Skip to comments.Comparing Apples & Oranges: Why The Training of Iraqi Security Forces is Taking So Long.
Posted on 12/01/2005 2:47:30 PM PST by PsyOp
For the last year I heard one criticism after another directed at the training of Iraqi Security Forces. In the last month, that criticism has reached a crescendo as the debate on when or whether to leave Iraq has raged in the mediaa media that has turned into an echo chamber for bad information and mis-interpreted facts.
The main complaint is why Iraqi security forces are not ready to step up and take on the terrorists so we can get the hell out. After all, it only takes twelve weeks to train a U.S. Soldier or Marine, and the Iraqis have had a year or more of training. Right?
Wrong! The reason people dont understand the problem, is because the facts that have been parroted by the media concerning the realities of troop training are wrong. Heres why.
1. It takes longer than 12 weeks to train a U.S. Soldier or Marine. Only Basic Training takes 12 weeks. At Basic troops are physically conditioned, taught to shoot and march straight, shown how to wear their uniforms properly, and instructed on the basics of functioning as part of the military.
2. After Basic Training, a recruit is sent for another 12 to 36 weeks of Advanced basic training where they learn the specifics of their assigned job in the military. This is where they learn to be Infantrymen, Tankers, Mechanics, Clerks, etc. Most of these schools last 12 weeks, some take much longer.
3. After 6 to 9 moths of Basic training, recruits are finally sent to their first unit assignment. There, they are inserted into an established unit; one staffed with professional soldiers, NCOs (sergeants) and Officers with years of training and experience behind them. This is where the new recruits training continues until he/she is considered competent to perform their assigned duties without constant supervision. Training never ends.
4. The training required to produce the competent Officers and NCOs needed to lead these troops takes longer. The minimum time to train a competent Junior NCO is about 3 years (basic training + 2 years of on-the-job-training + 12 weeks at an NCO academy). The minimum time to train a new lieutenant is longer than that (2-4 years of ROTC or Service academy training, and 6-9 months of OBCOfficer Basic Course).
5. In Iraq, enlisted soldiers, NCOs and Officers are being trained concurrently (side by side). Junior Officers and NCOs are being selected from among the smartest of the recruits.
6. In Iraq there are no established and experienced units to send them to where they can gain experience and confidence needed to carry out their duties. They are all learning on-the-job, as a unit.
7. The units that are being created have no logistical or administrative structures in place to support them in their field operations. These units are being formed, but in the meantime, Iraqi Security Forces must rely on the U.S. military for its support infrastructure. Even a competent fighting unit will find its effectiveness greatly reduced or negated if it does not have the proper support units backing it up.
8. When we went into Iraq it was thought that rebuilding the Iraqi Army / Security forces would just be a matter of getting rid of the upper management that was loyal to Saddam, leaving a core of professional junior officers and NCOs around which to build the new force. Such was the case with Germany and Japan after WWII, and elsewhere in the history of regime changes. Instead, we found the entire structure rotted throughout, requiring us to rebuild the whole thing from scratch. No mean feat, and not one that can be rushed or expected to be completed in a year, or even two.
The education of recruits also plays a part. In the U.S. you need not apply unless you have a high-school diploma. Even then, you will need to pass a military placement/aptitude test before being accepted. In Iraq, where the literacy rate is only 50%, we cannot be as picky. The literacy, education, and intelligence of recruits play a large role in how quickly they can be trained.
It is now the end of 2005. The training of Iraqi security forces has been going on for about 2 years. Iraqi troops have been training and learning on the job with the help of the U.S. Military. They have taken part in numerous operations and done well in some and not so well in others. They are getting better every day and in another year may be able to do the job without our help.
It their training taking too long? NO!
By any rational standard, the pace of their training is on track and moving forward at a fast pace. Those who complain that the Iraqi Security Forces were not able to go out and kick terrorist butt after a mere 12 weeks of training are living in a fantasy world that has never existed. Most of the terrorists have had years of training in various terrorist training camps or as loyal members of Saddam's former army. Many of the terrorists are trained Muslim mercenaries from Syria, Iran, Chechnya, and elsewhere.
Anyone who makes the statement, why cant we train the Iraqis after two years when it only takes six-weeks to train our guys, as a caller stated on Sean Hannitys radio program, is devoid of all understanding of the facts.
How do I know all this? 11 years of military experience. I started as fresh recruit out of basic training and as an enlisted man gained the rank of E-5 (sergeant). I left active duty to go college, and there joined ROTC. I eventually graduated college with a commission as an Army Lieutenant. Ive trained and trained others.
Its time that these Basic facts start hitting the airwaves and blogs. You cant build an effect fighting force from scratch in six weeks, or even six months.
Ping to this article. Please take a look and ping any lists you may have. Thanks.
ISF, 1/6 training turns cubs into roaring lions
Thanks for the information. That's why I log on to this web-site almost every day. You can get opinions everywhere, but I am more interested in the facts.
If I became delusional and went over to the dark side (liberalism), they would only let me in if I promised to avoid the facts and focus on how people feeeel.
Liberal lies about Iraq
Glad you liked it. Help spread the word.
O'Reilly was whining about this last night. I wanted to throw a brick at him. He kept asking "why can we train our guys in 8 weeks, and it's taking 2 years to train the Iraqi's". Col Hunt spelled it out just as you did, but I don't think Bill got the message.
As you stated, it takes time to get competent NCO/Officer leadership, it doesn't happen overnight.
Yeah I heard O'Reilly, too. It's not the first time he's made that idiot statement.
His was the last straw that prompted me to sit down and write this. His much vaunted research staff have made some glaring errors and often seem incapable of even rudimentary investigations of fact.
Good piece PsyOp- it's a keeper.
Thanks for posting this. I twas quite ignorant on this info.
"Bottom line we will be in Iraq for awhile."
I agree. Realisticaly, getting the Iraqi Security Forces to be able to go head-to-head with the insurgents on a regular basis without our support, or with minimal support, will take 4-6 years.
I heard recently that our military finally convinced the Iraqi interim government to let former, mid-level, Iraqi Army officers and NCOs to apply for the new security forces (after proper vetting). These guys are needed in order to accelerate the training pace.
One more serious difference...in the US, we start with a free man or free woman with a history of being free. Don't ever underestimate the value of that!
Starship Troopers is one of my favorite novels. And even though the movie only loosely followed the book, I liked it, too.
For a civilian, that book is probably the best insight into what a professional Army defending the ideals of personal liberty and responsibility is all about. Perhaps we should get it translated into Arabic and pass it out to the recruits in Iraq.
"Don't ever underestimate the value of that!"
Never. One of the big hurdles will be training recruits to use personal initiative and decision-making skills during combat. If they can get over that hurdle, the bad-guys will be finished. If they can't, the insurgents who can will always outfight them.
"The problem, I've heard, is that they are drilled on the old soviet style methods and attitudes."
Frankly, being ready in three years is pushing it. As you ably point out, building a military force from the ground up is one of the most difficult things to do. It's not like training burger flippers at McD's. It's a very long term project and in the meantime they are trying to fight an active, cunning and ruthless enemy at the same time. This is a tough job.
Naturally, the impatient MSM and the other Liberals think you can build anything in the time it takes to "visualize" it, much like the fantasy in a TV show. That is because most of them have never dealt with anything but words, concepts and theory and have never try to actually produce something. They are still of the opinion socialism "works" so you can see how off base they are in their thinking to start with!
Thank you for your service, and thank you again for this insightful post.
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