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Iraqi Security Force Update September 2013


 Divisional OOB as of 31 August 2013


This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during August 2013.  The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 August 2013.


Possible Foreign Material Sales to Iraq announced this month included: 

Iraq has requested a possible sale of 19 Mobile Troposcatter Radio Systems, 10 Mobile Microwave Radio Systems, spare and repair parts, support equipment, [etc].


Iraq has also requested a possible sale of

  • 40 AVENGER Fire Units,
  • 681 STINGER Reprogrammable Micro-Processor (RMP) Block I 92H Missiles,
  • 13 AN/MPQ-64F1 SENTINEL Radars,
  • 7 AN/YSQ-184D Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, and Intelligence (FAAD C2I) Systems,
  • 75 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS Radios,
  • 3 HAWK XXI Batteries (6 Fire Units) which include
  • 6 Battery Fire Direction Centers,
  • 6 High Powered Illuminator Radars,
  • 216 MIM-23P HAWK Tactical Missiles,
  • 2 Mobile Battalion Operation Centers (BOC),
  • 3 HAWK XXI BOC Air Defense Consoles (ADCs),
  • 1DS/GS Shop 20,
  • 1 DS/GS Shop 21,
  • 1 Mini-Certified Round Assembly Facility (MCRAF),
  • Air Command and Control (C2) systems and surveillance radars for the Integrated Air Defense Systems that includes TPS-77 Long-Range Radars (LRR) and Omnyx-I0 Air Command and Control System, and
  • 10 Medium Range Radars. Also included:
  • Ground Air Transmit Receive Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency radio capability, facilities and construction for one (1) underground Air Defense Operations Center and two (2) Air Defense Sector Operations Centers, [etc]


A Russian report of a planned delivery of 800 Kornet-E ATGW in Sep 2013 and 12 Pantsir S1 in Dec 2013 also appeared in August.  No details on what version of launcher system or vehicle platform for these ATGWs.


The 14 August Khaima magazine mentioned that

The Commander in Chief commanded the execution of the order for the volunteers special forces, and the latest ministerial decree on the forming of two divisions for special forces. An electronic site was opened for volunteers to register for both the special forces as well as the energy protection division. With regards to the 2 special forces divisions, a special request was sent out to soldiers, officers in the Iraqi army and from the old iraqi special forces to volunteer for the induction tests for the special force.” 

This was followed by an interview with the ISOF commander where he discussed expanding to 30-40,000 personnel [from 10,000].  A Regiment [battalion] added per province except Baghdad will have 4 and Mosul/Basrah each will have 2 regiments added for 20-22 additional Regiments. 

Further information indicated that 1st Commando Division will have its headquarters in Mosul, 2nd Commando Division in Baghdad, and 3rd Commando Division in Basrah.   A possible 4th Division was also mentioned but does not fit the number of battalions or personnel mentioned and may be confusion with the Energy Protection Division.


Some thoughts on how this ISOF expansion might be done: 

  • This increase in ISOF could not be done in less than a decade using just retreads from the old IA and new recruits.  ISOF’s existing training program only graduates 5 companies per year: 1 ICTF, 2 Cdo, and 2 Recon. 
  • The only high-end light infantry available to rapidly expand with is MoI’s SWAT Battalions.  If the better half of the Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Battalions [SWAT] is being converted to ISOF Commando Battalions and the remaining half of the SWATs become Reconnaissance or support – this could be done in 2-3 years.  This would provide the C4I and logistics that the SWATs lack and coordinate the 2 COIN forces as one corps. 
  • This absorption of the ERBs is inferred by the plan for at least a battalion per province – that is right out of MoI’s ERB/FP basing plan and not ISOF’s regional approach to garrisoning. 
  • While the addition of the 17,000+ ERB personnel to ISOF’s 10-12,000 existing personnel does not reach 30-40,000 total personnel – it does provide for the additional commandos and recon needed, the remainder would be support elements.
  • It will take 3-4 years to fill a third ICTF Battalion.  But, they can form three 75% strength ICTF Battalions out of the 2 existing ICTF Battalions and fill those out with personnel from the SWATs that pass their course over the next 3-4 years [Only ~3 percent make it into ICTF].
  • This also puts a new light on IMoD’s Indonesian shopping trip last fall.  Their interest in the Anoa APC did not fit with IMoD’s focus at the time – it is more the type of APC that SWAT or COIN units would use.  Planning for the new Commando Divisions would have been in progress a year ago even if the actual order to execute was this year.  This could mean that the Commando Battalions are to be wheeled APC mounted like the old IA’s Commandos were.


While the initial indications for the new Energy Protection Division was that it would be in Anbar, further comments might hint as to why it was announced with the new Commando Divisions. 

Major General Hamid Abdullah Ibrahim, chief of energy police directorate stated that they have plans to follow and investigate the smuggling with Iraqi oil by the formation of oil patrol teams in Kirkuk, Basra, Anbar and Baghdad. 

This could mean the new IA Energy Protection Division is to be an IA Quick Reaction Force supporting the Oil and Electricity Police with motorized brigades based in Kirkuk, Basra, Anbar and Baghdad.  This force might be formed from personnel that do not make the cut to join the ISOF Commando Divisions.


[Possible structures for the Commando Divisions and the Energy Protection Division in the OOB are based on IA standard Divisional Structure with Artillery and other ancillary units not used by ISOF or a Security Division omitted.  However, I did keep 1 Engineer Battalion per Division for route clearance support to the QRFs.  IMoD, ISOF, and the IA might disagree with my projected structure.  If they disagree – please make it public so I can update the OOB.]


Interesting to see the air defense purchases. Is it safe to say that this is the first real air defense power for them?

Alex (09/03/2013 10:03:11)


The EDA Hawks were first - keep in mind the word "proposed" in those notices. I don't count Pantsir - anti-CM system...

DJ Elliott (09/03/2013 01:20:11)


DJ, do you think the Avengers are to compliment the Hawk batteries for close in defense or are they going to be used with the Armored/Mech divisions as mobile air defense?

James (09/03/2013 10:20:23)


Complement. Notice the notice is about integrated air defense. Also the total number of Hawk and Avenger Batteries are the same when you factor in a training battery. /// Plus there are too few Avengers to be div AD...

DJ Elliott (09/04/2013 05:31:29)

DJ Elliott