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Maritime Logistics Community News : December 2008
30 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SPRING 2008 Logistics in the Iraqi Army: The Good oil Our travels began right after we posted out from the Navy’s premier training facility, HMAS CERBERUS, located at Crib Point, victoria. After passing out of category school on the 10 August 2007 we went to our different postings, three of us SMNSN Ricky Anderson, SMNSN Holly Johnstone and myself were posted to HMAS WATERHEN in Sydney. In the green dominated world of joint operations and more importantly joint logistics, it is a rare occurrence to have a LCDR SU deploy into an Army Headquarters. In fact, it is the first time that the Iraqi Army (IA) headquarters (known as the Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC)) has had a Navy logistician embedded within its HQ. This came about in late 2006 when the current Corp Loggie (C4) Australian billet at the Multi-National Corps – Iraq (MNC-I) transitioned the billet from MNC-I into IGFC to assist with the transition of the IA infantry divisions being handed over to Iraqi control and provided an opportunity for Australian logisticians to serve as a logistics advisor to the IA G4 cell, but more of this later. For those of you who have only deployed to the MEAO via the Arabian Gulf and have never had the experience of working in sunny Baghdad, here is some background information. Life on the Victory Complex Camp victory is the central camp that houses the General’s Quarters and vIP accommodation, Al Faw Palace, and more importantly the Aussie contingent. Without a doubt we have the best accommodation site at victory; the Aussies are mainly accommodated in preserved Iraqi buildings complete with the resplendent Aussie Island Pool and BBQ area. Living in the desert is no fun; the dust is unforgiving and gets into everything: clothes, hair, buildings, computers and laptops. The barometer can reach over 50 degrees during August but with little to no humidity it is bearable – just. Thankfully the pool is open most of the time and offers a welcome relief on those hot evenings. Aussie Island also has a gym and if you wanted to really hit the weights, the US Gym is accessible. But it just wouldn’t be a US base if there wasn’t a fast food section next to the gym, would it? A Pizza Hut, a Burger King and other outlets are within a cooee of the weights. The Iraqi Army Aside from the recreational activities, there is an Army to be supported logistically. The IA currently consists of 11 infantry divisions with plans to expand to 13 divisions. As a rough guide, the basic building block of an Army unit is a section, which consists of around 10 troops. Working on the Army complex number of 3, we can rollup units at each level. With each level there is a command element added to have C2 responsibilities over each unit. Therefore the following unit rollups are as follows: • 3 Sections make a platoon (30 Pers) • 3 Platoons make a Company (120 Pers) • 3 Companies make a Battalion (600 Pers) • 3 Battalions make a Brigade (3000 Pers) • 3 Brigades make a Division (12, 000 Pers) • 3 Divisions make an Army. The Iraqi Logistics System The IA logistic system is ‘based’ primarily on a western supply chain. When the IA dissolved in 2004, all previous logistics and maintenance systems were discarded. Under the new Coalition system, the logistics and maintenance systems were established based on western philosophy. This has led to challenges for IA officers and staff who struggle to understand the new process and prefer to revert to old habits. The simple logistic concept is very similar to the Australian approach where you have a Central Warehouse Complex, Regional Support Units (RSU) and Garrison Support Units (GSU) closer to the unit level. Units demand equipment, spares and parts as required and these are then transported down to the unit to meet the demand. This concept map explains the simple method in clearly a not-so-simple way. Supply Support Supply support is defined as the procurement, receipting, warehousing, issue and accounting of adequate stocks across all stores, commodities, and classes of supply (as appropriate) in accordance with a sustainability statement and/or stockholding policy. Lines of Supply Support Within the Iraqi Armed Forces, there are four lines of supply support as follows: • First Line - Provided by the supply element integral to the organization (for example, the supply platoon of the organisation’s Headquarters and Services Company). • Second Line - Provided by the Supply Company within any Logistic Battalion supporting a formation. G4 STAFF. SPEAKS vERY GOOD ENGLISH AND LOvES HIS IRAQI SOCCER TEAM • Third Line - Provided by the supply element of the supporting RSU. • Fourth Line - Provided by the National Depot at Tadji. BY LCdR dEAN MCCoRMACK EdITEd BY SBLT KELLI LUNT The Australian Army consists of 6 Battalions (Regiments) and will be expanding to 8 Regiments. The ARA does not fill 3 Brigades, therefore it is not classified as a full infantry division. The IA is soon to be 13 times the size of the Australian Army. An organisation of this size requires a robust supply chain to support this many troops currently engaged with the enemy. Many of the logistic problems I faced were of such a simple nature but eventually led to ones of more complexity.