Standing Up Iraq’s MoD: A British Snapshot
Recent requests for over $10 billion in military equipment are beginning to thrust Iraq into the industry spotlight for reasons having to do with its government’s own priorities, and not simply as a stage for other nations’ military efforts. Even so, many of the country’s procurement efforts are still managed by outsiders with Iraqi participation, once Iraqis make their equipment decisions. It’s al part of diligent efforts to grow a cadre of new Iraqi Ministry of Defence officials, with the experience and training needed to run an accountable organization within a democratic state. The British Ministry of Defence offers a snapshot of efforts underway, and the challenges involved. Some excerpts:
“After 25 years under Saddam Hussein’s heavy hand, where showing personal initiative could be career-limiting, if not life-threatening, things that we take for granted, like exercising delegated authority, are not a natural function in Iraqi ministries:
“Even the smallest of decisions gets pushed up to the top of the organisation. Decisions generally require approval of the Secretary General – equivalent to our Permanent Under Secretary,” said Chris [Beeson, of the UK MoD].
There is money in the Iraqi Government’s coffers. Quite a lot of it in fact, and if security continues to improve, many major international companies are poised to come and do business. But knowing how to spend that money, and who they want to spend it with is a new experience for officials used to nearly three decades of international isolation.”