Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle: June 2008 Update


Iraqi and Coalition forces Order of Battle as of May 31, 2008.

The June 2008 updates to the Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle are now available at the ISF OOB homepage. The significant changes to the Order of Battle that occurred in May are summarized below.

Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC): On May 13, the Commander of Multinational Division - Central South meet with the governor of Qadisayah (Diwaniyah) province and signed the memorandum for the readiness to transfer of authority. This was the last Provincial Security Transition Assessment conference for Diwaniyah. This indicates that Qadisayah is proceeding with turnover during the month of June.

Ministry of Defense

The concurrent operations in Basrah, Sadr City in Baghdad, and Mosul have strained the Iraqi Army's ability to address additional areas where security operations were planned. During a May 28 briefing, General Abadi, the second-ranking officer in the Iraqi Armed Forces said operations in the Shula neighborhood, a Mahdi Army stronghold in Baghdad, have been put on hold due to a shortage of Iraqi forces. "We have sent most of our units to Basra and others we have sent to Mosul to support operations [in] Mosul, Abadi said. "The rest of our units [are] in Sadr City." Abadi said operation in Shula would likely continue "after we have enough units."

This shortage of troops should be alieviated since the operations in Basrah are winding up the clear phase, and moving on to the hold and build phase. This transition is freeing up some elements for redeployment. Said Abadi:

"I think we have close to two divisions there in Basra and because of the level of security is much better now, we're trying to use those forces - the ones that we brought from Amara and the ones that we brought from the west, from the 1st Division - will be withdrawn soon. There are already orders for them to withdraw."
Additionally, there is an agreement for 30,000 Peshmerga to be integrated into the Iraqi Army as two divisions. This has been in negotiations since December 2007. Also, the joint Anbar Operational Command is soon to stand up and assume control of all Iraqi Security Forces in Anbar.

Ministry of Interior

The Ministry of Interior plans one Iraqi National Police (INP) Brigade per province, according to the Senior Deputy Minister of Interior. There are 18 Iraqi provinces. However, four of the provinces have reasons for more than one brigade. Baghdad, Mosul, and Basrah's population densities require additional forces. Baghdad requires a reinforced division and the other two provinces probably should have two brigades each. Anbar's large area also requires more than one brigade. This announcement of a brigade per province indicates the probable INP planned strength is five to seven divisions, with 25 to 31 brigades. Current INP strength is three divisions with 13 brigades operational or forming.

The use of Emergency Response Brigades for national deployment continues. Operation Lion's Roar in Mosul during early May was "carried out by elite force besides Scorpion and Lion forces from Kut and Hilla...." The Hillah SWAT Battalion is the Scorpions, and the Wassit Emergency Response Brigade (ERB) is the Lions. During early April, Hillah SWAT and the Karbala ERB deployed to Basrah. These deployments indicate a change in mission for these ERBs to include nationwide deployment. That is a role that belongs to the INP. With the planned addition of seven more battalions for the Ninawa province, there are a minimum of 24 ERBs (72 battalions) in the Iraqi Police. These temporary formations probably will be absorbed by the INP and the Department of Border Enforcement as part of their expansion.

Iraqi Security Force Improvements

One of the requirements for major US combat forces to leave Iraq is that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) become capable of taking on the security task. Since March 2008, the ISF has demonstrated several major improvements compared to its performance in 2006.

In August 2006, the Iraqi Army was incapable of moving three battalions to Baghdad with a month's notice and did not have a functional corps level command element. Ministry of Interior (MoI) elements were in even worse shape at that time and estimated to be two years behind the army. However, operations since March 2008 have demonstrated major improvements:

• Initial force planning and the intelligence estimates of the threat in Basrah were incorrect. However, in subsequent operations, in Sadr City, this failure seems to have been addressed.
• The Iraqi Army response, moving a division of reinforcements to Basrah in five days, demonstrated a monumental improvement in operational logistics and mobility over 18 months previous.
• One Iraqi battalion broke, It was a new battalion (1-52) in a green brigade (52nd) that had graduated training a month previously. This was presented in the press as a symbol of the lack of capabilities of the Iraqi Army. What it represented was the low end of the Iraqi Army - the capabilities of recruits fresh out of boot camp. A classic example of why it takes time to grow an army. The 1-52 Battalion has since reformed and is receiving urban combat training. On the other hand, the performance of the experienced units, such as the 1st Quick Reaction Force was significantly better.
• The ability of the ISF to defeat the recent uprising in most of southern Iraq and to contain Sadr City until sufficient forces were available to deal with that area, despite elements from Baghdad, Babil, and Karbala being temporarily deployed to Basrah, demonstrate the improvements to the ISF overall.
• The Army has now demonstrated the ability to simultaneously operate three separate corps level operations (Baghdad, Mosul, and Basrah). Eighteen months ago they did not have a functional corps command.
• The Army has demonstrated the ability to move a division of reinforcements anywhere in the country within a week. Its a major improvement over 18 months previous.
• The Ministry of Interior has demonstrated the ability to deploy a reinforced brigade anywhere in Iraq in a week. Significant improvement.
• The rapid deployment of Emergency Response Brigades and Iraqi National Police forces to Basrah and Mosul demonstrates major improvements in MoI forces mobility and capabilities, although their logistics are still lagging.

While these are monumental improvements over their previous performance and capabilities, significant weaknesses still have to be addressed:

• Logistics and intelligence are weak.

• The army will not start to aquire its first field artillery until 2009.

• Additional corps and support elements are being built and is needed for current force, but the force does need further expansion of line elements. The Iraqi Security forces are currently adding their fourth corps level joint command, Anbar Operational Command.

• Major increases in armored vehicles, especially tanks, are needed.

• The Iraqi Air Force is a decade from independence. It takes two years to train a pilot compared to only three months for an infantryman.

The ISF is better than many claim, but it still is a work in progress.

CJ Radin contributed to this article.



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READER COMMENTS: "Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle: June 2008 Update"

Posted by mjr007 at June 6, 2008 5:08 PM ET:

What a difference a year makes. A year ago we still weren't up to full surge level and yet but a short year later, we are witnessing widespread progress on all levels.

• Rolling up al-Sadr in the south with progress working its way north into Wasit province.

• Mosul being placated as the AQI firebrand terrorists flee without much of a fight.

• Sadr City isolated with al-Sadr bordering on the irrelevant. Working east into New Baghdad on the way to the border at al-Badrah.

• Encircling the command and control center for the Ramazan Corps in Amarah.

God bless General David Patraeus.

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 6, 2008 5:24 PM ET:

I refer to the Iraqi Surge as "The Real Surge".
- We fielded five combat brigades extra for 15 months. All but one has now left...
- The Iraqi Army fielded a brigade a month for the last year. A quarter of the IA brigades were formed over the last year. And they are not going away...
- The INP added another division and purged 7-10,000 problems from their ranks in their housecleaning. And they are not going away...

A lot can happen in a year. Took the groundwork of the previous years building the ISF training and equipping system for what has happened in the last year to occur. Building an army is more than issuing a mob a uniform and a rifle. Much more...

Posted by anand at June 6, 2008 7:40 PM ET:

Amazing job DJ and CJR.

In upcoming briefings, please ask about where the large number of IFVs that are being delivered to the IA are being deployed into the fight.

Probably wheeled mechanized armored cavalry companies are being deployed to existing battalions and brigades in different parts of Iraq.

It is possible that existing IA brigades that have damaged their armored vehicles in combat are getting preference for new APCs.

Many existing motorized infantry battalions and brigades might get a QRF wheeled mechanized armored cavalry company . . . as an intermediate step. But this is speculation.

Another question I might ask is how close to complete are each IA combat line brigade's engineering combat company and EOD company?

Posted by Matthew (in Aus) at June 6, 2008 8:54 PM ET:

What is the difference in the equipment (vehicles, weapons, etc) between the 1st and 9th QRF Divisions and the 14th Division which had difficulty in Basra? What explains the difference in performance between the various units? Is it simply that the 14th had only just come out of training; because the reinforcements had embedded MNF teams; or because there was possibly increased coalition fire support? Or was it because JAM had melted away?

What is your assessment of the performance of the 2nd Division in Mosul and the 11th in Sadr City?

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 6, 2008 9:22 PM ET:

What is the difference in the equipment (vehicles, weapons, etc) between the 1st and 9th QRF Divisions and the 14th Division which had difficulty in Basra?
- 1st is slowly converting to QRF motorized from infantry Div,
- 9th is tracked mechanized converting to a Tank Div, and
- 14th is forming as a motorized.

What explains the difference in performance between the various units?
- Only one brigade of 14th is experianced. The 50th is the former 3-8 brigade, the 51st is a year old, the 52nd graduated in Feb08, the 53rd is to graduate this month, and the 14th Div's support units are still forming with the groundbreaking of the Location Command last week. The Div commissioned in Nov07.
- The 1st and 9th Divisions are mostly old units. The only green brigade of the two divisions is the 37th/9th Lt ArmCav Bde. The 1st is the oldest Div in the IA with all of its brigades formed more than three years ago. The 34th/9th Mech Bde was the first IA mech ever formed (from salv armor). The 35th/9th Armor Bde was formed in late 2005 from NATO donated armor. The 36th/9th formed in early 2007 and the 37th/9th formed last year with its Recon Bn forming in Jan08...

Is it simply that the 14th had only just come out of training;
- Green as grass would be the proper description, as opposed to the 1st Division being the oldest and one of the two brigades sent being the oldest in the IA. Experience counts.

because the reinforcements had embedded MNF teams;
- So did the 14th. Just not as many as the USMC did with the 1st in Anbar.

or because there was possibly increased coalition fire support?
- No significant difference.

Or was it because JAM had melted away?
- You mean ran to Iran when the ammo started to run out?

What is your assessment of the performance of the 2nd Division in Mosul and the 11th in Sadr City?
- 2nd is doing well but, have to see the impact of the Div CO being demoted and replaced.
- 11th is as green as the 14th and still forming logistics as well as its last brigade but, it was reinforced with major elements of 1st and 9th from the get-go. Plus INP. That helped.

Posted by Alex at June 6, 2008 11:31 PM ET:

Meh, still no Greek M60s. Interesting to see though that A-67 delivery is speculated by end of 2008.

I am thinking though that that the biggest threat IA needs to plan around isn't so much JAM or AQI now, but the possibility of the arrival of an Iranian "peacekeeping" force in the event of a US departure.

Posted by Anthony at June 6, 2008 11:36 PM ET:

Did it take a decade to train South Vietnamese pilots to undertake independent operations against the VC/North Vietnamese?

It seems to me that the Iraqi Air Force should have pilots trained in less than a decade's time.

Are none of the hundreds of former Iraqi pilots available to staff the new Air Force?

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 6, 2008 11:49 PM ET:

South Vietnam Air Force was built starting in 1955.
Not invented overnight in the 60s.
Many of its pilots had experience with the FAF.

The reason the IZAF is going to Mi-17s as primary helo is because they have 900 Mi-17 pilots and engineers identified for refresure training.

The problem with the Jet pilots is they were not getting anything like sufficient flight time since 1991. And the airframes they flew were old soviet designs. The few French birds they had went to Iran or were destroyed in 91.

That is a retraining problem when shifting to western aircraft. Many of the current pilots are from the old Air Force including the CG...

On the subject of the A67, the Super Tucano is also in play but, Brazil has a law about not exporting to countries with an ongoing conflict...

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 7, 2008 12:15 AM ET:

One other note: The South Vietnam AF's principle jet was the F5. An armed version of an USAF jet trainer. Not high end at all, even for the 70s...

I expect all except the high-end Fighter/Attack component of the IZAF to be built by 2012. It is those components that cause the Iraqi MoD to say 2018 for final...

Posted by Andrew R. at June 7, 2008 2:00 PM ET:

DJ,

Is there any word on the ongoign wrangling over getting those M-60's from Greece that you wrote about earlier? Heck, is there *any* progress on getting more tanks than the leftover T-55's and Hungarian T-72's that they've got now?

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 7, 2008 2:09 PM ET:

Andrew R.

I wish.

Tank deliveries are considered regionally politically senisitive since they are considered offensive arms.

The only hint is the 34th Bde has joined the 35th and 36th as being referred to as "Armored" in MNF symbology and briefings. My guess is the NATO donated T72s from Slovakia are enr/arr and that they are upgrading 34th or 36th with the T72s while concentrating the T55s in the other.

Posted by Trophy Wench at June 7, 2008 10:08 PM ET:

I'm glad to see that the IA has truly come full circle now. Bravo.


Getitng back to the air force now, has anyone seen this article? http://www.atlargely.com/2008/06/the-new-no-bid.html
So DJ, there may be more to the Super Tucano's inception in Iraq to come. Overall though, do you think this is the most plausable outcome based on what you have observed?


Also, it appears that the GoI wants to negotiate with the French govenment to get some of its Gazelle's back;
http://www.defensenews.com/story.phpi=3557590&c=MID&s=TOP
If you ask me, another smart (potential) purchase by the new Iraqi Government.

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 7, 2008 11:18 PM ET:

TW

Saw those. Looking for confirmation.

Also the Gazelles are still in early negotiation.
I suspect the French want to get in on the fighter competition too...

Posted by anand at June 8, 2008 9:59 PM ET:

You put the wheeled mechanized armored cavalry Presidential brigade near the international Zone. Is there data on the status of each of its five combat line battalions?

IA 14-4 is designated as motorized airmobile. It is now designated as C1, versus not being designated C1 before.
IA 16-4 was designated in the OOB as C1, it isn't now. I wonder when it is upgraded to motorized (or even airmobile or mechanized.)

IA 15-4 is likely to be upgraded to some type of mechanized, or motorized airmobile fairly soon.

I also noticed how IA 37-9 is now "armored." It looks like the T72s recieved in May have been deployed to 9th IAD.

Why are you indicating NP bdes as a rectangle with two dots in its bottom surface?

Why not indicate that they are NP by the light blue fill it, and designate them with the same "light infantry" or "infantry" rectangle designations you use for the IA.

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 8, 2008 10:22 PM ET:

You put the wheeled mechanized armored cavalry Presidential brigade near the international Zone. Is there data on the status of each of its five combat line battalions?
- Nothing since Feb when I put it there.

IA 14-4 is designated as motorized airmobile. It is now designated as C1, versus not being designated C1 before.
- It should have been listed as C1 since last year. (was 1-4 IA Bde)

IA 16-4 was designated in the OOB as C1, it isn't now. I wonder when it is upgraded to motorized (or even airmobile or mechanized.)
- Should never have listed the former 3-4 Bde as C1.

IA 15-4 is likely to be upgraded to some type of mechanized, or motorized airmobile fairly soon.
- What gives you that idea. No reports of anything indicating that.

I also noticed how IA 37-9 is now "armored." It looks like the T72s recieved in May have been deployed to 9th IAD.
- MNF-I is calling 34th, 35th and 36th "armored"; 37th is still BTR80/EE9s equipped light armored cavalry. I do not think the extra T72s have arrived just yet but, the 34th is now being called armor (vice mech).

Why are you indicating NP bdes as a rectangle with two dots in its bottom surface? Why not indicate that they are NP by the light blue fill it, and designate them with the same "light infantry" or "infantry" rectangle designations you use for the IA.
- Same reason that MP units are a square with "MP" in it in standard military symbology. MPs are equivalent to light infantry too. But they are not. They are MP. Just like the National Police is the National Police, not just light infantry...

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 9, 2008 1:11 AM ET:

Anand

If you are looking for tank upgrades other than the 9th getting the T72s, watch 3rd, 7th, and poss 11th Divs.

The Pattons being disposed of first as the HA upgrades to Leopards are the M48s.
I expect the M48s to go to the two IA Syrian border divisions and maybe some temporarily for training purposes to the 11th. I expect the plan is for the 11th to eventually get M1s...

Posted by pat at June 9, 2008 12:56 PM ET:

In a future article could you speak to the pace and effectiveness of integration of the CLC's/Awakening/Son's of Iraq groups?

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 9, 2008 1:15 PM ET:

pat

- Those groupings only number ~100,000 and only 20% are planned to be incorparated into the ISF. The rest are looking at jobs programs. Vetting is the delay in absorbing those that want to join.
- The IA was running 108,000/year thru bootcamp in Jan08 and expanding that to 130,000 this year. Currently approching 300,000 manning.
- The MoI was running 79,000/year in Jan08 and expanding that to 118,000 over 18 months. Manning in excess of 300,000 currently.

The SoI provide a disproportionate amount of security to their local area because they know who belongs and who does not.

They are not a major element of the ISF recruiting, training, or development which is the focus of this series of articles.

Most SoI do not want to join the ISF, they just want their neighborhood secure. (Note: I have sudgested that they look at them as a source for an organized reserve but, that is not in consideration ATT...)

Note: Over 15,000 from Anbar have already joined the IA and INP. They filled out the 1st and 7th IA Divs and are the major part of the new Abu Risha INP Brigade.

Posted by masayo at June 10, 2008 4:34 PM ET:

I am somewhat surprised that each of the divisions are scheduled to receiving Artillery Battalions. How much Artillery Firepower is needed under current circumstances? What kind of Artillery are they thinking they need?

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 10, 2008 4:47 PM ET:

masayo

You do not plan force developments based on current threat, you base it on potential future threat. Building army formations take time and situations can change overnight.

The primary role of the IA is foreign threats. Internal security is their secondary function.

The formation of FA battalions in the IA was postponed from 2008 to 2009 when the PM decided to increase from the 10 Divs/36 Bdes of the planned basic COIN force that was acheived at end-2006. He decided to go on to 13 Divs/54 Bdes before adding the required components to provide security for Iraq against "all enemies, FOREIGN and domestic."

The INP and IP are planned to take over the role of internal security primaries while the IA transitions to dealing with foreign threats. EG the 1000 Km disputed border with Iran (23 active/25 reserve Divs) and the secondary threat of Iran's formal ally Syria...

Posted by marcello at June 11, 2008 11:48 AM ET:


"You put the wheeled mechanized armored cavalry Presidential brigade near the international Zone. Is there data on the status of each of its five combat line battalions?"

"-Nothing since Feb when I put it there."

Was it actually established then?

Posted by DJ Elliott at June 11, 2008 5:06 PM ET:

marcello

At least two of the planned five battalions. The Presidential Brigade was to form from existing line battalions in overstrength brigades and part of it was equipped in Besmaya in Jan...