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Comparing Apples & Oranges: Why The Training of Iraqi Security Forces is Taking So Long.
12-01-05 | Daniel Ingham

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 media—a 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 don’t understand the problem, is because the “facts” that have been parroted by the media concerning the realities of troop training are wrong. Here’s 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, NCO’s (sergeants) and Officers with years of training and experience behind them. This is where the new recruit’s 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 NCO’s 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 OBC—Officer Basic Course).

5. In Iraq, enlisted soldiers, NCO’s and Officers are being trained concurrently (side by side). Junior Officers and NCO’s 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 NCO’s 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 can’t we train the Iraqi’s after two years when it only takes six-weeks to train our guys”, as a caller stated on Sean Hannity’s 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. I’ve trained and trained others.

It’s time that these “Basic” facts start hitting the airwaves and blogs. You can’t build an effect fighting force from scratch in six weeks, or even six months.


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: army; forces; iraq; iraqiarmy; oif; security; terrorism; training
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This information needs to get out and become common knowledge in order to counter the criticisms of the Iraq war defeatists. Feel free to copy, paste and e-mail to your favorite blog or media outlet. Anyone who has been in our military can verify this information.
1 posted on 12/01/2005 2:47:32 PM PST by PsyOp
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To: Marine Inspector; 2Trievers; Cannoneer No. 4; neverdem; Johnny Gage; snippy_about_it; ...

Ping to this article. Please take a look and ping any lists you may have. Thanks.


2 posted on 12/01/2005 2:51:09 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: All

ISF, 1/6 training turns cubs into roaring lions
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1386348/posts


3 posted on 12/01/2005 2:55:19 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: PsyOp

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.


4 posted on 12/01/2005 3:03:23 PM PST by neocon1984 (end the idiocy of post-modernism)
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To: All

Liberal lies about Iraq
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1532204/posts


5 posted on 12/01/2005 3:04:13 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: neocon1984

Glad you liked it. Help spread the word.


6 posted on 12/01/2005 3:05:16 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: PsyOp

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.


7 posted on 12/01/2005 3:14:23 PM PST by sean327 (All men are created equal, then some become Marines!)
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To: sean327

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.


8 posted on 12/01/2005 3:19:28 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: PsyOp

Good piece PsyOp- it's a keeper.


9 posted on 12/01/2005 3:25:25 PM PST by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: PsyOp
Add to that the fact that Americans have never known anything but Freedom, and we act like it, we can make decisions naturally and normally they are just now tasting that Freedom and they still have a decision process far different than ours ie "if I do this will I lose my head?"

It always amazed the Soviet Senior Officers that came to visit our Military, in my case (don't remember if it was USS Ranger or USS Kittyhawk) the visiting Admiral was floored when he learned that the average age (5,000 people) was 19 and when he saw these young Sailors towing around aircraft and handling missiles etc etc unsupervised he just couldn't believe his eyes.

Our spirit of Independence (Individuality) makes us the equivalent of 2 or more highly supervised troops and we come by it very naturally and we can train those less experienced at the same time to replace us as we progress in experience. That just isn't normal behavior for a person that has been repressed his/her entire life.

Bottom line we will be in Iraq for awhile.
10 posted on 12/01/2005 3:26:48 PM PST by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: PsyOp

Thanks for posting this. I twas quite ignorant on this info.


11 posted on 12/01/2005 3:34:38 PM PST by jwh_Denver (Merry Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas!)
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To: TexasTransplant

"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.


12 posted on 12/01/2005 3:45:16 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: PsyOp
Great post and spot on. I can attest to it...with 32 years of Military experience. I have been a trainee and a trainer!

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!

13 posted on 12/01/2005 3:49:43 PM PST by Redleg Duke (9/11 - "WE WILL NEVER FORGET!")
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To: PsyOp
I just re-read the old sci-fi book Starship Troopers (the book, not the silly movie). It does a respectable job describing infantry training and the Psych that goes with it, albeit in a Sci-fi setting.

For a civilian hump like me, it really resonated with and informed the accuracy of your description.
14 posted on 12/01/2005 3:51:21 PM PST by Wiseghy (Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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To: PsyOp
The problem, I've heard, is that they are drilled on the old soviet style methods and attitudes. It takes awhile for them to learn the more effective American methods that focus on individual initiative and delegation.
15 posted on 12/01/2005 3:54:18 PM PST by Wiseghy (Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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To: Wiseghy

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.


16 posted on 12/01/2005 3:55:21 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: Redleg Duke

"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.


17 posted on 12/01/2005 3:59:18 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: Wiseghy

"The problem, I've heard, is that they are drilled on the old soviet style methods and attitudes."

See #17.


18 posted on 12/01/2005 4:01:47 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: PsyOp
Good job in explaining the process.

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!

19 posted on 12/01/2005 4:05:35 PM PST by Gritty ("The one GOP congressman who did not offer to have sex with John Murtha was Jean Schmidt-Ann Coulter)
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To: PsyOp

Thank you for your service, and thank you again for this insightful post.


20 posted on 12/01/2005 4:14:07 PM PST by Syberyenta
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