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Bloggers Roundtable from a Forgotten Front: Equipment and Training

I participated in a Bloggers Roundtable with the Director of Strategic Effects and United States Forces – Iraq Spokesman Major General Jeffrey Buchanan.  I was tail-end Charlie and was surprised that no one asked about the US Excess Defense Articles [EDA] equipment delivery or the external defense training programs for the Iraqi Army [IA] before I did.  I was hoping someone else would ask so I could move down my list of questions.  It was obvious the General was primed for these 2 topics.


One interesting item was that a joint "Intelligence and Operations Center" is being established to coordinate all the various Iraqi Security Force [ISF] intelligence collection and dissemination.  Especially dissemination – this is a weak point in the ISF.  The various intelligence commands do not talk to each other.  This is a common problem in many countries.


US Excess Defense Articles [EDA]


The program to provide the IA with used US armor, howitzers, etc. was reported last summer.  This is what they are getting:
Major items:
1026 - M113s Family of Vehicles
120 - M198 towed howitzers
21 - M88A1 armored recovery vehicles    
Additional items:
Equipment for a strategic bridge company
60 - M1070s heavy equipment transporters
24 - M109A5 self propelled howitzers
30 - Fuel tankers    

Follow on reporting broke-down the types of M113 variants but, not the numbers being provided:

  • M113A2--Armored Personnel Carriers,
  • M113A2--Ambulance,
  • M548A1--Cargo Carrier,
  • M1064--Mortar Carrier,
  • M577A2--Command Post Carrier, and
  • M577A2--Emergency Medical Treatment Vehicle


According to Major General Jeffrey Buchanan:

  • The 1,026 M113s are not fielded yet.  They are fielding this year. 
  • 23 of 24 M109s are fielded.  They are going to the Tank Regiments.  MOST of them are going to the 9th Division.  [I take this to mean 3 Armored Brigades in 9th Armored Division and 1 Armored Brigade in another mechanized division.  Each getting a battery of 6 M109s each. RUMINT is that the 7th Division is mechanizing.  This also indicates that the M1064 120mm Mortar Carriers will number 72 and will be distributed among the Armor Brigades.  Each Armor Brigade with 3 batteries of 6 M1064s.]
  • 8 of the 120 M198s are delivered.  [These will probably go to the Infantry Divisions receiving external defense training.]


External Training [Comprehensive Training or All Inclusive Training - Tadreeb al Shamil]


According to Major General Jeffrey Buchanan, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense [IMoD] requested this training in late 2010 with an eye towards future threats.  They have good counter-insurgency force but, needs training on conventional external defense.  This training is on what the US Army would call "Block and Tackle" aspects of offensive and defensive conventional operations.


Tadreeb al Shamil is Battalion-level training lasting 1 month per battalion with 4 battalions training at a time.  Sustainment issues are also addressed in this training.  The training is nearing completion of the 3rd iteration of this training [12 battalions complete].  This training program will be IA run by the end of this summer.  The 4 divisions that IMoD requested this training for are:

  • Ninawa’s 3rd Division [1-11/3, 2-11/3, and 3-11/3 Battalions complete or completing.]
  • Diyala’s 5th Division [2-21/5, 3-21/5, and 4-21/5 Battalions complete or completing.]
  • Anbar’s 7th Division [1-28/7, 2-28/7, and 3-28/7 Battalions complete or completing.  7th Division is rumored to be mechanizing.]
  • Dhi Qar’s 10th Division [1-40/10, 2-40/10, and 3-40/10 Battalions complete or completing.]


Part of the plan is building a culture of training and honest evaluation of capabilities like the US Army has.  In that regard, they have already had some success.  The 9th and 8th Divisions saw this training and wanted it.   However, the 9th Division is in the process of equipping, training, and fielding of M1A1 tanks and M109 self-propelled howitzers which causes too much interference.  The 9th Division is observing the training for implementation later.  The 8th Division worked with the US 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment to get their own version of this training - above and beyond IMoD's request.


Major General Jeffrey Buchanan also said that there is a gap in capabilities in integrating combined arms that needs further work and that there will be an enduring relation even after USF-I leaves.  The possible frameworks for further training include Joint Training Exercises/Operations in Iraq and Iraqi training in US schools under the Strategic Partnership Agreement.


As things stand, all US Forces in Iraq not under the American Embassy will be gone by 2012 - unless the Iraqi Government asks for them to stay.  This does preclude US military personnel requested by Iraq returning to provide training/assistance and units returning for training exercises.  The US performs these operations and training support in friendly countries throughout the world.        



HI DJ new Btr 4 update

jack Winters (03/25/2011 04:16:30)


April now. Original contract was September 2010.

DJ Elliott (03/25/2011 10:57:37)


Hi DJ iraq requested the firefinder system

Jack Winters (03/31/2011 10:28:20)


Hi DJ Iraq is going to get the all the M1 and M113s soon

jack winters (03/31/2011 10:44:03)


Jack: Saw the Firefinders - that explains the training 6th IA Div was getting last year./// The first M1A1s are scheduled to deliver by Sept - this is not new. My article says the 1,026 M113s deliver this year - they just haven't started arriving yet. All Anniston Star does is identify BAE as the refurbisher for 586 of them. That is not new...

DJ Elliott (03/31/2011 12:27:48) /// Like I said, Anniston is old news - this is the link to the Dec article...

DJ Elliott (03/31/2011 12:37:17)

DJ Elliott