NATO helps Iraq to strengthen its force planning capacity
NATO conducted a four-day workshop on 15-18 October 2018 to strengthen the Iraqi Security Forces’ ability to plan and conduct missions and tasks outlined in the country’s national security strategy. Called ‘strategic guidance mission analysis’, this is the first step of a comprehensive defence planning process aiming to help the Iraqi Security Forces adapt their current force structure to future security challenges. “NATO is one of the crucial partners helping Iraq with this process in the upcoming years,” Major General Adel, Commander of the Iraqi Army Planning Directorate said.
NATO will advise the Iraqi military planners as they develop modalities and procedures in force structure planning, helping the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to build a force structure and capabilities consistent with the country’s national security guidance. "The Iraqi Security Forces do not lack in practical experience. However, we want them to evolve and develop further, as other countries do around us. In other countries, force planning is a career path for military officers. We have to develop our own force planning units," Major General Samir, Director of the Civil-Military Cooperation Directorate of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence highlighted.
Bora Onen, from NATO's Defence Policy and Planning Division, stressed that "this is Iraq-owned work; we are here to show you the path and to help you to find an Iraqi solution." A force structure planning process is vital to build and sustain an achievable and affordable force structure and capabilities. It sets the framework for the Iraqi military to allocate staff with the right expertise, set up military structures, and identify and prioritize force capabilities, training and equipment needs, while accounting for budget constraints.
The Iraqi Security Forces are currently being restructured to become more efficient and adequately prepared to address all tasks set for them by their political leadership. Major General Adel concluded stating that, "We had a lot of questions to address when we started this week analyzing the National Security Strategy. After examining and reviewing the document, we have clarity about the next steps and missions set for the Ministry of Defence at the strategic level."
Over 40 Iraqi planners attended the workshop, representing key Ministry of Defence directorates, including Planning, Logistics, Human Resources, Budget, and Communications. Representatives of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS also attended. Additional workshop sessions are scheduled to occur in November and December 2018.
The workshops are facilitated by the NATO Core Team in Baghdad, as part of NATO’s efforts to assist the Government of Iraq reforming its national security structures, conducted under the framework of the NATO Training and Capacity Building – Iraq. In the defence planning area, NATO delivers its support in cooperation with the US’ Defense Governance and Management Team and in coordination with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
A new NATO Mission Iraq has been launched at the NATO Summit in Brussels this past July. This will be a non-combat mission led by the Canadian Major General Dany Fortin, which will build on the current training and capacity building efforts. Personnel has started to arrive in Iraq, with the new mission expected to be fully established early next year.