‘Level 1’ here we come!

Support Command Focuses on Training Iraqi Logisticians

Here’s a DefenseLINK release on the continuing effort to get Iraqi support operations online:

Army Lt. Col. Steven Shapiro, chief of operations for 3rd Corps Support Command and selected for promotion to colonel, said the command’s soldiers are training Iraqis through schools and, mostly, through on-the-job experience. “We’re training the Iraqis to follow up and provide support to their forces as they engage the enemy,” Shapiro said during an interview in Balad.

On paper, and increasingly in reality, Iraqi logistical units are embedded in Iraqi maneuver units. The 3rd Corps Support Command is partnered with Iraqi motorized transportation regiments. “When you see an Iraqi army unit engaged, … their physical resupply is through their motorized transportation regiments,” he said.

Plans call for one motorized regiment per division, and the Iraqis plan for nine divisions. The regiments will handle all their own maintenance and their own security. “When we operate on the roads, we protect the convoys,” Shapiro said. “The motorized transportation regiments will have their own mobile force protection assets embedded with them.”

Three regiments are operating now. Coalition logistics personnel handle supplying the rest of the Iraqi force, Shapiro said.

I’ve been sort of waiting to hear an update on the actual status of the Iraqi army. We keep hearing about how many battalions are trained and how many are “in the lead”, but I haven’t seen anything on the actual number of ‘Level 1’ battalions.

This suggests that the number of ‘Level 1’ battalions, those capable of fully “independent operations”, hasn’t grown significantly since the announcement that only one battalion was rated ‘Level 1’ at the end of September. With all the press attention on this fact, it’s rather telling that we haven’t been getting updates as additional battalions rate ‘Level 1’. What it tells Murdoc is that we’re sticking to the plan and growing the army the right way rather than rushing to cobble something together in an attempt to placate the media. Even from a media perspective, this is probably just as well, since the media seems to understand practically zero about the situation and what it means.

Besides logistical capability, many other support factors are considered when rating a unit’s Level, including maintenance, communications, intelligence, and medical capabilities. Although mentioned before, it bears repeating: the majority of the world’s military forces, including (maybe especially) those in western European armies, are not ‘Level 1′.

Don’t get mesmerized by critics’ obsession with the ‘Level 1’ rating. Those carrying on about it are either clueless or lying to you. It is the ‘Level 2’ rating that we care about the most.