Over the past couple of weeks, billions of dollars of potential sales to Iraq have been announced: M1117 armored cars, LAV family wheeled armored personnel carriers, M1 Abrams tanks, armed reconnaissance helicopters, and more. All of which, to the last item, will be useless if the supporting infrastructure for them is insufficient or does not exist.
On July 30/08. the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Iraq’s formal request for a major build-out of facilities. Iraq will spend up to $1.6 billion on these efforts, which will be managed with the technical assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Iraq’s other recent acquisitions reflect the growing maturity of its army and air force, which can now support more advanced equipment and begin to take on more responsibility for the country’s security. Engineering talent and contract management are often the slowest skills to build, however, owing to the required combination of long training, and repeated experience with long-duration programs. Accordingly, the USACE will be in charge of the required engineering, planning, design, acquisition of materials and equipment, contract administration, construction management, personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance to Iraqi military engineers, and other related technical services for these projects.
The projects themselves include both rehabilitation of older facilities and the build-out of new ones:
* Technical assistance for Light Armored Vehicles
* Range Facilities
* Training Facilities
* Tank Range Complex Facilities
* Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Facilities
* Support of Government of Iraq (GoI) construction projects throughout the country of Iraq, including maintenance and supply buildings, company and regimental headquarters, and utilities systems (including heating, water, sewer, electricity, and communication lines).
The US Army Corps of Engineers is already very hevily involved in Iraq, both for military and civilian infrastructure. The DSCA adds that:
“This proposed sale would enable Iraq to support the recruitment, training, bed-down, and operational effectiveness of its military; to establish security and stability throughout Iraq; and to promote the stability and development of a friendly, democratic central government… USACE will provide services through both in-house personnel and contract services. Contracts will be procured in accordance with [US] Federal Government contracting law and regulations.
…The estimated number of U.S. Government and contractor representatives to be assigned to Iraq to implement the provisions of this proposed sale will be determined during program execution.”
* The Long War Journal (Aug 4/08) – Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle: August 2008 Update . Overall analysis of Iraq’s recent purchases, and their likely destinations.