The fact is that the U.S. and Iraqi government continue to push the training of additional Iraqi combat and support troops, and are funding a dramatic growth in the capabilities in the Iraqi Security Forces. The Congress’ failure to pass the Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07) Supplemental Budget is the only thing holding up the growth and training of the Iraqi military.
The Iraqi forces appear to be improving by leaps and bounds, though that is threatened, just like everything else, by the spending impasse.
We’ve talked at length in the past of the difference between ‘Level 1’ and ‘Level 2’ Iraqi units. A huge part of that difference is the logistical capability of the Iraqi forces.
Currently, the Iraqi Army has about 13,000 support personnel to sustain a 138,000 man force. The expansion of support personnel by 33,000 troops by the end of 2007 would provide the bare minimum support necessary for independent operations. The money to train the support units cannot be legally reappropriated from U.S. budgets to fund a foreign military equipment/training program, so the programs has stopped. This weakness in current Iraqi Security Forces structure is the focus of U.S. training in the “Year of Logistics.”
Many who still pretend to “support the troops” say the deadlines and threats to cut funding are for the good of the Iraqi forces. By arbitrarily surrendering the battlefield, the story seems to go, US forces will push the Iraqis into the deep end of the pool to sink or swim on their own. But cutting the funding, stopping the training, is hurting the very capability of the Iraqi forces deadline demanders say should be fighting instead of Americans.
Roggio also discusses the plans to expand the armored and mechanized capability of the Iraqi army, including the addition of several hundred M60 tanks. Go read.