The January 2008 updates to the Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle are now available at the ISF OOB Page. The significant changes to the Order of Battle are summarized below.
On December 14, the quarterly report to congress was released. The details have been addressed in “Iraqi Security Forces continue to surge” and only updates or changes to that report will be addressed in this update.
On December 15, the ninth of 18 Iraqi provinces transferred to Iraqi control. Basrah marked the halfway point in the turnover of Iraqi provinces and a major shift in Iraqi forces to cover the southern provinces. According to previous reporting, Ninewa Province is due to transfer to Iraqi control in the February or March timeframe and Anbar is speculated to transfer in the April or May timeframe. Baghdad Province is planned for Provincial Iraqi Control in August 2008. Baghdad is expected to be the last province to transfer to Iraqi control.
Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC)
While the latest Government Accounting Office report had flaws, it did note the formation of the Wheeled Vehicle Repair Depot, Tracked Vehicle Repair Depot, and Small Arms Repair Facility at Taji. On December 30, 2007 maintainers for 6th Iraqi Division graduated from the vehicle maintenance course at Old Muthanna. These events represent the Iraqi Army’s progress towards maintenance self-sufficiency.
During the month of December, the Iraqi Army increased in support troops by over 3,000 personnel. According to the commander of the US 1st Brigade-1st Cavalry Division, the three Iraqi Army (IA) brigades he has worked with could be logistically independent in three to eight months, twelve months at most. He worked with the IA 2-9 Tank Brigade, the 3-6 Infantry Brigade, and the young 4-9 (wheeled) Mechanized Brigade. The biggest problem is a shortage of heavy transporters and tanker trucks.
The Iraqi Army continues to receive more armored vehicles. On December 11, a press conference to “announce the delivery of more than 200 HMMWVs, 40 five-ton cargo trucks and five Rough Terrain Container Handlers and other types of support equipment that were purchased though the Foreign Military Sales program was held. “This is only a small portion of the equipment that is flowing into Iraq through the Foreign Military Sales program.” Those vehicles were destined for the Baghdad-based 6th and 11th Divisions only. The other divisions would receive their vehicles and equipment from other IA facilities.
The 2nd Division received 33 Iraqi Light Armored Vehicles (ILAV). This vehicle is a 4×4 version of the Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) used for engineering route clearance. “This is the second to last mass issue of Badgers, with 40 more being prepared for another Iraqi Army division.” This means that 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, and 12th Divisions have ILAVs for route clearance. The 8th Division uses DZIK3s armored personnel carriers and Bozena mine clearance vehicles for route clearance while the 9th and 3rd Divisions are using M113s. This indicates 3rd Division is planned to become mechanized. The 1st, 7th, 10th, and 14th Divisions have not been confirmed with route clearance vehicles.
The integration of Kurdish Regional Force into the Iraqi Army continues largely under the radar of press reporting. While two IA battalions (3-1-3 and 3-2-3) returned to Ninewa from their Baghdad deployment, negotiations for the transfer of two Peshmerga Divisions to the IA started. The Peshmerga and Badr Brigades have been authorized to join Iraqi security forces while Jaish Al-Mahdi has been specifically banned from joining. Also in the north, the former Strategic Infrastructure Battalions are planned to finish retraining and re-equipping by the end of 2008.
Besmaya received 110 BMP1s for issue to units going through the Brigade Unit Set Fielding program. The first battalion to receive these BMP1s was the 3-3-11, however, the 11th Division is not to be mechanized. The 3-3-11 Battalion based in Sadr City is to be the only mechanized battalion in 11th Division.
To the south, 50 more members of the 4-6 Brigade graduated the “Commando Course“. Some graduates were transferred to the local Iraqi Special Operations Force commando Company while others returned to their parent units. This indicates an upgrade program for the 4-6 “Baghdad Eagles” Brigade and probably means that they have been tapped to be the basis of the new forming Presidential Guard Brigade.
The IA has yet to form and organized reserve. In response to a request for information concerning the possibility of concerned local citizens (CLCs) being integrated and trained as an IA local reserve, the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq’s (MNSTC-I) Public Affairs Officer (PAO) replied:
“For now there is no consideration given to a Reserve Force. Not that it isn’t going to eventually be a reality but for now the focus is on the fight and filling the security forces into the critical areas of Baghdad, filling the leadership shortages, and continuing to fill the ranks of the IA to 120%. CLCs are joining security forces but most are going into the police forces. The CLCs are really local and the police forces are the best fit for these groups. The CLC ranks are totaling over 77,000 right now and not all are able to join and there are not enough police jobs for all to join. Those who are joining may not stay over the long haul but those who are joining are doing very well.”
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
The Iraqi National Police’s (INP) Sustainment Brigade continues to develop. The fifth of seven planned medical clinics was turned over to the commander of INP’s “Sustainment Battalion,” indicating that component is standing up. Additionally, the INP’s “Sustainment Brigade” supported the deployment of new INP recruits to Sulimaniyah Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) Training Facility via the Iraqi Air Force’s 23rd Squadron (C130).
The DBE is assisting in correcting the training backlog of INP personnel since the INP has priority. This action indicates the initial operations of the INP Sustainment Brigade’s Special Troops Battalion and the Sustainment Battalion. The status of the Maintenance Battalion and the Transport Battalion is undetermined. The INP had its basic joint combined operations qualifications checked off with that deployment. INP recruits, supported by the INP Sustainment Brigade, transported to a DBE training facility via an Iraqi Air Force C130.
On December 19, the first class graduated from INP Phase III training. Of the 450 students that started this “Carabinieri” training, 430 members of the INP Quick Reaction Battalion (Emergency Response Unit) actually graduated (as opposed to the 700 reported by AP). A new class was to start at the end of December. Additionally, the INP Emergency Response Unit gained a new 125 man company. This indicates that they are fully manning the graduating battalions of Phase III training as part of the program.
On December 18, the Iraqi National Police Al Askaryn Brigade of Samarra received more than 80 vehicles. This means they are now a motorized brigade and is the first time the Al Askaryn Brigade was officially acknowledged as under INP command. This brigade was deployed to Samarra after the second attack that destroyed the minarets of the Al Askaria mosque in early 2007.
The Ministry of Interior’s response to the various Washington think tanks’ recommendations to disband the INP has been received, and rejected. Nine new INP battalions have been added since mid-September for a total of a division’s worth of new INP units in 2007. In response to an request for information to clarify the nine INP battalion increase in the December quarterly report, (per Multi-National Corps-Iraq J5) a correction to the INP section of the “Iraqi Security Forces continue to surge” needs to be made. The quarterly report only lists combat formations of the INP. The new INP Sustainment Brigade is in addition to the 11 brigades and 39 battalions listed. In September the INP was listed as having 10 brigades and 30 battalions. This included the already operational nine INP brigades (27 battalions) plus the Al Askaryn Brigade (3 battalions) ordered formed last spring. The brigade and nine new INP battalions added since September are:
• The Emergency Response Unit is being counted as a battalion.
• The Justice Battalion.
• The Unity Battalion.
• The Seyafeah Battalion.
• The Basrah Palace Protection Force (two battalions).
• The newly forming Abu-Risha Brigade planned for Anbar Province (three battalions).
The five specialty units referred to in the quarterly report are the INP Emergency Response Unit, the Basrah Palace Protection Force, the Justice Battalion, the Unity Battalion, and the Seyafeah Battalion.
During December north Wasit Province IP added a new 800 man Emergency Response Battalion. This would be the 57th Emergency Response Battalion formed nationwide. In Basrah, the Iraqi Police has reorganized into “Emergency Regiments” as part of its reformation.
The Interior Ministry appears to be addressing concerns of corruption, particularly related to the personnel rolls. On December 8, a planned hiring freeze of Iraqi Police for 2008 was announced. This freeze is for retaining and reappraisal of the force. So far, the Ministry of Interior has found 48,000 “ghost” employees since they started taking over the Facilities Protection Service from their original 24 parent ministries.
Note: Organizational wiring diagrams have been added to the order of battle page since “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.