Posted by Curt on 14 August, 2005 at 8:06 pm. Be the first to comment!

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Bill Roggio has an excellent post up about the status of the Iraqi Army:

A major reason Iraqi security forces are deemed “not operational” (in New York Times parlance) is their inability to sustain their own logistical support system. At the risk of beating the dead horse, it is important to stress that the majority of Iraqi units are able to conduct combat operations, but are restricted from fully independent operations due to their reliance on the US logistical support (explained here, here, and here). General Fontaine explains the Iraqi army is making real progress in improving their support systems, and three of the planned nine (to ten) combat support regiments are fully operational.

Q: General, this is Bob Burns with Associated Press. I wanted to ask you to elaborate on the point you made earlier about partnering with Iraqi logistics forces. If I heard you correctly, I think you said that two of the three Iraqi transport regiments are ready to operate independently. Could you talk a little bit more about that? How many more do they need? Is three all they need? What’s the future hold there?

GEN. FONTAINE [commander of the 1st Corps Support Command (Airborne) in Iraq]: Yes, sir. I believe the end state for the motorized transport regiment is a total of nine of (or?) 10. We’ve received the first three — really, the first four; a fourth one is being added in the next couple of months. So those three have shown a real action to get with the program. They are — they took about six months to get trained to — proficient in transportation operation, to the point where they are using their own command and control, their own radios, their own security today to escort themselves as they supply Iraqi forces in the theater of war.

So to answer your question, right now two to three are — I call them green — to support the Iraqi forces in their sector. Three to four more are being formed within the next three, four months. It takes six more months to seven months to train them. So I would anticipate that within one year we should lay the complement of transport regiment we need to sustain the battle.

American Army and Marine units have been working hard to train the Iraqi Army, and are reporting positive results. An article on a Military Transition Team (MiTT) team of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in An Numaniyah details the work involved with training the 2nd Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division. Major K [Army], who has been reassigned to a MiTT, reports on the progress of the 1st Brigade of the Iraqi 6th Infantry Division.

Seeing the Iraqi Soldiers of the 1st Brigade, known as the “Cobras,” was heartening. They were disciplined, professional and soldierly. This, again, was a far cry from what I was accustomed to heretofore. I figure if we can bring every unit in the Iraqi Army up to their standards, we can go home. We can help, but it is ultimately up to them. Another thing that I noticed was that their FOB was clean and in a fairly good state of repair. Their Commander Brigadier General “J” was unabashedly proud of his unit, and he should be. This is the Brigade that took back Haifa Street.

The 6th Division also tamed the restive Dora neighborhood in Baghdad this spring. Other Iraqi units are getting results. A combined US and Iraqi task force maintains the peace in the once explosive Sadr neighborhood in Baghdad. In Mosul, Iraqi police lay an ambush for an al Qaeda cell, killing three members. And in the recently wrapped up Operation Azil in Babil province, which over 350 Iraqi police and soldiers participated, “two hundred and nineteen suspected insurgents” were arrested.

The Iraqi Army and police forces continue to grow and deveolp their capabilities. These units have not even come close to reaching their potential (as Major K alludes to). The Iraqi security services we see one year from today will likely look markedly different from the one we see today.

Sometimes the most complex thing about an army is their logistic’s. Lack of supplies has ruined many major operations throughout history and this seems to be the biggest factor in the readiness of the Iraqi Army. 3 of the 9 planned support regiments are already up and operational, I bet this will speed up quickly as those who have been trained start training others.

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