The goal of U.S. security strategy in Iraq is to develop the Iraqis’ capacity to secure their country while carrying out a campaign to defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgency.
1) Coalition Forces Continue To Transfer Responsibility For Security In Provinces To Iraqis. On December 20, responsibility for maintaining the security of An Najaf Province in southern Iraq was officially transferred to Iraqi authorities. It is the third (of eighteen) Iraqi provinces where security control is now principally in the hands of Iraqis, with Coalition forces standing ready to provide assistance if needed. Iraqi authorities assumed responsibility for security in Al Muthanna Province on July 14, 2006, and Dhi Qar Province on September 21, 2006. (See included maps). Several other provinces are close to meeting the criteria necessary for security independence.
2) Iraqi Forces Are Increasingly In The Lead. In June 2004, no Iraqi Army units were in the lead, capable of coordinating, planning and executing security operations independent of coalition forces in their own areas of responsibility. By September 2005, eleven Iraqi battalions participated in Operation Restoring Rights in Tal Afar, controlling their own battle space, and outnumbering Coalition forces for the first time in a major offensive operation. As of December 2006, 92 Iraqi Army battalions were in the lead in more than half of Iraq’s territory, with Coalition forces providing assistance in certain key roles such as logistical support. As shown in the included maps, the growth of the Iraqi Army in 2006 has been significant.
3) Iraqi Forces Continue To Grow In Number. In September 2004, there were only 96,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces. By November 2005, there were more than 212,000. As of December 2006 there are approximately 323,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces.
As noted in by the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq: “These indicators have more strategic significance than the metrics that the terrorists and insurgents want the world to use as a measure of progress or failure: number of bombings.”
In August General Casey said: “Only Iraqis can achieve enduring strategic success in Iraq. And area by area, province by province, Iraqis are assuming responsibility for securing their country. Much has been achieved and much remains to be accomplished.” He also said that “despite the efforts of those who would wrest newfound freedom from their grasp, the Iraqi people and their security forces continue to press inexorably forward.”
** Transfer Criteria **
Iraqi Security Forces: The Iraqi Security Forces in the province are studied to determine if their training, equipment and capability are capable of protecting Iraqi citizens.
Governance: The governor must be capable of overseeing security operations. A Joint Operations Room must be capable of coordinating activities. An Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Iraqi Ministry of the Interior intelligence structure must support the Iraqi Police.
Multi National Force - Iraq: MNF-I must be capable of reinforcing Iraqi Security Forces if necessary. Coalition Forces will continue to help coordinate civil reconstruction projects. MNF-I will conduct activities in conjunction with the policies of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
(Above courtesy of DoD)