The United States in Iraq

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peAceBrIeF88 United States Institute of Peace ã www.usip.org ã Tel. 202.457.1700 ã Fax. 202.429.6063 May 16, 2011 UNITED STaTES INSTITUTE of pEacE Sean Kane E-mail: skane@usip.org Phone: 202.429.3891 The United States in Iraq: Options for 2012 Summary ã With U.S. military forces scheduled to depart Iraq in December of this year, the State Department and other civilian agencies are being asked to assume a scale of operational and programmatic responsibilities far beyond any other embassy in r
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  Unitd Stats Institut of Pac ã www.usip.og ã Tl. 202.457.1700 ã Fax. 202.429.6063 UNITED STaTES INSTITUTE of pEacE © USIP 2011 ã All rights reserved. “ Th lssons larndrom winding down th Iraqwar ould hl to inormth shduld transition inAghanistan by 2014, as wllas utur ass whr ivilianagnis tak ovr rom thmilitary in ost-onfit orost-disastr sttings. ” May 16, 2011 The United States in Iraq:Options for 2012 Summary With U.S. military orces scheduled to depart Iraq in December o this year, the State ã Department and other civilian agencies are being asked to assume a scale o operational andprogrammatic responsibilities ar beyond any other embassy in recent memory. The capacity o the U.S. civilian agencies to assume these responsibilities does not now ully ã exist. Notably, securing and moving U.S. civilians will require more than 5,000 security con-tractors. A limited U.S. military contingent post-2011 may well be more cost-eective thanprivate security guards and could also relieve State and other civilian agencies o logistical andsecurity responsibilities. This would enable them to ocus on their comparative advantages:diplomacy and development assistance.Planning or the post-2011 U.S. mission in Iraq, however, remains hampered by uncertainty as ã to whether the Iraqi government will request an extension o the American military presencein the country. A small ollow-on U.S. military orce would appear to saeguard Iraqi stabil-ity and make the achievement o U.S. strategic objectives in Iraq more likely, but cannot becounted on. Should such a request not be received rom the Iraqi government, the U.S. mayneed to reduce the planned scale and scope o its operations and goals in Iraq. The U.S. in Iraq Today  The U.S. role in Iraq is transitioning rom military-led to civilian-led with ambitious goals that embodythe once unthinkable hope or positive outcomes rom a domestically polarizing conict: an Iraqthat is sovereign, stable, sel-reliant and can contribute to peace and security in a region o the worldvital to U.S. interests. With a December 2011 deadline looming or the withdrawal o U.S. troops, theUnited States and the new Iraqi government are attempting to dene how a long-term strategicpartnership across the diplomatic, economic, security and cultural elds can urther these goals. This military-to-civilian transition in Iraq involves the State Department and a plethora o civilianagencies taking on tasks ranging rom traditional diplomacy and development assistance to policementoring, military modernization, and managing and providing protection to an estimated17,000 employees and contractors in an improving but still lethal environment. Adding to analready challenging situation on the ground, the unique nature o the current scal cycle hasurther increased the degree o difculty by creating uncertainty as to what resources will be madeavailable to the State Department to accomplish its new multiaceted mission. S ean K  ane E-mail: skane@usip.orgPhone: 202.429.3891 W illiam T aylor E-mail: wtaylor@usip.orgPhone: 202.429.3871 peAce BrIeF 88  © USIP 2011 ã All rights reserved. The United States in Iraq: Options for 2012 page 2 ã PB 88 ã May 16, 2011 In a time o unparalleled nancial and economic pressures at home, there are no easy ways toescape this conundrum. Yet the stakes are high. The success or ailure o the military-to-civiliantransition will determine not just whether the U.S. achieves some return on its costly eight-yearinvestment in Iraq, but also represents a testing ground or the U.S.’s ability or war termination o the asymmetrical conicts that dened the rst decade o the 21st century. The lessons learnedrom winding down the Iraq war could help to inorm the scheduled transition in Aghanistan by2014, as well as uture cases where civilian agencies take over rom the military in post-conict orpost-disaster settings. The New Diplomatic Mission State Department ofcials 1 have described their complex new mission in Iraq as based on our pillars: Broader Diplomatic Presence: ã Faced with the daunting task o replacing the 126 military bas-es and 16 Provincial Reconstruction Teams when U.S. combat operations ended in August2010, the new diplomatic mission will be the largest in the world. The plan publicly outlinedin February by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jerey included 15 sites around the country,including two consulates, two temporary Embassy Branch ofces, three air hubs, threepolice training centers and ve Ofce o Security Cooperation sites. This broad diplomaticpresence—still much less than the U.S. military presence even now—was described asnecessary to give the U.S. government situational awareness around the country, managepolitical crises in potential hotspots such as Kirkuk, and provide a platorm or deliveringeconomic, development and security assistance. In the years to come, the State Depart-ment will likely ace a similar operational challenge as the U.S. military in Aghanistan handso security responsibility. Development Assistance: ã USAID development programs, USDA agricultural advice and theprovision o American technical know-how to help Iraqis more eectively use their humanand natural resources are symbolic o the new relationship Iraq seeks with the United Statesand the rest o the world. The Strategic Framework Agreement signed between the U.S. andIraq in 2008 provides an aspirational roadmap or the delivery o American assistance underthe new mission and is in many ways the bedrock o the uture relationship between thetwo countries. A similar ramework document to provide basic guidance on shared Ameri-can-Aghan priorities on the civilian side could be helpul in organizing a uture military-to-civilian transition in Aghanistan. Police Development: ã In October 2011, responsibility or training Iraq’s police will shit romthe Department o Deense to the State Department’s Bureau o International Narcoticsand Law Enorcement Aairs (INL). INL, the Department o Justice and others will work on proessionalizing police management and shiting the police rom counterinsurgencyoperations to community policing and rule o law reorm. The goal is a police orce that, un-like in Egypt or Tunisia, protects the population rather than the state. Police developmentis thereore key to building a stable Iraqi democracy and is planned to include some 190advisers around the country. Modernization of the Iraqi Security Forces: ã Later this year an estimated 200-person Ofceo Security Cooperation–Iraq (OSC-I) in the U.S. Embassy will take over rom USF-I as themechanism or providing assistance to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The 650,000-strongISF is judged as largely capable o maintaining internal security but as possessing key gapsin external deense, including an inability to maintain air sovereignty or to conduct thecombined arms operations that would be necessary to deend Iraq’s borders rom an externalattack. 2 The danger is not that Iraq will actually be invaded, but that its well-known external  © USIP 2011 ã All rights reserved. The United States in Iraq: Options for 2012 page 3 ã PB 88 ã May 16, 2011 vulnerabilities will leave it open to coercive diplomacy and intererence in its internal aairsby the region. The OSC-I will help ll these gaps by managing a $13 billion Foreign MilitarySales program, training the ISF on weapons systems, carrying out joint U.S.-Iraqi militaryexercises, and implementing military exchange and proessionalization programs. Someanalogue to the OSC-I will likely be considered in Aghanistan in the coming years (a similarofce already exists in the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan).Even this short sketch illustrates why the State Department’s top management ofcial ac-curately describes the scale o the transition challenge in Iraq as “…a major endeavor…withoutprecedent.” 3 In this context, it is important to constantly evaluate current plans and whether theyrepresent the optimal alignment o American strategic interests in Iraq, the planned scope o thenew diplomatic mission, and whether the resources are available to carry it out. Similarly, thischallenging calculus will likely be repeated in Aghanistan ater 2014, particularly i the currenteconomic conditions persist at home.Prior to perorming this evaluation, it is worthwhile to briey recall the signicant tasks still beingperormed by the approximately 47,000 U.S. orces remaining in Iraq. Under Operation New Dawn,which began ollowing the ormal end o U.S. combat operations in August 2010, U.S. orces are: Training, equipping, advising and supporting the ISF; ã Conducting partnered counterterrorism operations with Iraqi orces; and ã Protecting and enabling U.S. and international civilian partners in their continued capacity ã building eorts. 4 While the U.S. military is no longer engaged in conventional war ghting in Iraq, it is also notlimited to the purely advisory security and deense cooperation role seen in other embassiesaround the world. Rather, under Operation New Dawn, the U.S. military is playing an operationalrole as enablers or the ISF and other parts o the U.S. government and international community. U.S. Iraq Scenarios Post-2011  The central external uncertainty hanging over planning the military-to-civilian transition in Iraqis whether the Iraqi government will request a ollow-on U.S. military presence ater the currentSecurity Agreement expires in December 2011. Such a request or a continued U.S. troop presencecould have substantial implications or the scope o mission that the State Department is requiredto take on. Given Congress’s greater propensity to und Deense appropriation requests, it couldalso aect the total envelope o resources made available or U.S. government operations in Iraq. These basic uncertainties necessitate scenario planning or the two eventualities o either U.S.orces going to zero in December 2011 or a new Security Agreement being negotiated. Scenario I—No New Security Agreement   The U.S. strategic objective o an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, sel-reliant and able to contribute topeace and security in the region is potentially at risk i the USF-I reduces to zero in December. RyanCrocker, ormer U.S. ambassador to Iraq, has stated that the civilian capacity does not exist to takeon the “vast array o roles and missions” that the military has so ar perormed. 5 Notwithstandingthis, it remains important or the United States to demonstrate its respect or Iraqi sovereignty bycontinuing to honor commitments made in the Security Agreement to ully withdraw its troops onschedule unless otherwise requested.In this scenario, additional steps are required to ameliorate risks to U.S. strategic objectivesin Iraq. First, the under-resourcing o the U.S. Embassy, including OSC-I, USAID and the army  © USIP 2011 ã All rights reserved. The United States in Iraq: Options for 2012 page 4 ã PB 88 ã May 16, 2011 o private security contractors needed to protect embassy personnel, must be addressed. Nodiplomatic mission in recent memory has been asked to undertake the range o tasks the U.S.Embassy is expected to take on ater December 2011 and the resources provided do not match therequirements. 6 Second, a reduction in scope o the planned mission may be required as is report-edly already being considered with respect to the INL Police Development Program and the twoproposed Embassy Branch Ofces in Kirkuk and Mosul. 7   The State Department’s comparative advantage is in politics, diplomacy and development. Itsmanagement, contracting and logistics capability to operate 15 sites in an active war zone hasalready come under heavy scrutiny. 8 Despite the potential loss to U.S. situational awareness, a lessambitious operational ootprint around the country may enable the department to better concen-trate on what it does best. Finally, the current American military presence in Iraq provides not justcrucial air and intelligence assets to the ISF, but also promotes ISF proessionalization and helps tomoderate political ault lines, such as Arab-Kurd tensions in northern Iraq.Contingency plans should be developed to mitigate the loss o these benets such as expandingthe NATO Training Mission in Iraq, substantially increasing the size o OSC-I, reviewing the theaterreserve, and prepositioning equipment in Iraq to acilitate crisis management during the transition. Scenario II—New Security Agreement  While Iraqis understandably do not want oreign troops on their soil any longer than necessary,a limited ollow-on U.S. military presence in Iraq ater December 2011 would appear to benetIraqi stability and U.S. strategic objectives. However, it is not yet clear politically whether the Iraqigovernment will request a new Security Agreement on a basis that meets minimal U.S. require-ments. In considering the terms o any Iraqi request, U.S. decision makers should be open to atime-bound agreement. U.S. commanders in Iraq have indicated that while the deadlines in thecurrent Security Agreement presented uncomortable tactical challenges, they also had strategi-cally benecial eects by driving better planning, orcing improved partnering with the ISF andcivilian agencies, and sending a strong message regarding respect or Iraq sovereignty.Under Scenario II, a limited U.S. military presence could take the lead on ISF modernizationactivities and continue to temporarily play an enabling role in ISF operations and lling externaldeense gaps. As it does under Operation New Dawn, USF-I could also provide orce protection tothe expanded American diplomatic mission. Given limitations in the State Department’s budget-ing and contract oversight capabilities, it is assumed that this option would prove more costeective and accountable than the estimated 5,500 security guards that the State Department willrequire to protect and move its diplomats ater December 2011. 9 At present it is difcult to quantiy the magnitude o any savings to the State Department’s $3.7billion FY 2012 request or operations in Iraq that would result rom the USF-I continuing to provideorce protection. In order to better inorm lawmakers and planning eorts, the State and DeenseDepartments should consider developing such an estimate. In addition to any direct cost savings, aUSF-I security platorm could better justiy the remaining expenses associated with the 15-site planby acilitating greater reedom o movement by American diplomats. Most importantly, reed romactivities such as operating mortar deense systems and driving advanced mine-protection vehicles,State could better concentrate on its core diplomatic and development competencies. Conclusion Even while Iraqi leaders have expressed complicated views on security cooperation with theUnited States and clear reservations on requesting a continued American military presence in
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