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Research Report

The Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq

James L. Jones
Copyright Date: Sep. 6, 2007
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 153
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep03539
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 25-34)

    To put the Commission’s assessment of the Iraqi Security Forces in an appropriate context, it is important to understand the internal and external threats facing Iraq and its people, as well as the requirements that those threats impose on the Iraqi Security Forces. The societal forces defining the security environment in Iraq today are enormously diverse, complex, and violent, and they directly affect the stability of the broader Middle East. The conflicts in Iraq today flow from differences over religion, from historical divides, and from disputes in Iraqi society that were unleashed following the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They...

  2. (pp. 35-46)

    This report assesses each element of the Iraqi Security Forces in terms of its military readiness to contribute to the security of Iraq. Though many of the challenges facing the ISF are common across the military and police forces, each force has unique characteristics, potential strengths, and evident weaknesses. This chapter provides the Commission’s perspective on the overall ability of the Iraqi Security Forces to conduct four critical missions: maintaining the territorial sovereignty of Iraq, denying safe haven to terrorists, providing greater security in the provinces, and ending sectarianism to promote national reconciliation.

    Although the ISF have made significant progress...

  3. (pp. 47-54)

    The Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MOD) is a relatively new organization, coping with the challenges of managing its own development while supporting the current combat operations of the Iraqi armed forces. The MOD is strengthening its administrative capacity in several areas—notably in budget development, strategic and operational planning, and personnel management. It has a vision and strategic plan for Iraq’s armed forces and is beginning to implement that vision. It has put functioning systems in place to recruit soldiers, sailors, and airmen; has developed an adequate training base in cooperation with the Coalition; and is working to improve its...

  4. (pp. 55-71)

    The Iraqi Army (IA) is a newly forming light infantry army already fighting a difficult counterinsurgency as it comes into being. Though the Iraqi Army is enjoying increasing success at the tactical level, significant challenges remain. Most units can muster only 60–75 percent of their assigned strength on any given day, owing to the need for soldiers to travel home to give their families their pay, the lack of enforcement of the Iraqi Code of Military Discipline, the counting of wounded soldiers who remain on the personnel rolls but cannot fight, and the number of soldiers on scheduled leave.60...

  5. (pp. 72-77)

    In 2004, the Iraqi Air Force had 35 people and possessed no aircraft. This meager beginning and late start as compared to the new Iraqi Army help put in context the progress the Air Force has made since then. Its personnel now number approximately 1,100 airmen equipped with 45 aircraft that are capable of 130 to 150 sorties a week.93 They are engaged in supporting the domestic counterinsurgency fight, and as the Iraqi Air Force’s capacity improves, so too will its ability to be a force multiplier for Iraqi ground forces. However, the delayed start-up of the new Iraqi Air...

  6. (pp. 78-85)

    The Iraqi Navy operates in an area of responsibility with significant strategic value, bordered by countries with which Iraq has difficult political relationships. The Navy is responsible for supporting ongoing counterinsurgency operations and for the security of the key Iraqi infrastructure that enables the shipping of nearly all Iraq’s oil, which constitutes the majority of national revenue. In just a few years, the Iraqi Navy has made significant progress, has embarked on an ambitious training and acquisition program, and has implemented a sophisticated planning process. It continues to develop solid leadership as it works with its Coalition partners toward independent...

  7. (pp. 86-92)

    A central challenge confronting the development of effective civil security forces in Iraq is the dysfunctional and sectarian Ministry of Interior (MOI) itself. In contrast to the Ministry of Defense, the MOI is rife with political and sectarian intrigues and is struggling to be even partially effective as a government institution. In most areas of administrative function, the MOI has some nascent capability, but progress is extremely slow. There is very little sense of momentum in transitioning greater responsibilities to the MOI. The ministry’s physical presence—its multiple floors reportedly controlled by different factions, its location near Sadr City, and...

  8. (pp. 93-108)

    The Iraqi Police Service (IPS), Iraq’s local and provincial police force, is fragile throughout Iraq.153 On the one hand, training for the Iraqi Police Service is improving, and in some areas the police are patrolling neighborhoods more regularly, manning security checkpoints, and working with the Iraqi Army and Coalition forces to combat insurgent groups. On the other hand, the Iraqi Police Service faces many challenges. The Ministry of Interior (MOI), which supports the Iraqi Police Service, is highly dysfunctional. Infiltration of the Iraqi Police Service by militia members, insurgents, and criminals is widespread in some parts of Iraq. The police...

  9. (pp. 109-115)

    Despite efforts to reform the Iraqi National Police, the organization remains a highly sectarian element of the Iraqi Security Forces and one that for the most part is unable to contribute to security and stability in Iraq. The Iraqi National Police is almost exclusively Shi‘a. Trained for counterinsurgency operations, the force is constituted largely of former soldiers. The National Police suffers from significant quality problems and a lack of clarity about whether it should be a paramilitary or a police organization.

    In addition to the Iraqi Police Service, Iraq also has just over 25,000 National Police, organized into two divisions....

  10. (pp. 116-124)

    The Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement and the Ports of Entry Directorate are showing uneven but improved capabilities in some locations in Iraq. Although both entities have some effective top-level leadership and have improved Iraqi border security since 2003, considerable challenges remain. For example, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), which oversees the Department of Border Enforcement (DBE), does not have authority over the nation’s sea and air ports of entry. In addition, border forts, border fort annexes, and land ports of entry have only modest levels of the basic equipment they need for their personnel and daily operations, and they...

  11. (pp. 125-130)

    Having responded to our Congressional tasking, the Commission would like to offer some additional thoughts relative to the findings and conclusions of our work. Though we were not asked specifically to comment on such related subjects as Iraqi governance, or the general trends associated with our ongoing national efforts, the three weeks the Commission spent on the ground in Iraq, coupled with the extraordinary access it was provided, enabled Commissioners to arrive at informed opinions with regard to the overall trends on Iraq. This final chapter offers a compendium of our thinking on the subject and provides some answers to...