Procurement: August 13, 2005

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Before the Iraqi police and army can truly take over from American forces, they have to get the same kind of armored vehicles and air mobility. To that end, there are plans to equip the Iraqi forces with over four thousand armored hummers and M-113s  (with additional armor packages) armored personnel carriers. Over a hundred UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and dozens of other models as well, will be provided. At the same time, thousands of mechanics and technicians have to be recruited and trained to maintain all these vehicles. When American force levels start getting reduced next year, the units that depart will leave most of their armored hummers and trucks behind. In Kuwait, there are maintenance facilities for these vehicles that will probably be used to help maintain them for the Iraqis, at least until the Iraqis can do it themselves.

There are currently about 170,000 Iraqi army and police, organized into battalions. The AK-47 is their main weapon, and they have body armor, some radios, a few dozen armored vehicles, and several thousand  light trucks and SUVs. About a third of these personnel are engaged in combat operations. This time next year, because of current training and recruiting programs, there will be 250,000 troops in the Iraqi Army, organized into and 10 divisions, plus over 100,000 Iraqi police. 

A separate training program is creating a maintenance and logistics system. Another program is creating a nation-wide command and control and military intelligence system. A major part of the training system, which gets little publicity, is lots of instruction on how to deal with corruption, and how important this is. Corruption is a major problem in Iraq, and has already led to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars allocated for the police and military. Thousands of corrupt soldiers and police, working for gangsters or terrorists, or themselves, have been caught and dismissed. Many more remain in the ranks. Building a clean, effective and well equipped force will not be easy.

 


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