The objective of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of DoD/U.S. Central Command and Coalition plans, operations, and resources to train, advise, and assist the Iraqi Army to initiate and sustain combat operations in order to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
When the process is completed, the training and equipment provided to the Iraqi Army (IA) counterattack brigades and divisions could develop their capability to perform combat operations against ISIL. However, the IA brigades have significant internal deficiencies and will require adequate leadership and support by the Government of Iraq and its Ministry of Defense. They will require U.S. and Coalition air support.
We identified several areas for improvement in the U.S. and Coalition mission to train, advise, and assist the Iraqi Army:
- U.S. and Coalition commands conducting training at the Build Partner Capacity (BPC) sites and providing advise and assist functions with Iraqi division headquarters reported uncertainty about the follow-on mission once the counterattack brigades were trained.
- Equipment provided by the U.S. and Coalition to the Iraqi Army brigades that are training at the BPC sites would, at times, arrive incomplete, making the equipment not fully mission capable.
- U.S. advise and assist personnel at the Taji National Depot did not have accurate knowledge of the contents of individual supply warehouses under Iraqi control at that location or at other supply locations throughout Iraq. In some cases, even the Iraqi Army personnel did not know what supplies were present.
- The facilities housing the Iraqi Army trainees at some of the BPC sites visited were inadequate and distracted from training activities.
There are two additional observations in a separate classified appendix to this report that discuss:
- managing capability expectations of the BPC-trained Iraqi Army Brigades and
- leadership issues.
We recommended that:
- Commander, Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve and Commander, Combined Joint Force Land Component Command–Iraq, complete the update/publication of the campaign plan and ensure adequate dissemination/communication throughout the command and, within the constraints of classification, with the Government of Iraq and its Ministry of Defense.
- Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in coordination with the geographic combatant commands and the implementing agencies, establish, via a written external standard operating procedure, a formal quality assurance review process that identifies process errors and omissions during each phase of the pseudo-foreign military sales equipment supply/procurement process.
- Commander, Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, in coordination with Commander, Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq and the Iraqi Minister of Defense, develop a plan that allows U.S. and Coalition access to the warehouses at Taji National Depot and other supply depot sites within an expedited time period.
- Commander, Combined Joint Force Land Component Command–Iraq, advise/mentor the Minister of Defense to use Government of Iraq funds to repair and improve Iraqi Army trainees’ billeting facilities at the BPC sites.
- Commander, Combined Joint Force Land Component Command–Iraq, work with the Ministry of Defense to devise and implement a plan that clarifies Government of Iraq and U.S. monetary contributions to improve Iraqi Army trainees’ billeting facilities at the BPC sites.
There are additional recommendations that support the observations in the separate classified appendix to this report.
This report is a result of Project No. D2015-D00SPO-0170.000.