Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle, March 2011
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 format.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during February 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of Feb 28/11. Highlights in this update include:
- Major update to Peshmerga coverage;
- IA: BTR4 delivery did not occur in February; LAV-25s not being bought; M113 APC contract for refurbishment awarded; External training continues in 4 IA Divisions; 28/7 Brigade converting to mechanized?; Logistics and Maintenance training emphasis; 34/9 Brigade training on M1A1s; 52/14 Brigade night live-fire amphibious exercise with tanks; 5/2 Brigade shifting AOR?; Wassit Operational Command established.
- IqAF/AAC: Ukraine claims 2 AN-32s ready for delivery; Budget delays fighter purchase; Recall and recruitment of medical and aviation support personnel.
- IqN/IqM: Iraqi Navy recruiting.
- MoI: 4th FP Division relocating/training in Baghdad?; FP training on VIP security – may be gaining IA protection personnel; FP Strike Teams’ train-the-trainer program established; DBE’s 9th Brigade moves to Iranian border; NTM-I Oil Police training.
For the last 3 months, writing an update on the Kurdish Peshmerga has been on the to-do list. However, the Peshmerga still has the best OPSEC in Iraq. Most of the update data has come from Iraqi MoD/MoI and USF-I reporting.
Recent reporting describes the Peshmerga as reducing from 200,000 to 70,000 with the other 130,000 either retiring or getting “government” jobs. Those “government” jobs would include the 30,000 Zerevani Paramilitary Police transferred to Iraqi Ministry of Interior [MoI], the 29,500 transferred to the Iraqi Army [IA], and 5,000 being formed into the KRG’s Oil Police.
The most significant Kurdish provided details came from the Secretary General of Peshmerga Forces over a year ago. He described a reorganization and unification of PUK/KDP Peshmerga into a 21 brigade force to be called the Kurdish Regional Border Guards [KRBG]. He also described the un-commissioned 15th and 16th Iraqi Army Divisions as separate from those 21 planned Peshmerga brigades and already under IA command.
Former Peshmerga forces that are under Government of Iraq control and are receiving Iraqi Security Force training include 4 Regional Guards Brigades [RGBs] and 30,000 Zerevani Paramilitary Police.
The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd RGBs are located in areas that were planned for the IA 16th Mountain Division and are formed by merging smaller PUK/KDP brigades that had been designated for this IA division. These RGBs are being trained in Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Balad, and Taji. The 4th RGB is unreported/un-located. These are the same Kurdish forces that are participating in joint US/IA/FP/IP/Peshmerga patrols in the disputed zones.
Reporting on the un-commissioned IA 15th Mountain Division elements has been absent. There have not been reports of them training in Irbil, Dohuk, or Ninawa. There are reports of 10,000 Peshmerga in the IA guarding the Iraqi Government. The 2 Presidential Brigades were formed around Peshmerga Special Operations Force cadre. Also, 3 IA brigades in and adjacent to the Iraqi Government’s International Zone are designated with numbers that should belong to the 15th Division under the IA numbering system [54/6, 55/17, and 56/6 Brigades]. All of these brigades are reported to have significant Kurdish representation.
The 30,000 Peshmerga “Zerevani” paramilitary police have been receiving Federal Police training since 2009. Part of this force is to be commissioned as the Iraqi 6th Federal Police Division in 2011 or 2012. Given those numbers of Zerevani, there is probably a second Federal Police division to be formed at a later date.
That leaves the 70,000 personnel that are to remain under actual Peshmerga command – the Kurdish Regional Border Guards [KRBG]. While the KRG has declined to provide a breakdown of these 21 unified/mixed KDP/PUK brigades, reporting from 2008 indicates the probable brigade mix.
In 2008, Peshmerga brigades averaged only 2,000 personnel each. They are being reorganized along IA lines by merging PUK’s and KDP’s smaller brigades into the larger size [3,000-3,500]. This merger indicates a probable brigade mix of:
- 1 Armor Brigade formed by merging the smaller PUK and KDP Mechanized Brigades built out of captured old-IA T-54/55 tanks and APCs.
- 0-1 Engineer Brigade formed by merging the engineer forces. If they form divisions, this could be split among the divisions.
- 4 Field Artillery Brigades equipped with a mix of D30 howitzers, Katyusha, and Grad Rocket Launchers plus 120mm mortars.
- 1-3 Special Operations Force Brigades. If they form divisions, this could be partially split among the divisions.
- 12-15 Mountain Infantry Brigades.
- 0-1 Aviation Brigade. While not official, there has been reporting of an Observation Helicopter Squadron, Training Squadron, and an Air Medical element that could be formed into a brigade or remain separate squadrons.
There is unconfirmed reporting suggesting the KRBG will be organized into 4 divisions. 8 total divisions including the 4 FP/IA divisions. However, UPI’s track-record on military reporting is shaky at best. They probably are counting division-equivalents vice actual divisions.
Details are not clear but, much can be inferred from the limited reporting and extrapolation from the 2008 reporting. Of the 200,000 existing Peshmerga, 60,000 are transferring to IA/FP, 5,000 are becoming Oil Police, and 65,000 are retiring. The remaining 70,000 are in being merged into 21 apolitical brigades under a unified Kurdish Regional Border Guards and are receiving US and GoI assistance in training. The KRBG will still be the second largest armed force in Iraq even with this reduction to 70,000 until the Iraqi Federal Police absorbs the remaining provincial emergency police and Zerevani. Then they will still be the third largest armed force in Iraq and will have significant representation in the larger IA and FP forces order of battle.
The BTR-4 armed personnel carrier deliveries planned for February 2011 have not been reported as occurring. Apparently the guns installed were faulty and the Ukrainians cannot meet the rescheduled delivery. “Ukrainska Pravda suggested that it would be physically impossible to replace the faulty and outdated equipment by the end of February as promised to the Iraqis.”
While there are rumors of the IA purchasing LAV-25s as a replacement, there is no active case for purchasing LAVs. According to SSG Kelli Lane, Press Desk Officer, Media Operations Center, US Embassy-Baghdad: “We queried our sources within the Iraq Train and Advisory Mission (ITAM) and they have stated that they are not aware of a LAV purchase being made.” This rumor may be the IA’s way of putting pressure on the Ukrainians to deliver.
BAE Systems, Inc. was awarded a no-fee contract for the refurbishment of 440 M113A2 armored personnel carriers to a fully mission capable plus condition for the government of Iraq. This work has an estimated completion date of April 30, 2012. This is the APC part of a total of 1,026 M113 variants to be delivered to Iraq. When US Army excess equipment is donated they are stripped of restricted items like radios and weapons – this Iraqi funded FMS contract is to replace those missing items.
Iraqi Army soldiers of 1st Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division, became the first alumni of the recently opened Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center
“The 5th, 7th and 10th IA Divisions are also conducting similar training during 2011, as Iraqi Ground Forces Command continues to modernize its army, added Hussain. According to Hussain, the Iraqi Army is planning to rotate 48 battalions through Ghuzlani and similar training centers spread across the country by the end of the year.”
The second set of 4 battalions trained during February on external security. “As succeeding iterations of IA battalions rotate through GWTC during Tadreeb al Shamil, the U.S. role will diminish, Gillam said, with Iraqi cadre assuming more of the training responsibility for the Iraqi units.” Like all training of Iraqi Security Forces, this is a train-the-trainer program. Effectively, the US Army is training 4 IA Divisions to act as training divisions for the rest of the IA. In addition to the battalions training, the division and brigades staffs are receiving parallel training in external defense.
Twice in February the 28/7 Brigade was called “mechanized” by PAO reporting of its external defense training. No mechanized or armor vehicles have been reported or seen in 28/7 Brigade. This could be confirmation of the rumor that the 7th Division is to mechanize.
Logistics and maintenance forces are also a current major focus for US training of ISF. The focus was on training internal security line forces from 2005 to 2008 and support forces are still lagging in development.
The 34/9 Mechanized Brigade is receiving training on M1A1 tanks at Taji. Elements of 35/9 and 36/9 Brigades have been previously identified as training for this upgrade. According to an IA platoon leader in this training, all his troops had prior experience on T-72s. This indicates that 2-34/9 Battalion is to be converted to an M1A1-equipped Tank Regiment. This is the 5th battalion identified receiving M1A1 training.
The 52/14 Brigade conducted a night live-fire exercise in February. This was an amphibious crossing exercise called Operation Shining Star on Tealeaf Island near Basrah. The exercise employed T55 tanks and mortars in support. The 14th Division is not currently in training for external defense and the division has not been reported as assigned tanks. The T-55s may be augment or a transfer from the upgrading 9th Division to the 3-52/14 Battalion.
For the first time in 2 years, elements of 5/2 IA Brigade have been reported operating outside of Mosul. This could indicate a shift in AOR, planned future training, and/or the Federal Police could be taking over more of the responsibility for Mosul. The shift of the IA out of the cities with police forces taking over is planned and appears to be starting in several cities.
Iraqi Press is reporting announcements from the “Wassit Operations Command“. The Maysan and Wassit Operations Commands are recent additions and could be the start of forming new divisional headquarters as both provinces are expected to host IA divisions. Alternatively, these OCs could be being established in every province to provide joint ISF command and coordination elements.
On Feb 28/11, Ukrainian press reported that the “State-run Antonov State Enterprise (Kyiv) is ready to deliver the first two An-32 light transport aircraft to Iraq this week.” “…four more planes are to be delivered to Iraq by the end of the year.” These aircraft were initially rejected by the Iraqis last fall since the “An-32’s had been assembled from parts made before 2009, while according to the contract the aircraft should be new.” These aircraft will be added to the ISF OOB when the IqAF actually accepts them.
While the reported French offer of Mirage F1s has caused speculation as to the configuration, the only fighter buy that had a down payment authorized was US F-16s. That money has been redirected – further delaying any fighter buys. The Iraqi government is postponing the expected purchase of the F-16 fighter jets and is using the money to beef up food rations. Iraq’s only air defense is the USAF at this time. USAF elements will probably have to remain in Iraq after 2012.
The Iraqi MoD is recalling air controllers, air support and aviation engineer personnel from the former IA for return to service. With the split of helicopter assets from the Air Force to the IA AAC, the IA requires additional support personnel for its own air elements. IMoD is also recruiting medical personnel.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
The Iraqi MoD is also recruiting Naval personnel. The Iraqi Navy and Marines are to expand rapidly, as they are currently undermanned.
Ministry of Interior
Elements of the Federal Police’s forming 4th Division are apparently being redirected to Baghdad. This division has 3 brigades located in Basrah, Maysan, and Wassit provinces and was to be headquartered in Basrah. However, elements are apparently in south Baghdad province and they are coordinating with US Forces in the IA 17th Division’s AOR. While this could be for training, it could also be to replace the IA 17th Division and allow it to relocate/shift to external defense. The current plan to replace IA forces in the cities mirrors the US handover to the IA in the cities. The IA took over the lead in the cities from the US and is handing over to the FP. The FP eventually is to turn over to the IP and move to over-watch for internal security and train as reserve for the IA in external security.
While Federal Police were reported as graduating four weeks of VIP’s guard training course by the Italian Carabinieri forces, not all of the uniforms were FP. These personnel are being trained to form an Iraqi Federal Police dignitary protection and personal security for the Arab League Summit under the FP’s Major General Ali al-Ithari, commander of the newly-established Security Detail Force. The assignment of a Major General in command indicates a multi-brigade force is being assembled and trained. Some or all of the 2 Presidential Brigades [6 battalions] and 14 Independent Protection Battalions of the IA may be transferring to the FP. The 20 IA Protection Battalions are filling an internal security duty and the IA is shifting its focus to external security.
US Forces are developing a train-the-trainer program for the FP’s Strike Teams. FP Strike Teams are the equivalent to the Commando [recon/cavalry] elements in IA.
The Department of Border Enforcement’s 9th Brigade has shifted to the Iranian border. This reduces DBE presence on the Saudi border and doubles its presence in Basrah’s border regions.
“The 1st Train the Trainers (T3) Course for the Iraqi Oil Police held a closing ceremony at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Camp Dublin in Baghdad, Iraq February 03. The T3 course was conducted by the Italian Carabinieri of the NTM-I Gendarmerie Training Unit on a training program lasting one month and started last January 2.”
Also, “NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) conducted a graduation ceremony for 136 Iraqi policemen who completed the second Oil Police training course at Camp Dublin Feb. 10.”
The training of the expanding Oil Police is a new task for NTM-I. With the reductions in US Forces, NTM-I has been assuming more training responsibilities of Iraqi Forces. Unlike US Forces, NTM-I is not scheduled to leave by 2012.
Originally published by DJ Elliott at Montrose Toast. The February 2011 report is reproduced here with permission. Comments and corrections to these materials are encouraged, please use this link.
Additional Readings: Full ISF OOB
- 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
- Appendix I: 2011 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 – Iraq Looks to Buy Maritime Awareness Systems
- 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