Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle 2010: 02/03
DJ Elliott is a retired USN Intelligence Specialist (22 years active duty) who has been analyzing and writing on Iraqi Security Forces developments since 2006. His Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle is an open-source compilation that attempts to map and detail Iraqi units and equipment, as their military branches and internal security forces grow and mature. While “good enough for government use” is not usually uttered as a compliment, US Army TRADOC has maintained permission to use the ISF OOB for their unclassified handouts since 2008.
This compilation is reproduced here with full permission. It offers a set of updates highlighting recent changes in the ISF’s composition and development, followed by the full updated ISF OOBs in PDF form.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during January and February 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of Feb 28/10.
Key items concerning the Iraqi Security Force from the last quarterly report to Congress (“Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq: December 2009“), the apparent divisional Iraqi Army Reorganization, and overall Iraqi Air Force Development, are covered in the separate articles linked herein.
Highlights in this update include:
- Peshmerga partnering, structure, and reorganization.
- Iraqi Officer Academy restructuring.
- Only 7,000 more officers for the Iraqi Army, not 20,400.
- Iraqi Army tanks, Engineers, EOD, and artillery; plus airborne training planned.
- Iraqi Air Force aircraft and EC635 helicopter deliveries, helicopter order.
- Iraqi Navy receives last 2 Patrol Ships, prepares for next 15.
- Department of Border Enforcement and Emergency Police expansion.
- Ministry of Interior Emergency Response Force expands to 2, possibly 3 brigades.
- Federal Police continues Carabinarie training.
- Anbar Provincial Security Police adds a 5th Brigade.
- Oil Police may be building to a 4 division structure.
Obtaining accurate open source information about the Peshmerga’s strength is difficult. The Peshmerga has the best OPSEC in Iraq. Press estimates and claims vary widely. However, several details have come out and US Division-North (USD-N) confirmed that approximately 200,000 Peshmerga is the best estimate when you include those personnel that the Kurdish Regional Government plans to pension. Request for information response by Major Jeff Allen, Task Force Marne Public Affairs Officer, USD-N:
“Sorry this is taking so long. Finding reliable sources for unclassified data has been a bit difficult. From what we’ve been able to research, the PUK has a force of about 100,000 peshmerga and the KDP have another force of about 100,000 peshmerga. These numbers are consistent with what has been reported by reputable sources such as UPI, STRATFOR, and LongWarJournal. However, other sources have indicated other numbers which vary greatly between 90,000 and 370,000. Regardless, we believe the actual number of Peshmerga forces to be approximately 200,000 total.”
Almost 30,000 of those Peshmerga troops are in the 2 mountain divisions transferring to the Iraqi Army. The 15th and 16th Mountain Divisions were originally planned to be commissioned in August 2008 but, political disputes over funding has postponed their official commissioning. These 2 divisions are probably the Kurdish forces partnering with Iraqi and US forces in the disputed regions of northern Iraq.
Kurdish forces are also reorganizing. According to Mahmoud al-Sangawi, Secretary General of the Peshmerga forces and member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK):
“Division number 16, which protects the area extending from Khaneqin to Ridar, and division number 15, which protects everything between Ridar, Badinan and Mosul, are under the command of the Iraqi army and receive their military instructions from Baghdad. The rest of the border guard will be under the command of the regional presidency and the Kurdistan parliament. If the central government wants to use these troops for any purpose, it must obtain approval from both the parliament and the regional president.”
“Each division comprises 14,750 fighters. The two divisions therefore make up 29,500 fighters.” [15th and 16th Divisions]
“The region’s forces will not consist of divisions but of 21 brigades. I don’t have the figures and these are military secrets that shouldn’t be revealed.”
There are 30,000 Kurdish “Zerevani” paramilitary police that are reported to have transferred to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. The 2nd class of 40 Zerevani have taken Carbinieri training with the Iraqi Federal Police – see Ministry of the Interior section for more. These personnel return to train their battalions after completion of their training. This indicates the Zerevani police are to be part of the Federal Police, providing 2 divisions to that force.
The Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement’s Region I is also a Peshmerga manned division-equivalent. The total Peshmerga force equates to approximately 10 division equivalents:
- Iraqi Army: 2 mountain divisions [29,500].
- DBE Region I: 1 division equivalent [10,000-12,000].
- Federal Police: 2 “Zerevani” divisions [30,000].
- Kurdish Regional Border Guards: 21 brigades [50,000-70,000 including support].
- Planned to be pensioned: Up to 90,000 reported.
The Iraqi Army Day parade included enough towed howitzers and BM21M Grad multiple rocket launchers to indicate that the 9th Armored Division has received its full divisional artillery component. Each brigade in the Iraqi Army is planned to have a battalion of 18 120mm mortars and 6 howitzers while the division has a regiment of two battalions, each equipped with 4 batteries of howitzers and multiple rocket launchers.
The initial fielding schedule of 120mm mortars to the Iraqi Army’s brigade field artillery battalions has been confirmed. Initial issue is 9 120mm mortars per brigade, followed by an additional 9 120mm mortars and 6 howitzers per brigade.
“When the scheduled fielding and training are completed later this year, all IA brigades will have an organic mortar capability, serving as a combat multiplier for Iraqi infantry units.”
The Iraqi Army 3rd Division’s Field Engineer Regiment (FER) completed the Unit Set Fielding program at Besmaya on 26 December 2009. 3rd FER had already existed but, was apparently never fully equipped. This corrects that deficiency
Besmaya Bomb Disposal School is increasing training capacity to 1,700 personnel per year or 300 per training cycle. This capacity was only 450 per year. This is part of the Iraqi Army’s effort to take over route-clearance and explosive ordinance disposal.
The closure of 3 of the 4 Iraqi Army Officer Academies occurred in January 2010. “The Graduation of 176 2nd Lieutenants marked the last time this course will be offered at Camp Ur.” Iraqi Army officer training is consolidating to the Military Academy at Ar Rustimayah, while Navy and Air Force training is shifting to their own separate academies.
The first operational mention of 5-36/9 Armored Battalion was patrolling with elements of the US 2-1 Cavalry Battalion/4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The 5-36/9 Armored Battalion has been training on M1A1 Abrams Tanks and its mechanized component is planned to be equipped with M1126 Stryker armored personnel carriers. This is the first Iraqi Army battalion equipped with US armor.
February press headlines, reporting, and announcements that “Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki gave his consent to reinstate 20,400 officers” were somewhat misleading. Follow up reporting clarified that the 20,000 reinstated officers includes 13,000 that are already in service. Only 7,000 remaining officers are in the latest reinstatement order. That should be enough to correct the remaining shortage of officers in the existing Iraqi Army.
The 3rd class of female Iraqi Army cadets started basic training on 27 January 2010. This program began in the fall of 2009 and is starting small. American forces have found that female soldiers are very useful for searching other women, without creating an offense of honor.
Incorrect reporting stating that the commanding officer of 4th Bde of 6th Div [PDF] was in Tikrit for the new Location Command facilities ribbon-cutting identified the probable future move of the 17th Division to Salahadin. This is part of a planned general rotation of Iraqi divisions. As part of that rotation, the 22nd Brigade of the 6th Division from northeast Baghdad is reported in Ninawa receiving training on airmobile tactics, preparatory to relieving a brigade of 2nd Division. These are the first movements of what is planned to be a 10 division rotation.
The 1/82 “Advisory and Assistance‚” Brigade is preparing to provide airborne training to the Iraqi Army. This will be the first airborne training of Iraqi Army elements since the army was reformed. Which Iraqi units will be trained is not being said at this time but, the best candidates are elements of the 2nd Division. Col. Mark R. Stammer, commander of 1/82 AAB, is quoted as saying that:
“We’re training today to refresh ourselves on airborne safety procedures so that after the elections, we can train with our Iraqi army partners and conduct a combined airborne training operation with them here.”
The Iraqi Army 3-32/8 Battalion in Kut is receiving Unmanned Aerial Vehicle training on the RQ-11 Raven mini-UAV. While there have not been reports of Iraqi purchases of UAVs, there has been previous reports of the Department of Border Enforcement receiving training in their use.
The 56th Brigade continues to be augmented with 9th Armored Division T-72 tanks. The 56th Brigade is responsible for guarding the International Zone, and has been reported as receiving training in the use of M113 armored personnel carriers. While they are expected to receive their own tanks in time, the T-72s currently augmenting the 56th bear the markings of the 34/9 Armored Brigade.
Note: The 1st Presidential Brigade, 2nd Presidential Brigade, and 56th Brigade, plus the 15 independent security battalions have been moved to page 1 of the OOB, under National Operational Command. These 2 division-equivalents of forces are under the direct operational command of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, despite their administrative subordination with the army.
Iraqi Air Force
The first 2 EC635 helicopters have been shipped to the Iraqi Air Force from France. According to Marco Dijkshoorn (Dutch Aviation Society/Scramble Magazine), Iraqi Registry number YI-293, an EC635T2+, was first test flown on Nov 9/09, and was shipped through Schiphol on Jan 1/10 for Iraq. Iraqi Registry number YI-270, an EC635T2+, had its first test flight on Dec 7/09. This indicates a delivery rate of 1 EC 635 per month. Receipt in Iraq has not been announced yet. 24 EC 635s have been ordered, with an option for 26 more.
The largest and the last Iraqi Air Force officer class graduated from Rustamiyah in January 2010. The Iraqis are re-opening the Air Force Academy in Tikrit in mid-2010. The new Air Force Academy will host future Iraqi Air Force officer training. The Iraqi Army is closing 3 of the 4 Army Academies but, the Iraqi Navy and the Iraqi Air Force are opening separate Academies.
Al Taqaddum Air Base transferred to the Iraqi Air Force in January. This base is planned to support Iraqi Security Forces in eastern Anbar.
The Iraqi Air Force is reportedly about to take delivery of used former French Army SA342 Gazelle light attack helicopters, which will complement their existing order for the Gazelle’s EC635 successors. Their technical personnel are in training at Bourges, and the Gazelles are prepared for delivery at Valance, France.
The Iraqi Air Force took delivery of 4 more T-6A trainers, bringing its total to 8. The remaining 7 of 15 T-6As are to be delivered by the end of 2010.
The Iraqis chose to take a refund for Mirage F1s that were ordered by Saddam and held during the sanctions. The money is expected to be used to buy more modern fighters.
Shomokh on the water. The last 2 of 4 Italian Fatah Class patrol ships arrived at Umm Qasr from Italy, under a EUR 80 million contract with Fincantieri. Patrol Ships 703 (Majed) and 704 (Shomokh) were formally delivered in Italy in December 2009. February 2010 saw them arrive and be christened at Umm Qasr, in a ceremony complete with a demonstration by Iraqi divers and the ritual slaughter of goats for good luck. These 53.4 m long “Saettia MK4” vessels are variants of ships built by Fincantieri for the Italian Coast Guard, and Armed Forces of Malta. These vessels can reach a speed of 23 knots and accommodate a crew of 38. The Fatah Class are currently the Iraqi Navy’s largest surface combatants.
Iraqi Special Operations Forces
The Karkh Area Command Strike Team [battalion] is receiving further airmobile training. This unit has not been reported operational yet and is not fully built. It is the 1st of 8 planned mechanized commando battalions supporting the operational commands.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior Forces
The Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) continues to establish additional “commando” battalions. In the October 2009, there were only 8 reported “commando” battalions in the DBE, now there are 11. Most of the DBE battalions are based in static forts. These “commando” battalions are the mobile motorized Quick Reaction Forces in the DBE.
The 5th DBE consists of border patrol, border police, customs, and two quick-reaction force battalions. This is the first report of 2 “commando” battalions existing in DBE Region V. It was not mentioned if this was a motorized upgrade of existing battalions or new formed battalions. DBE Region V [Najaf/Muthanna] is 1 of the 2 smallest regions at only 2 brigades and is expected to expand in force size.
The 2 -8/III DBE Battalion is now being reported as “commando”. This makes 3 of the 4 known battalions in 8th DBE Brigade as mobile force battalions. 4 of the identified “commando” battalions in the entire DBE are in Region III’s 2 brigades. Yet DBE Region III is the second weakest region. It is probable that DBE Region III [Diyala/Wasit] is building elements of a new brigade.
Note: Region II and Region IV have 4 brigades each. Region I [KRG] has only 3 brigades but, already has enough battalions to reorganize into 4 brigades.
The Emergency Police in Diyala has 10 emergency battalions. This is 2 more battalions than previously identified in reporting. Combined with the forming Federal Police brigade, this is the equivalent to a Ministry of Interior paramilitary division in Diyala province. Eventually, all Emergency Police are to retrain and transfer to the Federal Police and MoI’s Emergency Response Force [Special Forces/SWAT].
The first report of the 2nd battalion of the1st Emergency Response Brigade occurred in February 2010. This is a re-designation of the former 3rd Emergency Response Battalion, previously known as Hillah SWAT. This is also the first mention of a numeric designation for the Emergency Response Brigade, indicating that the force has expanded from 7 battalions and split into 2, or probably 3, brigades. The Emergency Response Force is absorbing and retraining the better half of the provincial SWAT battalions, and is expected to grow to 9 brigades [27 battalions] by 2015.
The Iraqi Federal Police graduated its 12th Carabinieri course [photo] in February. 16 Federal Police battalions and 2 Kurdish Zerevani training elements have graduated from this advanced training:
1st Federal Police Division
- 1st (Seyafiyah) IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad Oct09
- 1-1/1 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 28Aug08
- 1-2/1 (Wolf) IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 19Feb08
- 2-2/1 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 21Apr08
- 3-2/1 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 21Jun08
2nd Federal Police Division
- 1st (Unity) IFP Motorized Battalion phase III grad Dec09
- 1-5/2 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 25Feb10
- 1-6/2 IFP Motorized Battalion phase III grad 12Feb09
- 3-6/2 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 30Apr09
3rd Federal Police Division
- 2-1/3 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 30Apr09
- 4-1/3 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 9Jul09
- 1-2/3 IFP Battalion Grad Phase III 2Dec08.
- 2-3/3 IFP Battalion Phase III Grad Oct09; xfer to Anbar Div?
- 3-3/3 IFP Battalion Phase III Grad Dec09; xfer to Anbar Div?
4th Federal Police Division
- 2-1/4 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 9Jul09
- 1-4/4 IFP Motorized Battalion Phase III grad 25Feb10
The source of the Kurdish trainees has been identified as the “Zerevani ERU Bde” but, specific unit identities have not been provided.
The first report of a PSF-5 in Anbar Provincial Security Force indicates the organization and/or expansion to 5 paramilitary police brigades in Anbar. This also indicates that Anbar is to eventually have 2 Federal Police Divisions when the Anbar PSF is retrained and absorbed.
Training and organization of K9 personnel and orders for dogs has increased in priority. This training has been ongoing for a year now but, only recently increased in priority, due to ineffective electronic sensors, and resistance to the use of dogs in the Iraqi Security Forces. Dogs are considered to be ritually unclean animals according to the tenets of most Islamic religious schools, but they are allowed to be kept if used for work. This has given them an ambiguous cultural position.
The Ministry of Oil formed a 4th Oil Company. Combined with the reported 47 battalion structure [most are still company strength], this could mean a reorganization of the Oil Police into 4, vice the originally 3, planned security divisions.
Originally published by DJ Elliott at Montrose Toast on March 3/10, and reproduced here with permission. Comments and corrections to these materials are encouraged, please leave them here.
Additional Readings: Full ISF OOB
These documents contain tables with the full OOB as we know it.
- Page 1: Iraqi National Operational Command (NOC)/Joint Forces Command (JFC) [PDF]
- Page 2: Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Forces (QRF) [PDF]
- Page 3: Iraqi Army Northern Forces [PDF]
- Page 4: Iraqi Army Central Forces [PDF]
- Page 5: Iraqi Army Southern Forces [PDF]
- Page 6: Iraqi Air Force (IZAF) [PDF]
- Page 7: Iraqi Navy (IZN) and Marine Corps (IZM) [PDF]
- Page 8: Counter-Terrorism Bureau and Commands [PDF]
- Page 9: Joint Operational Commands [PDF]
- Pages 10-14: Ministry of Interior (MOI)
- MOI Core Units and Emergency Response Force [PDF]
- Iraqi National Police and Provincial [PDF]
- Department of Border Enforcement et. al. [PDF]
- MoI Emergency Police [PDF]
- Oil Police Directorate [PDF]
- Appendix A: Definitions & Acronyms
- Appendix B: ISF Standard Tables of Organization
- Appendix C: ISF Equipment
- Appendix D: Related Articles & Monthly Updates
- Appendix E: 2007 Notes
- Appendix F: 2008 Notes
- Appendix G: 2009 Notes
- Appendix H: 2010 Notes
Additional Readings: DID Articles
Note that the ISF OOB often tracks developments that DID’s articles cannot, until official confirmation exists. On the other hand, DID articles can offer a drill-down into key contracts and their associated developments and background, via an easily-accessible organizing principle. As such, it’s best to treat these sources as separate but complementary. DID thanks DJ Elliott for his frequent assistance, which is credited in many of these articles.
- DID – Iraq Seeks F-16 Fighters
- DID – T/A-50 Golden Eagles for Iraq?
- DID – Iraq Orders C-130Js
- DID – The Penny Drops: Iraq Chooses its COIN Aircraft. And trainers.
- DID – Standing Up the IqAF: King Air 350s. Iraq’s top reconnaissance asset, now adopted by the USA. Iraq’s are reportedly slated to be armed.
- DID – Bird Dogs for the Iraqi Air Force. some of them have teeth, now.
- DID – Medium Mainstay: Mi-17s for Iraq
- DID- Iraq Seeks Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters
- DID – Iraq Orders Eurocopter’s EC635s
- DID – Iraq Looking for More Light/Med. Utility Helicopters
- DID – M1 Abrams Tanks for Iraq
- DID – Iraq: Looking for LAVs in All the Right Places. It appears that the Strykers were ordered, and the LAV-25s were not.
- DID – BAE Delivering a Cougar Variant for Iraq’s ILAV Contract. Iraq’s ILAV/ Badger MRAP. Supplemented by locally-produced Reva vehicles, which are another design.
- DID – Bittersweet Symphony: Lockheed & A-V Deliver Anti-IED Devices. Some of these orders have been Iraqi.
- DID – December 2008: Small Arms for Iraq
- DID – Command Tents and C3 for Iraq
- DID – Iraq Asks for USACE Help With Military Infrastructure
- DID – Iraq to Purchase $1.05B in Medical Items
- DID – Swiftships to Build Up Iraqi Navy’s Coastal Patrol Capabilities
- DID (Dec 9/09) – Ukraine, Iraq in $2.5 Bn Weapons Deal
- DID (Nov 29/09) – AECOM Gets 6-Month Extension to Iraqi Security Forces Maintenance Contract
- DID (June 11/09) – Non-Standard Ammo Orders for Iraq
- DID (Sept 25/08) – Standing Up Iraq’s MoD: A British Snapshot
- DID (Feb 14/08) – VSE, Westar to Help Train Iraqi Pilots
- DID (Oct 7/07) – $2.257B for Iraqi Army Guns, Vehicles & Logistics. Includes their DSCA request for BTR-3E1s.
- DID (Aug 27/07) – Iraq Requests Another 16 Huey-II Helicopters
- DID (Nov 21/05) – Iraq Receives T-72s & BMPs – With Another Armored Brigade Planned