008 but will probably slide. The total number of MI17s in the pipeline indicates a third MI17 squadron may be formed in 2008. Of note, the Air Operations Center established at Camp Victory is to become operational by December 31, 2007.

The Iraqi Navy is currently manned at 1,100 and plans to have 1,500 by February 2008. Planned end strength is 2,500 and new vessels start delivery in October 2008, with all in country by mid-2009. All Iraqi Navy and Marine units are listed as in the lead.

Iraqi Training, Support, and Engineers

The current Iraqi force development (unit formation) is currently one division (12th), seven brigades (4-3, 4-5, 4-7, 2-11, 4-12, 3-14, and 4-14), and 27 battalions. By the end of the year, an additional three brigades (new 1-10, new 4-1, and Presidential), four headquarters support companies, five infantry battalions, one motor transport regiment (12th MTR), logistics battalion (12th BSU) are to be added to that schedule. Two of the 17 former Strategic Infrastructure Brigades have been retrained and a third converted in stride (did not need the re-training).

Additionally, two Peshmerga Divisions from the Kurdish regional Guards may be integrated into the Iraqi Army (IA). The two Kurdish divisions would be designated the 15th and 16th Divisions and would likely be stationed in northern Iraq.

The current rate of IA basic training has been confirmed as over 100,000 per year (104,230). This is due to increased capacity at Habbaniyah, Kirkush, Taji, Numaniyah, and Nasariyah Regional Training Centers as well as the Divisional Training Centers at Hamman al Alil (Mosul), Kut, and Combat Training Center Besmaya. The Divisional Training Center at Tallil also opened in August. New classes have been established, including Habbaniyah's Small Arms Instructor Course, maintenance courses at Kirkush, Habbaniyah and Old Muthanna, Trauma training and Basic Medic courses at Taji.

The Brigade Set Training Program continues at the Besmaya range. The Brigade Set Training Program is a system where the new enlisted and their officer/NCO cadre is formed up and train together with the final equipping and field training performed at Besmaya Combat Training Center. The 3-11 Brigade, which deployed to Sadr City, was the first to go thru and the 2-11 Brigade is currently at Besmaya, five more brigades are planned to go thru this in next five months. According to other reports, Besmaya has started issuing BMP1 armored fighting vehicles and equipped one battalion of 11th Division (3-3-11) with these vehicles. The remaining BMP1s appear to be slated for equipping two battalions of the 3-14 to make it a mechanized brigade.

The Iraqi Army logistics development continues as three more logistics depots are preparing to be stood up. The Taji National Repair and Support Depots are scheduled to be completed by 2009 and the IA is aggressively working to transfer maintenance responsibilities from contractors to uniformed soldiers. Most of the current focus of US contractors is repairing a backlog of HMMWVs. Two new MTRs (the 11th and the 14th) and one logistics support battalion (4-9) have formed while the end strength of the BSUs and MTRs has been increased. Total coalition truck deliveries to IA are 1869 heavy, 6441 medium, and 7765 light to date.

A construction engineer regiment is forming with the collaboration of the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Ministry of Electricity (MoE), and Ministry of Oil (MoO). The report refers to it as the "Infrastructure Repair Regiment" and describes the initial formation of its headquarters support company and electrical repair company by May 2008 and the pipeline repair company sometime afterwards. Iraqi regimental formations are multi-battalion and the original description of these regiments included bridge, road, and structural construction. These companies likely represent the initial technical cadre provided by the MoE and MoO for military training. Former SIB elements plus security and other construction engineers will probably fill out these formations and the force will probably expand to a multi-regiment structure to replace the US Gulf Regional Division of the Corps of Engineers.

Conclusion:

The growth of the Iraqi Security Forces has enabled the forces to step up from a supporting role for Coalition forces to take the lead in combat operations. Iraqi Secuirty forces are conducting division-sized operation in the North and just completed a division-sized operation in the South in Diwaniyah. An additional division-plus is being formed in Basra.

This growth has enabled the military and police to become more flexible organizations, able to adapt to the complex and ever changing security situation. The Iraqi Security Forces, with Coalition assistance, are taking the lead in confronting both al Qaeda in Iraq and Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army. There are limitiations preventing the Iraqi Security Forces from operating fully independently for Coalition forces, mainly logistical and equipment shortcomings and a lack of experienced cadres of officiers and non-commissioned officers. These are issues that often vex the most modern of armies.



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READER COMMENTS: "Iraqi Security Forces continue to surge"

Posted by Roni at December 21, 2007 3:42 PM ET:

"Praetorian Guard" ?

This seems a bit strange to me, is iraq going for a model with a "normal" army, and an "elite" army answerable to the Ruler directly?

A democratic country should have seperation... Maybe I'm worried for nothing, but this rings wrong to me.

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 21, 2007 3:55 PM ET:

Roni
FYI: "...and other duties as the President directs." is in the USMC official duties. That is why marines guard the White House and US Embassies.

All countries have a military force which has the duty of protecting against military coups. Some (like the US) just do not advertise the fact.

Posted by KnightHawk at December 21, 2007 4:27 PM ET:

DJ Thanks for all this detailed information, seems pretty clear to me that over the last year the IA has really put it in gear and gotten on the glade path toward where they need to be down the road.

I read the "Praetorian Guard" remarks to indicate they envision these forces replacing many of the "contracted" security forces employed today, which would match their already publicly stated desires.

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 21, 2007 11:10 PM ET:

KnightHawk

Concur. Using contractors is something the GoI wants to radically reduce, especially in visible areas (Govt Security).

Posted by anand at December 22, 2007 3:35 AM ET:

To clarify the 63 IA brigades:

35 C1/C2 = 35 original bdes + IA 3-9 + ISOF bde - one of 7th IAD's brigades - IA 3-8 (former IA 1-10)

6 C3 = IA 3-8 + one of 7th IAD's bdes + IA 2-14 (former 5-10, former SIB before that) + 3 former SIBs in the old 4th IAD

7 C4 = IA 4-4 (old designation) + IA 4-9 + IA 2-11 + IA 3-11 + IA 3-14 + IA 4-3 + IA 4-14

3 C5 = IA 4-5 + IA 4-7 + IA 4-12

12 C6 = IA 1-4 + IA 1-10+2 ISOF bdes + 7 Peshmerga bdes + Presidential bde

At end state, original 13 divisions have 52 combat line bdes, 1 Peshmerga division has 4 bdes, the other Peshmerga division has 3 bdes, 3 ISOF bdes + Presidential bde = 63 line combat bdes total

This is how I see the situation by 1-01-2008:

37 C1/C2 = original 35 bdes + ISOF bde + 3-9 IA
8 C3 = IA 2-14 (former 5-10, former SIB before that) + 3 former SIBs in the old 4th IAD
+ IA 4-4 (old designation) + IA 4-9 + IA 2-11 + IA 3-11
6 C4 = IA 3-14+IA 4-3 + IA 4-14+IA 4-5 + IA 4-7
3 C5 = IA 4-12+IA 1-4 + IA 1-10
10 C6 = 2 ISOF bdes + 7 Peshmerga bdes + Presidential bde

by 7-01-08:
47 C1/C2 = original 35 bdes + ISOF bde + 3-9 IA + IA 2-14 (former 5-10, former SIB before that) + 3 former SIBs in the old 4th IAD + IA 4-4 (old designation) + IA 4-9 + IA 2-11 + IA 3-11 + IA 3-14 + IA 4-3
4 C3 = IA 4-14+IA 4-5 + IA 4-7 + IA 4-12
8 C4 = IA 1-4 + IA 1-10 +2 ISOF + 1 Presidential bde + 3 Peshmerga
4 C5 = 4 Peshmerga bdes

by 12-31-08
51 C1/C2 bdes
5 C3 bdes = 1 ISOF + 1 Presidential bde + 3 Peshmerga
7 C4 bdes = IA 1-4 + IA 1-10 + 1 ISOF + 4 Peshmerga bdes

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 3:56 AM ET:

Anand

8 Peshmerga Bdes and only 1 ISOF Bde so far in C6. Plus seperate Bns that may convert to Bdes as the personnel are trained.

I expect ISOF to grow beyond two Bdes, I expect them to becom six bdes, BUT,
this write-up is focused on what is reported as planned in the 61 page report.

The details in the report indicate ISOF is adding at least one Bde but, does not confirm or deny more than that. No hard data.

Also keep in mind the length and severity of ISOF training pipeline.
- Non-combat vets need not apply.
- Only 30% selected make it thru Cdo training (Ranger).
- Only 3% make it thru the 90 day Operators Training Course (Delta).

Dial back your expectations of ISOF expansion. The only way they could expand that quick is if they waive quallity and SOF does not do that...

Dial back the IA quallity improvement accross the board. The shortage of O/NCO is going to hamstring them for some time. Add about 50% to your timeline...

PS Any guesses on what the 5 Specialty Bns in INP are? I sent an RFI in on that. Suspect INP Forensics, investigative and SWAT composit Bns for stationing in the provinces...

Posted by anand at December 22, 2007 3:58 AM ET:

My estimate about PIC ordering:
1-9 completed
10 = Ninevah (January)
11 = Wasit (February)
12 = Anbar (March)
12 = Babil (April)
14 = At Tamin (May)
15 = Salahadin (June)
16 = Al-Qādisiyyah (July)
17 = Baghdad (November)
18 = Diyala (December)

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 4:07 AM ET:

On the subject of ISOF and INP "specialty units".
WHAT FOLLOWS IS PURE SPECULATION.

- 5 specialized units in INP forming formed from personnel drawn from thruout the existing INP bns.
- 5 independent ISOF commando bns formed/forming in regions away from Baghdad.
- ISOF is not under IA or JHQ anymore.

CTB could be joint and ISOF Cdo Bns partnered with INP Special Bns would fit the bianary bde structure used by SOF.

ISOF standard Bde Structure:
- BSTB (HQ)
-- Special Recon Unit (Intel & Recon Co)
- CT Bn (close quarters breach SOF troops)
- Cdo Bn (Rangers for perimeter security)
- BSB (support troops)
- SOS (Special Operations Aviation Squadron)

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 4:15 AM ET:

My estimate about PIC ordering: MY CORRECTIONS.

1-9 completed
10 = Ninevah (January/FEB)
11 = Wasit (February) NO. LOSS OF 3-8 WILL SET BACK
12 = Anbar (March) YES
12 = Babil (April) NO. STILL NEEDS WORK
14 = At Tamin (May) DELAY IN 140 MEANS JULY EARLIEST
15 = Salahadin (June) LATER
16 = Al-Qādisiyyah (July) MOVE THIS UP. THEY DO MAJOR OPS IN PROVINCES THEY ARE ABOUT TO TURN OVER. FINAL CLEAN UP. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ISF DIV(-) IN DIWANIYAH (OIL SPOT) IS ABOUT?
17 = Baghdad (November) LAST
18 = Diyala (December) NEXT TO LAST

Posted by anand at December 22, 2007 4:22 AM ET:

Don't know what the 5 Specialty Bns are. Was looking forward to learning about them in your write up ;-) Forensics, investigative are almost certainly included. I would think that the ERU would be formally designated as a brigade (maybe an over-strength one) and divided into bns and companies and that would be detachable as regional SWAT teams.

Regarding ISOF. I don't think I am too optimistic.

By 7-1-08

ISOF will have 2 C1 combat bns, 1 C1 support bn, 3 C4 combat bns, 2 C6 combat bns (for a total of 7 confirmed combat planned) {wrote 1 C1/C2 bde + 2 C4 bdes }

By 01-01-09 ISOF will have 2 C1 combat bns, 2 C3 Combat bns, 2 C4 combat bns, 1 C5 combat bns (for a total of 7 confirmed combat planned) {wrote 1 C1/C2 bde + 1 C3 bde + 1 C4 bde}

This is quite realistic unless SOF are absorbed into expanding each IADs' scout companies + beefing up the presidential brigade

Posted by anand at December 22, 2007 4:32 AM ET:

DJ explain 106 fire support bns to me.

Each IA division has 7 (4 for the 4 combat line bdes + 3 for the artillery regiment)
15 IA divisions * 7 = 105 fire support bns.
1 extra fire support bn for SOF?

Now granted they are all C6 because there is no visibility or positive confirmation about them.


Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 4:40 AM ET:

Anand
Keep in mind ISOF is no longer IA command. It now is transfering to CTB. JFC/IGFC does not own them anymore and cannot steal from them...
Same goes for PGB. Seperate command from CTB and JFC...

- Current ISOF: 1st Bde is C2 (C1-minus aviation). Its Bns are C1. Basrah Bn is C3; other four Seperate Bns are C5. 2nd BSTB and BSB are C6. Aviation support for 1st ISOF Bde does not go C3 until 2009 and is integral to Bde rating. Then you will need additional SOS.
- 90 days to the ISOF trng cycle. Add a C3 Bn each cycle.
- 6 mo minimum to go to C2 from C3.
- 6mo minimum to go to C1 from C2.

PS Moved Salahadin back because 12th Division IOC is July. They will not go PIC until after that...

The extra FSB is the PG Bde. SOF gets MI17 Sq in place of FSB.

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 4:42 AM ET:

The FSBs are C6 because they are planned. The Bde FSBs start forming in 2008 and the Div FA Rgts in 2009. That is MNSTC-I stated timeline...

Posted by anand at December 22, 2007 5:07 AM ET:

Got you on FSBs.

I noticed that ISOF is now under CTB. I wonder if the ISOF will still be linked in to the division scout companies as was previously planned. I think yes. However, division scout/intelligence companies will still be under the OPCON of their division HQs, IGFC, and JFC.

Agree with your table of organization and equipment regarding ISOF. That seems probable. Although the aviation part of it is years away from fruition.

Your speculation on INP SOF and ISOF being linked in a binary structure depends on what the GoI decides. This is a political question up to PM Maliki and his national security council. It isn't up to MoD and its JFC, or the MoI. Not sure what they will decide.

Al-Qādisiyyah's provincial and local IP are far behind the provincial IP of At Tamin, Wasit and Babil. Al-Qādisiyyah's security is an IA show. The provincial government and IP are far from ready. Farther than even Basrah.

Any thoughts regarding Babil provincial IP?

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 5:21 AM ET:

PIC ordering:

10 = Ninevah (Feb)
11 = Anbar (March)
12 = Al-Qādisiyyah (Apr)
13 = Wasit (May)
14 = Babil (Jun)
15 = Salahadin (Jul)
16 = Kirkuk (Aug)
17 = Diyala (Sep)
18 = Baghdad (Oct)

Babil IP took a hit with Chief's assassination. It will be 3-4 months until we (or GoI) has a read on the newly promoted chief's competency. Leadership has a big impact in command's ability to function.

More like the Scouts will be tied in to the CTB. Who do you think the owner of the COIN intel network will be? Info exchange will continue with regulars but, CTB is to take lead for CT and that includes intel...

Timeline of 15th SOS is start NVG training next month, then SOF specific training in late summer. The pilots are training on existing MI17s until they get the 22 MI17v5 SOF versions in early 2009. According to Maj Tony Sidoti (CAFTT), the contract went thru this week (his baby). It was the straw that broke the camel's back in FMS and resulted in the formation of the Special Task Force to expedite Iraqi FMS ordered by SecDef....

Posted by anand at December 22, 2007 5:56 AM ET:

Regarding PIC:

I think that Diyala's provincial government and IP are performing poorly. MG Mixon was outraged by the GoI's refusal to hire IP 6 months after they had been identified and the MG had begun lobbying (he said this in October.) MG Mixon said that Diyala will require MNF support for the "foreseeable" future. He implied that it was quite a bit behind the rest.

Note that Ninevah and At Tamin's provincial governments are working well on the non-security fields as well as with respect to the provincial IP. Salahadin's provincial government has also demonstrated more competence, although its population remains the most anti-American in Iraq.

1-5 and 3-5 IA have yet to prove themselves. IA 4-5 hasn't been formed yet (and it will need to be tested before its capabilities can be assessed.)

I think that Pres Bush will try to push for Baghdad PIC right before the US presidential election. To do this, IA and INP will redeploy from elsewhere, delaying Diyala PIC until December. (You are right though that the plan to have Baghdad go PIC last has been repeated many times in official briefs.)

Most of the security load and responsibility in At Tamin and Babil province are handled by the provincial IP. Far more so than Al Basrah for example. Therefore neither need as much ISF support.

Babil only needs one C2 IA brigade with three combat line battalions to assume PIC. It has one C1 IP brigade, and a second C3 (near C2) IP brigade in the fight in northern Babil.

Any more data available on the Babil IP? (See article from SD2 comment.)

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 6:12 AM ET:

Kirkuk will not go PIC until Art 140 is settled. Period. That has been extended to end-Jun. That means July at earliest. My guess is that it will be Aug to let the after affects settle. PS The 4-5 forms in March, six months before Kirkuk gets its 4th Bde (4-12 replacing 4-4...)

Baghdad will be last. Politics in the US will push for all to be turned over by November elections.

Remember the four factors and which one trumped in Basrah:
- Enemy Capabilities
- ISF Capabilities
- Governance
- Politics

Also look at the deployment focus of ISF. They are doing the same thing in Diwaniyah that they did in Basrah. Both have shakey IP and governance issues but, both got divisional IA/INP augment and have political push to turn over...

I will lay odds on an INP Bde arriving at Mosul and Ninawa Operational Command stand up before March PIC...

Same for Anbar...

There is a method and pattern to how the ISF prepares for PIC...

Posted by PineKnot at December 22, 2007 8:39 AM ET:

Why is the IAF receiving Russian helocopters? And from where?

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 22, 2007 9:36 AM ET:

PineKnot

MI17s are bought from Poland with GoI money. The latest batch thru US FMS.

This is old news. You might try reviewing the ISF OOB notes page from October or the OOB update summary from early Nov to catch up...

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/11/iraqi_security_force_5.php

Posted by Turner at December 22, 2007 2:34 PM ET:

DJ: Let me ask something really simple: I've always heard that logistics and support is the main portion of an army. Supposedly these tasks occupied almost 90% of US forces in WWII.

With regard to general staffing numbers, can you estimate what remains to be done in logistics and support? Do the division numbers include support personel or is there a whole other group of personnel yet to be developed. Does it take as long to develop these kinds of staff?

Thanks for the encouraging, factual report. It's very encouraging too to hear that the IP is still pursuing and purging corruption. I would expect that and wouldn't believe any report that claimed there was no problem of this in a middle eastern country.

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 23, 2007 1:09 AM ET:

Turner

Logistics is a problem. They are short. But, they are only providing logistics for an area the size of California where the US is supplying from around the world. The longer the supply line the greater the logistics element. They do not need the 75-35 tail-to-tooth ratio of the US Army. They can get away with the 40% support in the USMC (USN provides the supply support beyond the nearest beach, as well as medical, etc).

They do need to increase from the current 17,000 support troops (up 3,000 from last report) even more than the 33,000 additional funded in the FY07sup that are being built now. FY07sup included the FMS purchase of over 4,000 more trucks. Delivery started this month and is not reflected in this qtrly rpt. So look at the trucks (and units using them) listed above and add 4,000 trucks arriving in 2007/2008. That is 10 Sustainment Bdes worth of equipment. (NatDep, 5xRSU, 3xnew Divs, 1xSupport Bde for INP)

- At battalion level the GSUs (HSCs) are already there. (Same as US)
- At brigade level they have HSCs and in some cases BSBs. HSC is good enough for straight infantry but, they need BSBs in all cases since they are motorizing the force. This will be even more true when they add the FSBs in 2008. (US brigades all have BSBs)
- At Division level they have Base Support Units (Support Bns) and Motor Transport Regiments (oversized Transport Bns) and they are expanding both. My guess is the maintenance functions will split into a seperate Bn and the Sustainment Rgts (Bdes in all but name) will formally form. (Same as US)
- At Corps level, they have the Regional Support Units which are growing to defacto Support Bdes. At army level they have the Taji National Depots. As mentioned above, the Small arms repair, wheeled Vehicle and tracked vehicle maintenance depots are comming on line and they are standing up Sustainment, munitions and general repair depots. All of this is to be online by end-2008. (same as US)

The plan is to have the maintenance and supply fully on-line by 2009 and they are mirroring the US at all levels except brigade. If they remain infantry, the reduced brigade level is a non-issue. As they motorize or mechanize, they will need to add BSBs...

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 23, 2007 1:17 AM ET:

As to the non-logistics support, that is primarily line support: engineering, artl, and air.
- Notice that the engr portion has already been built at Bde and below. The divisional portion is expanding to regiments from battalions, and the Army/corps level "Corps of Engineers" starts forming next year.
- The Fire Support bns for the Brigades also start forming in 2008 and the Divisional Field Artillery Regiments start forming in 2009.
- The long pole is air. Current plans envision five years to first jet fighter capability. Training and limited light attack, transport and recon already exist and are expanding thru 2008. This is almost all on the Iraqis dime and aircraft and their support are expensive.

Of note: The Navy will be FMC by end 2009.

The above is not all inclusive. It just lists the major items that will extend into 2009. The rest is due to be operational in 2008 or already is...

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 23, 2007 3:12 AM ET:

Turner

One thing you have to remember when comparing WWII stats to current is how the definitions change. In WWII the US Army defined Line as being Infantry, Cavelry, Engineers, and Signals only.
- Armor was support. Artl was support. The entire AAC/AAF was support. The USN was support from the US Army's perspective. Only the trigger pullers on the line were not support.

To a Battleship Admiral, the Carriers were auxillery aviation support ships...

The definitions of what is support and what is line has changed since then and the numbers changed accordingly...

If I were to use WWII definitions on the current IA then 50% of an IA Brigade would be support since only 500 out of 911 personnel in an IA Infantry Battalion are in infantry companies. The rest are supply, HQ, mortars, heavy weapons support, vehicles, medical, etc.
- At IA Division level, under WWII definitions, it would be 75% support since all of the DivTroops are support by WWII definitions. Including the Div Engrs, Scouts and MPs which are regularly in the fight.
- Since the entire IZN, IZAF and IA above line companies is support by WWII standards, that means that 64,000 of the 161,000 are line and the rest is support.

Actually it would be worse since all except 2000 of 9th IAD would be support by WWII standards.

You are comparing apples and oranges when you use WWII numbers since the definitions have changed over time. A tank is not an Infantry Support Vehicle these days. Combat helos are also line these days...

Posted by Karensky at December 23, 2007 9:32 AM ET:

DJ any word on whether the soldiers are being paid on time and treated well? I remember a while back where, I think it was Yon, the infantry were having their pay stolen by the top command. In a similar vein I hope that the corruption and nepotism have been halted and the military works for the country and not the peronalitis.

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 23, 2007 9:43 AM ET:

Karensky

I know of eight LTC and above removed for corruption in the IA this year including the Brigade and Battalion commanders involved in the report written by Yon. They are nowhere near as bad as the INP which lost 30 this year...

It has been some time since I have heard of pay problems in IA units. Their IGs are getting very good and word is getting around that what was acceptable under Saddam is not acceptable now. The biggest problem is the one-two month delay getting new troops on the rolls.

Problems have not been eliminated but then, corruption and neopotism exist in any organization and units tend to reflect thier commander's personality in any military...

Posted by Turner at December 24, 2007 10:00 AM ET:

Thanks DJ:
I've always wondered about the 10% line soldiers figure I hear. That explains it.

My goal in asking the question, is to determine, in general terms, how close the Iraqis are to being safe from a "pull-out" by the US. I'm proud of what our nation has done for Iraq but I'll rest easier when the Iraqis no longer have to rely on the compassion of our elected leaders to protect them from a bloodbath.

You mentioned the Bde's etc, remaining to be developed and some support staff as well. The basic numbers you mention add up to a good sized military for a country of this size. These do cover the support needs then? I apologize for the place of ignorance from which I ask this question. It's not something I'm going to learn from the commercial news, so I value you outlining the basics for me/us.

Thanks.

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 24, 2007 10:59 AM ET:

Turner

No problems. Much of what I know is due to being a serious student of military history and 22 years as a USN spook. Gives me an edge in comprehending one of the most complex activities in human endevor: Military Operations.

In 1988 the Iraqi Army was 1,000,000 men in 65 divisions. In 2003, it was 400,000 in 23 divisions. Saddam's divisions tended to be smaller than the current batch are being built to. Iraq has a long border with Iran and they need a good sized Army.

I am going to break the ISF into categories for "safe from pull out" because, I realy do not think any pull out will be en-total...

MoI
- IP 2009. IP is already taking over most of their own training and is steadily improving. The big problem here is corruption and you show me a police department in the world where that is not an eternal fight.
- DBE end-2010. Logistics elements have not been built. Line elements and border forts are good and consolidating the PoEs into DBE was smart.
- INP end-2010. Forming the Support Brigade only just started. They only got their own seperate training facilities theis fall. Even the planned Phase III training program by NATO goes to Oct 2009. Then the Phase IV program starts and I expect them to expand.

MoD
- IGFC: End 2009 for full independence.
During 2008 they add the Fire Support Battalions to the Brigades and in 2009 they start adding Field Artillery Regiments to the Divisions. In parrallel they are adding logistics and motorizing the force.
- ISOF: End 2010 for full independence. What they have is good but, they are probably growing to six brigades minimum and each brigade will need a dedicated special operations squadron for air support.
- Iraqi Navy. End 2009. They start getting the new vessels in 2008 and will have full force by summer 2009. Add in training time on the new boats and...
- Iraqi Air Force. This is the long-pole in the MoD. 2017. Five years befor they get serious jets according to CAFTT/MNSTC-I. That means 10 years until they can stand on own.

I expect US forces in Iraq to be Military Assistance Advisory Group and a couple of Air Groups with security force and a pre-positioned division set (or two) of equipment at end of 2009. Unless the Iraqis ask US to keep more there. No more the 50,000...

Posted by Turner at December 25, 2007 10:15 AM ET:

Thanks a lot DJ.

Wouldn't it be interesting if, a couple years from now, the ISOF were helping us out in Afghanistan? Or helping Pakistan? These countries speak different languages than Iraq, but Arabic may be a second language for some, and the Iraqis may have some insights we don't. They've sure been through it with AQI recruiting and infiltration tactics.

-- Joy to the World.

Posted by ajacksonian at December 25, 2007 11:26 AM ET:

"It has been some time since I have heard of pay problems in IA units. Their IGs are getting very good and word is getting around that what was acceptable under Saddam is not acceptable now. The biggest problem is the one-two month delay getting new troops on the rolls. "

Ahhhh... IGs! The gift that keeps on removing the bad apples. That is the best christmas around... now just need that for the various police areas (most likely something like an Internal Affairs system, although IGs work as well).

That made my day when I read it, thanks DJ!

Posted by anand at December 26, 2007 1:52 PM ET:

IZAF is the main ISF deficiency:

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123080447

Any data on coin air support helo purchases by time and type?

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 26, 2007 2:22 PM ET:

Primary helo will be the MI17.

50 have been identified in country, enr or recently purchased for delivery by early 2009.

The 22 that are in that recent purchase are SOF varients for 15th Special Operations Squadron which will be ISOF's support aviation.

At least 10 of the other helos already in country have 57mm rocket pods and LMGs.

They are going with MI17s as their primary helo because they already have 900 engineers and pilots experienced on that airframe...