The February 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 January are summarized below.
Anbar is the next scheduled Iraqi province to transfer to provincial Iraqi control (PIC). Anbar is planned to go PIC in March 2008, with the official ceremony to be held in April. Prior to this, an Anbar Operational Command is expected to be formed in order to coordinate security throughout the province. On January 21st, the DhiQar Operational Command was ordered stood up in DhiQar province and, on January 22nd, the Ninawa Operational Command also became active in Ninawa province. These “Operational Commands” are the interim stage to forming the future corps and army group headquarters.
Of note: The Iraqi Army unauthorized absentee (AWOL) rate, has fallen to 1.2 percent over the last six months and the current goal is 601,000-640,000 Iraqi Security Force (ISF) members.
Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraqi (MNSTC-I) has clarified the command and organization of the newly forming Presidential Brigade. The Government of Iraq has not yet determined the subordination or organization of the Iraqi Army’s Presidential Brigade. It is under orders and being formed with forces generated. Resources have been allocated for the brigade’s formation but, as of January 2008, it has not been determined who the Brigade will report to.
“When completed, the Presidential Brigade will be a five battalion force responsible for the immediate local security of key government facilities and leaders, as well as ceremonial functions, within Baghdad. It will operate under MoD [Iraq Ministry of Defense] control, though exact command-and-control lines have yet to be determined. It does not yet have an approved MTOE [military table of organization and equipment], but will consist of a mixed armor, motorized and light infantry force. The brigade is now undergoing force-generation.”
Logistics, Training, and Equipping
The Iraqi Army continues to expand its logistics support. “Ten new logistics centers, to be completed in May, are designed to speed up the transition by giving the Iraqi military a place to warehouse parts and equipment and to send hardware that needs repair.” This represents the expanding divisional base support units, which are gaining maintenance battalions. The five existing regional support units are also adding maintenance battalions, and the Taji National Depot has already stood up fourth level maintenance depots for wheeled vehicles, tracked vehicles, small arms, and support equipment. That’s a de-facto maintenance brigade. Iraqi Army became life-support self-sufficient as of November 25, 2007. This means they supply their own basic supply items for their own units. Also, to alleviate the bureaucratic delays in ammunition issue, second and third level ammo issue is a push system now. In a push system, the higher support automatically issues ammo based on the expected needs. Previously, ammo was issued under the pull system, in which units have to request resupply.
The expansion of the maintenance elements has also been accompanied by additional maintenance schools. A mechanic school has recently stood up at Taji. This is the fourth maintenance school the Iraqi Army has formed. This is very timely since the ISF are receiving 8,500 HMMWVs by 2010 from the US Iraqi fund. The HMMWVs are used vehicles, and their refurbishment will probably be used to train Iraqi maintenance personnel.
“The goal is to transfer 4,244 vehicles to the Iraqi security forces by the end of 2008. The refurbishment process is a 13-month program, which includes light maintenance and painting. The contract can be extended by an additional six months. This contract will generate more than 500 jobs and has the potential to serve as an on-the-job training mechanism for Iraqi soldiers who have completed their initial training. It’ll serve as a mechanism to ensure the long-term capability to maintain this fleet of vehicles by the Iraqi army. Officials aim for the program to complete the transfer of more than 8,000 vehicles to the Iraqi government by the end of 2009.”
A new Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy has been established at Forward Operating Base Kalsu. Combined with the existing commando training there, this could be the start of converting Kalsu to an Iraqi Army Training Base. All other NCO training is conducted at established Iraqi Army training centers and bases. Iraqi leadership is improving. “We’re at 68 percent fill in officers and 64 to 65 percent fill in sergeants.” This almost doubles the number of NCOs in the Iraqi Army, but the army’s expansion means even more NCOs are needed. “The maneuver side is the most mature, because that is the choice that we made,” Lieutenant General Dubik said. “In the last six months we established two division headquarters, three brigade headquarters and 10 battalion headquarters. That’s a huge growth in their size — about 40,000.”
In addition to the 8,500 HMMWVs, the Iraqi Army is working to get heavier armor. A total of 35 EE9 Cascavels transferred to 4-9 Brigade. “More than 90 civilian contracted mechanics, many of whom are former soldiers in the Iraqi Army, have worked more than 11 months to completely refurbish these vehicles including, replacement of key drive shaft components, body work, suspension systems, and electrical wiring. They are very proud of their contribution to the Iraqi army.” These 90mm gun armed scout cars will provide 4-9 Brigade with heavy direct fire support that their BTR80s do not have.
The donation of T72s from NATO to fill out the 9th Iraqi Army Division continues to be a work in progress. According to MNSTC-I’s RFI reply: “The potential Slovakian T-72 donation is in the pre-inspection phase. Iraqi/NATO team will inspect the T-72s in April or MAY.” While NATO Training Mission-Iraq’s reply was:
“The status of the 70 T-72s Iraq request is that the donation is being validated. A team made up of members of the Iraqi military, NATO Training Mission-Iraq’s Training and Equipment Coordination Cell members and Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq members will travel to Slovenia to validate the equipment. The team will inspect and validate the equipment in April or May. Please note that the transportation of the equipment into theatre and refurbishment of equipment-up to standards is not always funded by the donating nation. The cushion of time between the announcement to fulfil the request and the receipt of equipment is used to request funding from other nations, NATO’s Partnership for Peace members or the Iraqis for transportation and refurbishment.”
Also, the Iraqi Minister of Defense is testing the waters and looking to buy M1 tanks.
MTLB Armored Personnel Carriers that formerly belonged to the 9th Division have shown up in Adhamiyah with bumper markings indicating they are in the 1-1-11 Battalion. This is the second battalion in the new 11th Division to get tracked armored vehicles. The 3-3-11 Battalion received BMP1s when it formed at Besmaya. Combined these factors with the New York Times report that the new 2-11 (graduated Besmaya on January 2nd) and 3-11 Brigades were only 2,000 personnel each while the Iraqi Ground Forces Command spokesman was saying they were 110 percent manned. A standard Iraqi infantry brigade has 2,750 troops at 110 percent manning. An armor brigade would be approximately 2,000 and the 3rd Brigade has received a mechanized battalion. The 11th Division is apparently organizing as an armor division with its 2nd and 3rd Brigades being future armor brigades while the 1st and 4th Brigades are mechanized.
Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC)
With the open acknowledgement that operational commands are future corps headquarters, a request for information was sent to MNSTC-I as to how many corps are to be formed. “No firm decision on number of IA Corps to be formed. J-3 recommendation is five.” This compares to the seven already formed operational commands and another planned for Anbar. The additional headquarters probably are future army command headquarters (Northern and Southern Army) and a future sixth corps headquarters (Anbar).
Iraqi units are becoming much more capable. “With less than a week’s notice the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Iraqi Army Division was alerted to deploy from Anbar province to Diyala province to support combat operations in the Diyala River Valley. This was a good Iraqi decision and was executed solely by the Iraqis. Within 36 hours upon arrival, the 3rd Brigade uncovered two sizeable caches, gathered significant intelligence and aggressively hunted down al Qaeda in tough terrain and demanding climatic conditions.” The experienced 3-1 Brigade will probably cover Diyala until the newly formed 4-5 Brigade is operational. The 1st and 9th Divisions are operating as national quick-response forces in practice, although only the 9th Division is acknowledged in this role.
Ninawa Province is also being reinforced for major operations. Elements of the 9th Division arrived January 27th in Mosul. Also the Ninawa Operational Command was stood up under the command of the 9th Division’s general.
The Iraqi Ground Forces Command will probably gain three more divisions in 2008. According to MNSTC-I:
“The Minister of Defense recently directed a study for the generation of an additional IA division (15th IA). However, IA force generation remains conditions-based subject to the security situation on the ground, as well as decisions undertaken by the GoI. Other than what has been expressed in reports from OSD [Office of the Secretary Defense] to the Congress which are matters of public record, such as the calendar year 2007 9010 Reports which addressed Government of Iraq (GoI) consideration of adding two Peshmerga divisions, there are no official orders to force-generate additional Iraqi divisions.”
The 15th Division is probably envisioned for south Baghdad and Babil Provinces. “…the army is clearly capable in our area, with the 8th Iraqi Division and the one brigade from the 6th Iraqi Division, very capable commanders and capable units. And they’re growing five more battalions in the 8th Division over the next six months.” The area south of Baghdad and north of 8th Division areas is covered only by the five battalions of the 4-6 Brigade, two brigades of Iraqi National Police and coalition forces. Major General Lynch has said he needs seven more Iraqi Army battalions for that area and that he expects to get them. The five battalions of the 4-6 Brigade and the additional seven battalions that he is getting would equal the strength of a new division. Of note: The 6th Division is five battalions over-strength.
Reporting on budget negotiations in the Government of Iraq has confirmed that the transfer of two Peshmerga divisions is still in the works. Overall Peshmerga strength is at 101,000 active, of which 25,000 are to be in two IA Divisions while 76,000 remain under the Kurdish Regional Government. An additional 90,000 are to be retired from Peshmerga. While the ISF budget was hung up in negotiations, those have ended with the original deal still in effect.
The expansion of the Iraqi Army’s line brigades has delayed forming fire-support battalions for Iraqi brigades into 2009. According to MNSTC-I:
“The force generation of artillery units is addressed as part of the existing Iraqi Army Service plan. As part of that plan, MoD intends to field one direct-support artillery battalion per Iraqi Army brigade. However, current estimates, given other priority areas and commitment of available resources, are that force generation of Iraqi Army artillery units will not start fielding until sometime in 2009.”
Ministry of Interior
The Iraqi National Police is establishing North, South, Central, and Western Regional Commands as part of phase IV. These will probably be de-facto divisions. The Iraqi Police is establishing regional maintenance facilities as well. Mosul Police plan to add 3,000 personnel, of which 1,000 are to be from families of victims of violence and formed into an Emergency Response Battalion. The National Police forces to be deployed to Mosul are unidentified at this time.
For further details, graphics, organizational data, and definitions of terms, go to the ISF OOB homepage.
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