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More Iraqi Units Involved in Country's Defense

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2005 – More than 110 Iraqi battalions are involved in the fight against terrorists, officials in Baghdad said this week.

The contributions of the units vary, but all are participating in operations.

The Iraqi ministries of Defense and Interior have developed readiness assessment criteria for units. Much like the readiness assessments for the U.S. Army, the criteria measure capabilities in six different areas: personnel, command and control, training and mission-essential tasks, sustainment, equipment, and leadership.

Different readiness levels indicate different capabilities. Level 1 is the highest rating, where units are fully independent in all aspects. This includes being able to plan and conduct operations without coalition support. It also means the units sustain themselves through their own systems, handle all maintenance and have every piece of equipment needed to perform any mission.

Level 2 means units that are "in the lead" in the counterinsurgency effort. The units plan and execute their own operations, but they do require coalition support. This support is typically logistics, close-air support, indirect fire, medical evacuation and so on.

Level 3 indicates units fighting alongside coalition units. An Iraqi company will be embedded with a coalition battalion. The company gets support from the coalition and operates with the battalion.

Level 4 indicates units just forming.

There are very few Iraqi units in Level 1 status. Most units have been in existence only four to six months. The ministries of Defense and Interior will need more time to develop supply systems, maintenance depots, finance systems, personnel assignment procedures and so on.

Officials speaking on background said there are many Iraqi units capable of "fully independent operations, but not yet fully independent." They said nearly three dozen Iraqi army or police units are assessed as in the lead or independent - Levels 1 and 2. The bulk of the units are in Level 3 - fighting alongside coalition units.

Units are working in a variety of environments. There are 20 Iraqi special police and army battalions conducting operations in Ninewah province. A total of 13 battalions are operating in Anbar province.

And more are on the way. Coalition officials in Baghdad said that 15 more combat battalions will complete their training and deploy before the constitutional referendum Oct. 15.

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