Order Code RL31701
Iraq: U.S. Military Operations
Updated July 15, 2007
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Iraq: U.S. Military Operations
Iraq’s chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, together with Iraqi
long-range missile development and support for Al Qaeda terrorism, were the
primary justifications put forward for military action. On March 17, 2003, President
Bush issued an ultimatum demanding that Saddam Hussein and his sons depart from
Iraq within 48 hours. On March 19, offensive operations began with air strikes
against Iraqi leadership positions. By April 15, after 27 days of operations, coalition
forces were in relative control of all major Iraqi cities and Iraqi political and military
leadership had disintegrated. On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared an end to
major combat operations. There was no use of chemical or biological (CB) weapons,
and no CB or nuclear weapons stockpiles or production facilities have been found.
The major challenges to coalition forces are now quelling a persistent Iraqi
resistance movement and training/retaining sufficient Iraqi security forces to assume
responsibility for the nations domestic security. Though initially denying that there
was an organized resistance movement, DOD officials have now acknowledged there
is regional/local organization, with apparently ample supplies of arms and funding.
CENTCOM has characterized the Iraqi resistance as “a classical guerrilla-type
campaign.” DOD initially believed the resistance to consist primarily of former
regime supporters and foreign fighters; however, it has now acknowledged that
growing resentment of coalition forces and an increase in sectarian conflicts,
independent of connections with the earlier regime, are contributing to the
insurgency. Joint counterinsurgency operations involving both U.S. and Iraqi forces
are being intensified in Baghdad and al-Anbar province, focusing on a “clear, hold,
and build” strategy. By mid-June the last of the units composing the force “surge”
announced in January had arrived in Iraq to begin counterinsurgency operations.
According to DOD, as of June 30 2007, 3,572 U.S. troops had died in Iraq
operations. There have been more than 26,558 U.S. personnel wounded or injured
since military operations began. Non-U.S. Coalition fatalities have totaled 287,
while Iraqi security force fatalities from June 2003 through July 11, 2007, are
estimated to be 7,202.
The latest unclassified DOD statistics indicate that as of July 1, about 156,250
U.S. troops are in Iraq, with approximately 20,000 additional military support
personnel in the region. About 11,450 non-U.S. troops are also in theater, with
Britain being the largest contributor. Other nations contributing troops include
Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech
Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia (Gruzia), Japan, Kazakhstan,
Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Singapore,
Slovakia, South Korea, and Ukraine.
This report will be updated as events warrant.
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Military Planning and Initial Combat Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Options Considered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Combat Operations Prior to May 1, 2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Post-May 2003 Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Iraqi Security Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Iraqi Insurgency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Force Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Non-U.S. Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Iraq: U.S. Military Operations
Iraq’s chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, together with Iraqi
long-range missile development, and Iraqi support for the Al Qaeda terrorist group
were the primary justifications put forward by the Bush Administration for military
action. Since Iraq originally ended cooperation with U.N. inspectors in 1998, there
was little information on the state of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
arsenal; however, Administration officials were convinced that Iraq had reconstituted
significant capabilities. Initially, leading Administration officials, most notably VicePresident Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and his Deputy Paul Wolfowitz,
stressed “regime change” or the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Later in
2002, WMD disarmament was emphasized as the primary objective. Expanding on
this theme President Bush, in his speech before the United Nations on September 12,
2002, specified the following conditions for Iraq to meet to forestall military action
Immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or
destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all
End all support for terrorism and act to suppress it.
Cease persecution of its civilian population.
Release or account for all Gulf War missing personnel.
End all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program and allow
United Nations administration of its funds.1
On March 17, 2003, President Bush issued an ultimatum demanding that
Saddam Hussein and his sons depart from Iraq within 48 hours. On March 19,
offensive operations commenced with air strikes against Iraqi leadership positions.
Military Planning and Initial Combat Operations
As military operations continue in Iraq, there has been considerable discussion
about whether the initial planning for the war was adequate and based upon accurate
assumptions. Prior to the onset of offensive operations, the Department of Defense
released only limited official information concerning war planning or preparations
against Iraq. There were, however, frequent and significant news leaks which
provided a range of details. News reports indicated that the military options that
were under discussion varied significantly in their assumptions regarding Iraq
President Bush’s Address to the U.N. General Assembly, September 12, 2002.
military capabilities, the usefulness of Iraqi opposition groups, the attitude of regional
governments, and the U.S. military resources that would be required.
In the wake of the successful operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban,
some Administration officials advocated a similar operation, entailing use of special
operations forces in cooperation with indigenous Iraqi opposition forces, coupled
with an extensive air offensive to destroy Hussein’s most reliable Republican Guard
units, command & control centers, and WMD capabilities. This approach assumed
that the regular Iraqi army would prove unreliable, and could even join opposition
forces once it was clear that defeat was imminent. To encourage this, significant
emphasis would be placed on an intensive psychological warfare or “psyops”
campaign to undermine the morale of Iraqi soldiers and unit commanders, persuading
them of the hopelessness of resistance.2
While having the advantage of not requiring large staging areas (though some
regional air basing would be required) or months to prepare, this was generally
considered the riskiest approach. The weakness of Iraqi opposition military forces
and their competing political agendas placed their effectiveness in question, and
predicting the behavior of regular Iraqi Army units under attack was problematic.
This option also did not address the possibility of stiff resistance by Republican
Guard units in the environs of Baghdad, nor the troop requirements of a post-conflict
This “lite” option stood in contrast to the operations plan originally offered by
U.S. Central Command. This option, often called the “Franks Plan,” after Army Gen.
Tommy Franks, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commander who first
briefed it to the President, called for a large-scale ground force invasion. News
reports initially indicated, however, that this “heavy” approach did not receive the
support of the DOD civilian leadership or White House advisors. Questions over the
reliability of the regional support that would be necessary for staging areas and the
length of time required for deployment were the major concerns.3 However, the
White House rejection of the “Franks Plan” came prior to the decision to take the Iraq
issue to the United Nations Security Council. When it became clear that Security
Council deliberations and the re-introduction of U.N. inspectors to Iraq could delay
the possibility of military action for several months, it was apparently decided that
this interlude would allow time both to negotiate regional cooperation and to deploy
somewhat more substantial forces to the Persian Gulf region, and military operations
appeared to adhere closer to CENTCOM’s original recommendations. As the ground
force offensive slowed, however, there was increasing criticism of DOD’s civilian
“Timing, Tactics on Iraq War Disputed; Top Bush Officials Criticize Generals’
Conventional Views,” Washington Post, August 1, 2002, p. 1.
“The Iraq Build-up, II,” National Journal, October 5, 2002, p. 2866.
leadership for not permitting the deployment of even more ground forces prior to
onset of operations.4
Combat Operations Prior to May 1, 2003
Offensive operations combined an air offensive and simultaneous ground
offensive, in contrast to the 1991 campaign which saw weeks of air attacks to soften
Iraqi resistance. U.S. Central Command’s operational plan employed a smaller
ground force than the 1991 Desert Storm operation, reflecting an assessment that
Iraqi armed forces were neither as numerous nor as capable as they were ten years
earlier, and that U.S. forces were significantly more capable. This option depended
upon the continued cooperation of regional nations for substantial staging
areas/airbases and required months to deploy the necessary forces.
Though press reports differed somewhat, reportedly over 340,000 U.S. military
personnel were in the Persian Gulf region (ashore and afloat). The 3rd Mechanized
Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 7th Cavalry
Regiment, and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force formed the bulk of the U.S. ground
offensive. The 4th Mechanized Infantry Division arrived late in theater. Ships bearing
its equipment remained off Turkey for weeks awaiting the outcome of negotiations
to permit establishing a northern front attacking from Turkey, and then were diverted
to the Persian Gulf when these negotiations fell through. The U.S. Navy deployed
five of its twelve naval aircraft carrier battle groups. The Air Force had
approximately 15 air wings operating in the region. Strategic bombers operated from
the British airbase at Diego Garcia, and airbases in the Middle East, Europe, and the
United States. The United Kingdom deployed over 47,000 personnel, including a
naval task force, an armored task force, a Royal Marine brigade, a parachute brigade,
a Special Air Service regiment, and a Special Boat Squadron. The majority of these
British forces were engaged in southeastern Iraq, securing the Umm Qasr and Basra
region. Australia deployed approximately 2,000 personnel, primarily special
operations personnel, and one F/A-18 attack aircraft squadron. Poland had 200
special operations troops around Basra. (For more detailed information, see CRS
Report RL31843, Iraq: International Attitudes to Operation Iraqi Freedom and
Reconstruction, by Steven A. Hildreth, Jeremy M. Sharp, Melanie Caesar, Adam
Frost, and Helene Machart.)
The invasion of Iraq was expected to begin with a 72-96 hour air offensive to
paralyze the Iraqi command structure, and demoralize Iraqi resistance across the
military-civilian spectrum. Intelligence reports indicating the possibility of striking
Saddam Hussein and his immediate circle led to an acceleration of the operations
plan, and an almost simultaneously onset of air and ground offensive operations.
CENTCOM air commanders stressed that significant efforts would be made to
minimize civilian casualties and damage to Iraqi physical infrastructure, and they
were mostly successful in this effort.
With 25 days of offensive operations, coalition forces had relative control of all
major Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Tikrit. CENTCOM
“Rumsfeld’s Role as War Strategist Under Scrutiny,” Reuters, March 30, 2003.
pursued a strategy of rapid advance, by-passing urban centers when possible, pausing
only when encountering Iraqi resistance. CENTCOM spokesmen characterized Iraqi
resistance as sporadic and uncohesive. Oilfields and port facilities throughout Iraq
were secured, as were all major air bases in Iraq. Though a few oil wells were set
afire, all were quelled, and there has been only sporadic environmental sabotage.
Allied forces did not encounter the mass surrenders characteristic of the 1991
campaign, however DOD reported that over 6,000 Iraqis were taken prisoner, and
believes that many more simply deserted their positions. Iraqi paramilitary forces,
particularly the Saddam Fedayeen, engaged in guerrilla-style attacks from urban
centers in the rear areas, but did not inflict significant damage. Nevertheless, greater
attention than anticipated had to be paid to protecting extended supply lines, and
securing these urban centers, particularly around an-Nasiriyah and Najaf, and in the
British sector around Umm Qasr and Basra.
Though CENTCOM commanders publicly expressed confidence in the
adequacy of their force structure in theater, the Iraqi attacks in rear areas and the
length of the supply lines to forward units led some to suggest that insufficient
ground forces were in place to continue the offensive while securing rear areas and
ensuring uninterrupted logistical support. These critics faulted DOD civilian
leadership for overestimating the effectiveness of a precision air offensive and
curtailing the deployment of more ground troops, suggesting that an ideological
commitment to smaller ground forces and greater reliance on high-tech weaponry had
dominated military planning.5
Without permission to use Turkish territory, CENTCOM was unable to carry
out an early ground offensive in Northern Iraq. However, Special operations forces,
the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and air-lifted U.S. armor, operating with Kurdish
irregulars seized Mosul, Kirkuk, and Tikrit. Cooperation with Kurdish militias in the
north has been excellent.
Post-May 2003 Operations6
With the onset of widespread looting and the breakdown of public services
(electricity, water) in the cities, coalition forces were confronted with the challenges
of restoring public order and infrastructure even before combat operations ceased.
Though U.S. forces have come under criticism for not having done more to provide
security, the transition from combat to police roles is a difficult one, particularly
when an important objective is winning popular support. Harsh reactions risk
alienation of the population, yet inaction reduces confidence in the ability of coalition
forces to maintain order. Coalition forces also have had to try to keep Iraqi factional
violence from derailing stabilization efforts, with very mixed success. There is a
significant body of criticism that DOD’s leadership’s assumptions about the ease of
“Questions Raised About Invasion Force,” Washington Post, March 25, 2003, p. 17.
For additional information, see CRS Report RL31339, Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and
the post-war transition led to inadequate planning within the department and the
disregard of extensive State Department planning efforts prior to the war.7
Since the late fall of 2004, U.S. forces, with ISF participation, have undertaken
fairly constant counterinsurgency operations, focused primarily on strongholds in
central and western Iraq. Though these operations were uniformly successful in
defeating or driving out insurgents, Iraqi security forces were subsequently unable to
prevent their return, thus requiring repeated U.S. assaults in some areas.
The Bush Administration’s increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq,
announced on January 10 and completed in mid-June, is intended to improve the
ability to carry out the counterinsurgency strategy of “clear, hold, and build”
undertaken over the last year. To cope with the inability or unwillingness of Iraqi
security forces to maintain control of areas cleared of insurgents, the new plan will
“partner” U.S. and Iraqi units down to the Iraqi battalion level in nine districts of
Baghdad, establishing security outposts in each district from which to patrol and
conduct raids. As of July 12, 58 of these Joint Security Stations and Combat Outposts
have been established. The emphasis is intended to be on Iraqi security forces taking
the lead in all operations, with U.S. troops providing support as required. The Bush
Administration has accepted the Iraqi government’s assurance that counterinsurgency
operations will be conducted without sectarian considerations, and will not be
targeted solely against Sunni insurgents. The Initial Benchmark Assessment Report
notes a “mix of positive and negative examples” in this regard, but judges there to
have been unsatisfactory progress.8
Administration officials, both civilian and military, have cautioned that
improvements in the security environment will not be immediate, and that
judgements concerning success may not be possible until late summer or fall. The
Initial Report emphasized that full-scale “surge” operations did not begin until midJune. These have focused on Baghdad, Anbar province, and areas immediately north
and south of the capital.
A number of questions have arisen regarding the personnel increase and the new
approach to counterinsurgency operations. Among them, are (1) Is the troop increase
sufficient in number, given that the accepted COIN practice of 20 counterinsurgents
per 1,000 population would require about 120,000 personnel for Baghdad’s
population of six million?9 (2) Will the current Iraqi government, which is dependent
upon Shia militia leaders’ support, hold to its commitment to permit operations
against these militias? (3) How reliable and/or competent will Iraqi security forces
be, given their previous performance? (4) Will ongoing discussions between U.S. and
Iraqi military commanders result in a workable chain-of-command? (5) How long
will it be necessary to sustain an increased U.S. military presence in Baghdad and alAnbar province to ensure a stable security environment?
Cordesman, Anthony, “An Effective U.S. Strategy for Iraq,” testimony before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, February 1, 2005; Diamond, Larry. “What Went Wrong in
Iraq,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 2004.
Initial Benchmark Assessment Report, Jul 12, 2007. P. 17 (hereafter Interim Report)
Counterinsurgency Operations, U.S. Army Field Manual FM100-34, p. 26.
The attitude of the Iraq population remains the key element to stabilizing Iraq,
and depends upon a variety of factors, such as the nature and extent of infrastructure
damage and economic dislocation, the demands of ethnic and religious groups, and
the speed with which a credible government can be established. Though a short-term
post-war occupation was initially expected by some Administration officials, it is
now believed that a continued deployment of military ground forces could be
necessary for several years, though there are differences of opinion on the number of
forces. The Iraq Study Group Report recommended no long-term increase in troop
levels, though it did not oppose a short-term increase to stabilize Baghdad.10 A report
prepared by the American Enterprise Institute recommended a substantial, potentially
long-term increase of some 30,000 combat troops for intensified counterinsurgency
Iraqi Security Organizations
The Bush Administration has made the ability of the Iraqi Security Force (ISF)
to defeat the insurgency and maintain order the pivotal element of continued U.S.
military presence in Iraq. Though ISF performance has been generally poor, with
many personnel deserting and some actively joining the insurgents, Administration
officials continue to believe that a strengthened training effort will provide more
reliable units. This approach was endorsed by the Iraq Study Group, whose report
recommended that the training and equipping of the ISF become the primary mission
of the U.S. military in Iraq. The Multi-National Security Transition Command- Iraq
[http://www.mnstci.iraq.centcom.mil/] has responsibility for this training effort.
Participants include U.S., Australian, and NATO trainers.12 Though initial efforts
were hampered by delays in staffing U.S. personnel, lack of equipment, and
difficulties in retaining Iraqi personnel, the original objective of 325,000 trained ISF
personnel has been exceeded. There are still, however, some serious concerns that
Iraqi security forces remain under-equipped, lacking sufficient vehicles, heavy
weapons, and communications equipment.13 There are also strong indications that
the security forces have been significantly infiltrated by insurgent supporters, and the
Initial Report maintains this continues to hinder ISF effectiveness14 The
Administration’s Interim Report assesses the ISF to have made unsatisfactory
progress in increasing the number of units capable of operating independently,
Iraq Study Group Report, Baker et al., Vintage Books, 2006. Also available at
Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq. Frederick Kagan, American Enterprise
Institute, December 2007. Also available at [http://www.aei.org/publications/
For additional information, see CRS Report RS22093, Iraq’s New Security Forces: The
Challenge of Sectarian and Ethnic Influences, by Jeremy M. Sharp.
Eric Schmitt, “Effort To Train New Iraqi Army Is Facing Delays,” New York Times,
September 20, 2004, p. 1.
Richard Oppel, “Friend Or Enemy? The Iraqi Uniforms Don’t Always Tell,” New York
Times, November 15, 2004. John Lumpkin, “Insurgents Said To Be Infiltrating Security
Forces,” Associated Press, October 22, 2004; Initial Benchmark Assessment Report, July
12, 2007. p. 17
though it notes “generally adequate” performance of Iraqi units when partnered with
As of July 11, 2007, the State Department’s Iraq Weekly Status Report
provided the following statistics.
Iraqi Security Forces (operational)
Other Ministry of Interior Forces
Coastal Defense Force
Coalition troops, Iraqi security forces, and civilian support personnel continue
to come under frequent and deadly attacks, primarily in central Iraq, but sporadically
in southern and northern Iraq also. This constant potential for attack affects the pace
and mode of reconstruction and stabilization operations. Troops must assume a
potentially hostile environment, yet try to avoid incidents or actions that erode
popular support. In addition to continuing attacks on coalition personnel, there have
been attacks on infrastructure targets (e.g., oil/gas pipelines, electrical power stations
and lines) hindering efforts to restore basic services to the civilian population.
Attacks on oil pipelines also threaten to further delay the use of Iraqi oil exports to
fund reconstruction programs. Though it is virtually impossible to fully protect these
pipelines from sabotage, it was hoped that ongoing efforts to train specialized Iraqi
units would provide coalition troops some assistance in this mission, however
success has been mixed.
Though initially denying that attacks were the work of an organized resistance
movement, DOD officials have now acknowledged there is at least regional/local
organization, with apparently ample supplies of arms and funding. CENTCOM
commander Gen. Abizaid was the first one to characterized the Iraqi resistance as “a
classical guerrilla-type campaign.”16 Though many attacks have been made with
improvised explosives, the resistance also has access to mortars, rocket launchers,
and surface-to-air missiles looted from Iraq army depots. For example, one of the
President’s quarterly reports to Congress on Iraq operations noted that only 40% of
Iraq’s pre-war munitions inventory was secured or destroyed prior to April 2004.17
The resistance has also moved from solely guerrilla-style attacks to utilizing suicide
bombers. DOD believed the resistance to initially comprise primarily former regime
supporters such Baathist party members, Republican Guard soldiers, and paramilitary
Initial Report, p. 21.
DOD News Briefing, July 16, 2003.
A Report Consistent with the Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq, 108th Cong.,
2 sess. Document No. 108-180, April 21, 2004.
personnel. Captured documents have given some indication that preparations for a
resistance movement were made prior to the war, including the caching of arms and
money. However, in some areas, growing resentment of coalition forces and
increasing intra-sectarian conflict, independent of connections with the earlier
regime, are contributing substantially to the deteriorating security situation.
Estimates of the size of the insurgency have ranged as high as 30,000. 18 There is,
however, no reliable methodology for determining actual numbers for an insurgency
that operates for the most part clandestinely. It is generally assumed that the
insurgency has a core of combatants, with a significantly larger pool of active and
The most recent official unclassified statistics released by DOD on July 1, 2007,
indicate that the United States military personnel in Iraq totaled 156,247 personnel
and comprised the following:19
Army: 94,532; Air Force:10,018; Navy: 4,379; Marine Corps: 24,134
Army National Guard: 13,747; Air National Guard: 1,180
Army: 6,457; Air Force: 876; Navy: 724; Marine Corps: 200
U.S. forces have been spread relatively thin throughout Iraq, and many argued
early in the war that additional troops in theater could improve the pace and breadth
of stabilization operations. DOD initially rejected this argument, stating that rather
than adding more U.S. troops, the increased number of Iraqi security forces could be
counted on to assist more extensively in stability operations. Indeed, CENTCOM’s
intent was to reduce the U.S. contingent to 110,00 by the end of May 2004.
However, in April, 2004, uprisings in central and southern Iraq led CENTCOM to
alter its plan, and to raise the number of U.S. troops to 141,000 by delaying the
scheduled return of some units and accelerating the deployment of others. This
number rose to almost 160,000 in early 2005 in anticipation of insurgents’ efforts to
disrupt the January 2005 Iraqi elections, and then has fluctuated from 138,000 to
again 160,000 in place for the December 2005 elections. After these elections, DOD
announced its intent to reduce the U.S. troop level by 7,000 to 8,000 by not replacing
units scheduled to rotate back to home bases. On December 23, 2005, Secretary
Rumsfeld announced that President Bush had approved the withdrawal of an
undisclosed number of U.S. troops in 2006.20 A reduction to a “baseline” of 138,000
by Spring 2006, and further reductions in Summer 2006 were discussed. Increased
violence in late 2006 led to a reconsideration of troop levels, and on January 10 2007,
Iraq Index, Brookings Institution, December 2006, p. 17.
Information Paper, Joint Chiefs of Staff Legislative Liaison, July 1, 2007.
“Iraq Contingent May Grow if Attacks Persist,” Los Angeles Times, December 26, 2005.
in an effort to improve the security situation in Baghdad and al-Anbar province,
President Bush announced that an additional 17,500 Army personnel and 4,000 U.S.
Marines would deploy to Iraq. The units to deploy over the next several months
include the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (Ft. Bragg, NC); 4th Brigade, 1st
Infantry Division (Ft. Riley, KS); 2nd and 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Ft.
Benning, GA/Ft. Stewart, GA); and 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Ft.
Lewis, WA). In addition to these five brigades, the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
of the Minnesota National Guard has hat its deployment extended. The Marine
Corps has also extended the deployment of two reinforced infantry battalions and the
15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Independent of the so-called “surge” units, the following unit rotations will
occur in the upcoming months:
Headquarters XVIII Airborne Corps (Ft. Bragg, NC) will replace Headquarters
III Corps (Ft. Hood, TX) as the Multi-National Corps-Iraq Headquarters in
Headquarters 1st Armored Division (Wiesbaden, Germany) and Headquarters
4 Infantry (Ft. Hood, TX) will deploy multinational force headquarters in August.
1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Ft. Drum, NY) and the 1st Brigade, 82nd
Airborne Division (Ft. Bragg, NC) will deploy in August.
2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (Ft. Bragg, NC) will have its deployment
extended for four months until January 2008.
Initially, there did not appear to be agreement among military commanders on
the number of troops that will actually be required or on the pace of their deployment.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on January 11, 2007,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Peter Pace, suggested that only two brigades
would deploy initially, and further deployments would await an evaluation of the
security situation. This opinion was echoed by General George Casey, incoming
Chief of Staff of the Army, in his confirmation hearing testimony before the Senate
Armed Services Committee on February 1, 2007. However, General David Petraeus,
who has assumed command of all coalition forces in Iraq, testified before the Senate
Armed Services Committee on January 23, 2007, that he would require the
deployment of the full five brigades as quickly as possible. In March 2007, President
Bush, in response to General Petraeus’s request, had authorized an additional
deployment of 4,700 support troops and military police to Iraq. That week Deputy
Secretary of Defense England indicated that yet another 2,300 troops would be sent
and subsequent press reports indicate that General Petraeus indeed requested that an
additional combat aviation (helicopters) brigade be sent to Iraq.21 The troop increase
was not completed until mid-June. With regard to how long the increased troop
strength will be required in Iraq, the U.S. contingent’s commander, Lt. Gen.
Raymond Odierno, has suggested that the level be maintained through February
2008.22 In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on
“General Seeks Another Brigade in Iraq,” Boston Globe, March 16 2007, p. 1.
“Buildup in Iraq Needed into ‘08,” Washington Post, March 8, 2007, p. 1
May 9th, Secretary Gates indicated that a reduction of U.S. forces could be considered
this fall, “if we see some very positive progress.”23
The Army units will join operations in Baghdad, while the additional Marines
will augment Marine units already in al-Anbar province. The Iraqi government is
expected to contribute nine Army brigades, approximately 20,000 personnel, to the
new Baghdad operations. General Petraeus estimates that, if all Iraqi police and
security forces are included, he will have approximately 85,000 personnel for
counterinsurgency operations in Baghdad. While the U.S. Army counterinsurgency
field manual recommends a ratio of 1 counterinsurgent to for every 50 citizens, and
that this would call for 120,000 personnel in Baghdad, General Petraeus has noted
that there are currently “tens of thousands of contract security forces and ministerial
security forces” that can augment the efforts of U.S. units and the Iraqi Army and
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provided the House Committee on the
Budget estimates of the cost for the increased troop level in Iraq. CBO noted that the
21,500 figure includes only combat troops, and does not include any of the generally
required support troops. The CBO report a range of costs, depending upon total
number of additional troops (combat and support) deployed and the length of the
deployment. A minimum of 35,000 troops was estimated to cost $9 billion for a
four-month deployment and $12 billion for a 12-month deployment. A deployment
of 48,000 troops, which would reflect combat to support troop ratios for recent Iraq
operations, raises the estimates to $13 billion and $27 billion, respectively. Were the
deployment of these additional forces to last 24 months, the costs were estimated to
range from $26 billion to $49 billion.24
A key element in the Defense Department’s consideration of troop requirements
in Iraq is the willingness of other nations to contribute ground forces. The State
Department has reported that as of July 11, 2007,11,451 non-U.S. troops from 25
other nations are in Iraq, but has not released a nation-by-nation breakdown of these
contributions. The United Kingdom is the largest other single contributor with about
7,000 troops; however the British government has announced that it will be
withdrawing about 1,600 over the next few months. Denmark plans to withdraw its
contingent this year, and Lithuania is considering doing so. The Republic of Georgia
has announced that it will increase its contingent from 850 to over 2,000 during 2007.
Nations currently contributing troops include Albania, Armenia, Australia,
Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El
Salvador, Estonia, Republic of Georgia (Gruzia), Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia,
Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia,
South Korea, and Ukraine. Most nations, however, have deployed relatively small
numbers of troops, and questions have been raised about their operational
“Gates Sees a Fall Scenario for Fewer Troops,” Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2007.
For greater detail, see [http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/77xx/doc7778/TroopIncrease.pdf].
capabilities.25 Some nations that the United States initially approached for assistance
(e.g., Turkey, Pakistan, India) indicated that their participation would be dependent
upon, at a minimum, a United Nations resolution authorizing operations in Iraq.
However, after the United Nations Security Council passed such a resolution, there
still has been no enthusiasm for contributing military forces. For these and other
nations, significant domestic political resistance to participation in Iraq operations
remains a consideration. For example, 2005 national elections in Spain resulted in
a new government that withdrew the Spanish contingent from Iraq immediately. The
contingents from Honduras and the Dominican Republic, which were dependent
upon Spanish forces for command and logistic support, also withdrew. Other
countries that have withdrawn all or some of their ground forces from Iraq, or have
announced intentions to do so in 2007, include Italy, Japan, Denmark, and the
Though many NATO nations have unilaterally contributed troops, the Bush
Administration’s efforts to obtain an institutional NATO commitment to providing
combat troops have proven unsuccessful. However, in January 2006, NATO
announced that all member nations are contributing to the training of Iraqi security
forces. The nature of the contributions vary by nation from the purely monetary to
training missions on-site in Iraq. NATO officials have noted that the ongoing
operations in Afghanistan, where it commands the International Security Assistance
Force, remain its primary focus.
“G.I.’s Doubt Foreign Troops Readiness,” Chicago Tribune, September 7, 2003, p. 1.