Iraq's Military - Not Ready For Prime Time

I've not been in favor of the idea of the US government selling M1 Abrams tanks and F16 aircraft to the the Iraqi army. It's not just that their past experience has been limited to Soviet-era equipment (cheap, not state-of-the-art, but it works),

I've not been in favor of the idea of the US government selling M1 Abrams tanks and F16 aircraft to the the Iraqi army. It's not just that their past experience has been limited to Soviet-era equipment (cheap, not state-of-the-art, but it works), but also because I just never thought they could sustain the capability. I think I was largely right, based on Walter Pincus's article in the WaPo.

Although the Interior Ministry has "matured" in its budgeting processes, it "could not effectively plan and contract to procure repair parts to support the Iraqi police vehicle fleet." For example, when the Interior Ministry requested the purchase of a $200 million helicopter fleet, it did not provide for spare parts, maintenance support or required infrastructure facilities.

With about $10 billion in military equipment on hand by end of 2011, Iraq would need about $600 million annually to maintain it, according to the defense IG. In 2010, however, the Iraq Defense Ministry allocated only $40 million for maintenance. Its processes for "identifying requirements, budgeting and executing contracting were broken," the report concluded.

Take the Iraqi army's system for allocating fuel to its commands.

The division commanders do not send their broken vehicles for repair, nor do they report those that are destroyed, because fuel is supplied based on the quantity and types of vehicles on their books. A local commander told the IG investigators that "it was more advantageous to keep unserviceable vehicles in order to continue receiving full fuel allocations and have enough fuel to operate the rest of his fleet."

It was always a mistake to think we could turn the Iraqis into a mini-US military element. It would be a bigger mistake to force US military weapon systems onto the Afghan military, but the Repubs have always thought of enriching their donors before actual national security interests.

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