One of the 1st Infantry Division’s tasks
during Operation Iraqi Freedom II was to oversee the establishment
of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) within Task Force Danger’s
area of responsibility. This was a very important mission because
the ISF is essential to the successful transfer of authority
to the Iraqi people. Equipping the ISF and maintaining asset
visibility for all the equipment issued to it was, and continues
to be, a large project for the 1st Infantry Division Property
The ISF consists of four organizations: the Iraqi National Guard, the Iraqi Security
Police, the Department of Border Patrol, and the Facilities Protection Services.
The members of all four organizations were recruited from the Iraqi population,
and most of their equipment consists of weapons the recruits furnished and vehicles
This eclectic collection of equipment presented several challenges to the ISF
leaders. First, they had no way to determine combat power. The commanders had
difficulty determining which units were prepared for security operations and
which were not. Because its members brought varying amounts of equipment to the
ISF, some units were well equipped and others had very little equipment on hand.
This created an extremely difficult environment for commanders at all levels.
Second, the United States was in the process of purchasing large quantities of
equipment for the ISF. Without a good understanding of individual unit equipment
levels, it would be very difficult to field equipment to the units that had the
most pressing requirements. Finally, in order to build a professional force,
the ISF needed to develop supply discipline, which is an important component
of unit discipline. The Division Property Book Office was tasked to develop a
property management system that would address all of these shortcomings.
Gaining Control of the Equipment
The division’s first step was to gain visibility and control of the equipment
already possessed by the ISF units in the Task Force Danger area. Each unit,
in coordination with its U.S. partner unit, conducted an inventory of its equipment
and reported the information to the ISF cell located in the Division G–3.
The ISF cell, in turn, relayed the information to the Division Materiel Management
Center (DMMC) and the Division Property Book Office. After this information was
gathered and consolidated, the Property Book Office began building a property
book for the ISF forces using the Standard Property Book System–Redesign.
Once accountability was established, copies of the 60 primary hand receipts were
sent to the U.S. partner units for distribution to, and validation with, the
At the same time, sub-hand receipts and individual clothing and equipment documents
were prepared and distributed in both Arabic and English. This allowed the Iraqis
to begin establishing accountability and supply discipline at the unit level.
from the 1st Infantry Division’s 701st Main
Support Battalion pull security as an explosive ordnance
disposal team destroys a roadside improvised explosive
device (IED) during a combat logistics patrol transporting
Equipping the Force
The most difficult and dangerous part of building the ISF was receiving their
equipment and fielding it to them. The ISF lacked most of the equipment needed
to maintain a credible force. The Multinational Coalition-Iraq established
distribution center for all ISF equipment at Forward Operating Base
in Taji, which is just north of Baghdad and approximately
130 kilometers south of Forward Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit. Because
the 1st Infantry DMMC and Property Book Office were located at Forward Operating
Base Speicher, that base was chosen as the distribution center for all ISF
in Task Force Danger’s area of responsibility.
The Division Property Book Office, along with the division’s ammunition
and general supply offices, conducted several combat logistics patrols from Tikrit
to Taji in an effort to fill the ISF’s equipment needs. As equipment
was received, it was prepared for issue and provided to the ISF units when
Receiving and issuing equipment is an ongoing process. After each receipt of
equipment, the DMMC develops a distribution plan and coordinates issue of the
equipment to the ISF units through the U.S. partner units. Before the equipment
is issued, the partner unit and ISF representative conduct a joint inventory.
The equipment then is issued to the ISF representative, who then sub-hand receipts
it to the individual units.
At first, the Iraqis had little concept of maintaining accountability and responsibility
for equipment in their possession. They wanted the equipment; they just didn’t
want to sign for it. However, over time they made significant progress and
now have a much better understanding of the requirements and benefits of equipment
Maintaining the Force
At first, the ISF property records were maintained in one Standard Property
Book System–Redesign system at the Division Property Book Office. Once
the ISF units were established and the influx of new equipment slowed, the
Book Officer decided to use a team method similar to the one used by the 1st
Infantry Division to manage its property. The division places a property book
team inside each brigade combat team (BCT), collocating each property book
team with the forward support battalion supporting that brigade. This has worked
well for the geographically dispersed BCTs. The team chiefs have better knowledge
of the commands they support, and, because of the collocation, units travel
less for support.
from the 1st Infantry Division Property Book Office
issue weapons to ISF soldiers.
Accounting for ISF equipment is an additional duty for the
1st Infantry Division property book teams. Each team is
responsible for a BCT and all ISF units collocated
with it. They maintain the Standard Property Book System–Redesign records
with input from ISF soldiers and the U.S. partner units. The original plan
was to have ISF soldiers stationed with each team. However, because of the
of finding an ISF soldier who could use a computer and read and write English,
Overseeing the establishment of the ISF units has been a unique and challenging
mission. Soldiers rarely have the opportunity to help establish a military organization
from scratch. Each day brings new improvements in both the capabilities of the
ISF units and the supply discipline they practice. In 3 months, the ISF transitioned
from an underequipped, nascent organization to a better equipped, more disciplined
force. They still have a long journey ahead, but the foundations have been laid.
By January 2005, the ISF in the Task Force Danger area had received over 70,000
major end items, including 25,000 weapons, nearly 4,500 radios, and over 1,800
vehicles. They also had developed a better understanding and appreciation for
property accountability and asset visibility practices. ALOG
Chief Warrant Officer (W–3) Brian Edwards is the Assistant Division Property
Book Officer for the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) and is currently deployed
to Iraq. He holds a master’s degree in business management from Bowie State
University in Maryland.