Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle: 2009-12
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 December 2009 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. Reader feedback and tips are encouraged.
November 2009 Updates
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during November 2009. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 November 2009. The September 2009 Quarterly Report to Congress [PDF] was released on 13 November and key items concerning the ISF were addressed in a separate post on 17 November 2009. It will not be addressed in this update.
Highlights in this update include: Indications that Iraq is about to receive its first M1126 Stryker armored personnel carriers and is starting to redistribute the Russian APCs that the Strykers are to replace. M1A1 tank training, mortar training, and engineering route-clearance training continue, while the first female Iraqi Army boot camp class has graduated. The Patrol Ship Nasir arrived in Iraq and two Offshore Support Vessels have been ordered. A new training squadron has been identified, the first Iraqi Air Force Hellfire shoot was conducted, and potential new aircraft deliveries for the Air Force and Ministry of Interior were identified.
The Iraqi Army Electrical Mechanical Engineering School graduated 28 Iraqi army students from the BTR-80 maintenance course and 27 Iraqi army students from the BMP-1 maintenance course on 23 November. The soldiers came from 6 different Iraqi army divisions as well as Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF):
“At the conclusion of the course, Iraqi army Col. Hassan, the EME School commander, presented the soldiers with graduation certificates. Hassan recognized Adel Abdul-Shaheed, assigned to the medium maintenance workshop for special operations forces, as the honor graduate for the BTR-80 course. Col. Hassan also recognized Ehab Muhammed Abd, of the 1st Battalion, 33rd Brigade, 8th IA Division, as the honor graduate for the BMP-1 maintenance course.”
While this may seem to be small numbers graduating, the practice of “train-the-trainer” is still normal. These graduates will return to their battalions and train their fellow maintainers. Only 3 Iraqi Army divisions have BMP-1 and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers. 9th Armored Division has all of the BTR-80s and most of the BMP-1s. The 7th Motorized Division has 2 battalions of BMP-1s and 11th Motorized Division in east Baghdad has 1 battalion of BMP-1s.
While that could mean that the Iraqi Army is receiving more BMP-1s and BTR-80s, the Iraqi Minister of Defense told Iraqi press in August that the 9th Armor Division was upgrading to US armor, and that the Russian armor would be transferred to other units.
The 9th Armored Division has had battalion and sometimes brigade sized armor units augmenting the 5th Motorized Division and the 14th Motorized Division. The graduation of an 8th Commando Division member indicates the 1-33/8 Battalion (recently moved from Karbala to Wassit) is to become part of the future mechanized division to be split off from 8th Commando Division – the future 19th Mechanized Division. It also indicates that elements of the 33/8 Brigade are being transferred to Wassit, possibly confirming the future transfer of Karbala and Babil Provinces to the 17th Commando Division to correct the Mid-Euphrates Gap.
The M1A1 training program is on track for providing the 2nd battalion’s worth of tanks for 9th Armored Division by January. “Forty-four tank crewmen from the 9th Division graduated from the fifth class [company] in the M1A1 Iraqi tank familiarization course at the Besmaya Training Center Nov. 18.” There were Iraqi Army Abrams in the last Army Day parade in Baghdad, but they are concentrated on training duties at Besmaya at this point.
The M1A1s delivered to date are not enough to field the 5-36/9 Armored Bn and train the 2nd and subsequent battalions. That will change as the deliveries pick up , and the question is when is the next set of 35 arriving for the second battalion. Four battalions worth of M1A1s are contracted for delivery by September 2010, so I would say soon.
I have re-appraised the projection of BMP1s partnered with M1A1s. Apparently they are not so compatible. Which means the M1A1 Armor Battalions are getting a company of Strykers.
The expanded BMP-1 and BTR-80 maintenance training combined with the ongoing M1A1 upgrades means that the 9th Armored Division is starting to transfer its current tracked armor to the 14th Motorized Division in Basrah, 5th Motorized Division in Diyala, 11th Motorized Division in east Baghdad, 7th Motorized Division (Quick Reaction Forces) in western Anbar, and the future 19th Mechanized Division in Wassit. Each of the divisions will probably convert at least 1 full brigade to mechanized or armored.
Notice that 3 of the 5 divisions are stationed in provinces bordering Iran, and 1 borders Syria. It also means the first deliveries of M1126 Strykers are arriving soon to replace the BTR-80s and the BMP-1s in 9th Armored Division. The first of the strykers will go to the 37/9 Lt Mech Bde and the already built M1A1 Bns(-). What worries me is any delay in the budget funding the option purchases that follow the initial 140 M1A1s & 271 M1126s. The options need to be funded for the additional 140 M1A1s & 129 M1126s for the upgrade program to stay on schedule. Given this is the election season, I suspect there will be delays in funding.
ISOF does not have armored personnel carriers, but the 8 new Special Forces Strike Team battalions that are forming were originally planned to be equipped with Ukrainian BTR-3E1 – a more heavily armed BTR-80 variant. The wheeled BTR-80s mentioned above are being transferred to ISOF, providing the initial armor for the 8 new forming Special Forces Strike Team battalions. Reports have just surfaced, however, that an order for Ukrainian BTR-4s is imminent. When the more heavily armed BTR-4s arrive, the BTR-80s will probably revert to command and support vehicles in these units.
Mortar training continues with the last 2 operational Iraqi Army divisions starting their training. “The 2nd and 3rd Iraqi army divisions are professionalizing their forces with 81mm mortar training at the Kirkuk Training Center this month. The divisions have been training since Nov. 1.” Following normal patterns of building from the bottom-up, the next training of these two divisions will be on 120mm mortars.
There are 7 sites training Iraqi Army units on mortars. At one of those sites, “More than 150 Iraqi army soldiers conducted their end-of-course live-fire exercise Nov. 22 at the An Numaniyah Multi-Purpose Range Complex, culminating the 21-day course here.” Only the firing crew requires this training. That equates to approximately 30 mortar teams or 5 batteries training at this one training site. Mortar training on 81mm mortars for the 6-tube battalion mortar batteries and 120mm mortars for the 9-tube brigade mortar batteries has been ongoing since the spring of 2009. At this rate, the initial issue of mortars should be complete in the spring of 2010.
Other significant events in the Iraqi Army during November include:
- In response to a central government decision that there be only one military college, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense decided to close 3 of the 4 Officer Academies by Jan 15/10, including military colleges in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Zakho and Qalachwalan districts. All Iraqi military colleges will be consolidated in Baghdad under the name Rostamiya, but the move has sparked some political controversy.
- Elements of 3-41/10 Battalion are receiving route-clearance training. This type of training has been ongoing in Iraqi Army units for almost two years.
- The first women graduated boot camp at a new training facility: “Forty-Two Iraqi women became the first all-female graduating class from the Iraqi army’s enlisted basic combat training course…”
- The first Iraqi-led Inspector General Course graduated 17 personnel. This is the fifth IG class but, the first class to be trained by Iraqis.
- The 1-35/9 completed “Warrior Training” on 25 November. According to the title of the CJTF article, all of the line battalions in the 9th Armored Division have now gone through the Warrior Training battalion advanced refresher course.
- The 2nd patrol ship arrived at Umm Qasr. The Nasir (PS702) is the second of 4 ordered patrol ships to be delivered to the Iraqi Navy. The remaining 2 are scheduled to be delivered by the summer of 2010.
- A contract for 2 offshore support vessels is about to be awarded. These vessels are to be delivered by the fall of 2011. They are equipped to operate as command and support vessels supporting the Iraqi Navy’s patrol boats.
Iraqi Air Force
- The Iraqi Air Force is gaining a Mirage F1 equipped attack squadron. “Talabani’s visit resulted in the signing defense agreements to train the Iraqi army and updated on 18 aircraft (Mirage F-1) and helicopters, and provide 300 scholarships…” No delivery date or further details have been reported. These are Mirage aircraft sent to France for servicing in 1990.
- The first successful Iraqi Air Force Hellfire target shoot was performed in November by a Cessna 208 ISR. The third Cessna 208 capable of firing Hellfire was delivered in November. The 3 Cessna 208 ISR and 3 armed Cessna AC-208Bs are assigned to 3 Reconnaissance Squadron based at Kirkuk.
- A new Iraqi Air Force squadron has been identified. The 12 Cessna 172s and 5 Cessna 208s used by the Flight Training Wing for basic flight have been organized into the 1st Training Squadron.
- There is some question as to where the Iraqi Lasta-95 basic trainers were delivered. They are not confirmed in Iraq, but photos like this one indicate that they may be present. By contract, 3 were to be turned over from Serbia in July 2009, and 1 a month after that. I believe the IqAF instructor pilots have been training on them in Serbia.
- The push to keep the USAF in Iraq past 2011 is on. Not to mention the push to get the used F-16s in 2010 so they can be trained up by 2012.
Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Interior is possibly purchasing helicopters for a support squadron for the Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) and Emergency Response Force (ERF, MoI’s Special Forces). The US Foreign Materials Sale notice [PDF] is for 15 Light Utility/ Observation/ Medical helicopters (AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters, Bell Model 429, or EADS North America UH-72A Lakota Light Utility helicopters); and 12 utility helicopters (AgustaWestland AW139, Bell Model 412, or Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk). The 15 observation helicopters are probably for DBE support, and the 12 utility helicopters are probably for Emergency Response Force support.
Originally published by DJ Elliott at Montrose Toast on Dec 3/09, 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
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 $445.4M 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 (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