Iraqi Police Priorities (Small Wars Journal)

Iraqi Police Priorities

by LTG (Ret.) James M. Dubik

Published via the Small Wars Journal.

Whether in Iraq or in the United States arguments remain as to the origins of the war as well as how it was conducted. But equally certain is this: most of the Iraqis that I’ve talked to are grateful for the American troops and families who have sacrificed so much and to the other nations of the coalition who have also contributed sons, daughters, and treasure to eliminate the Saddam regime and help create the evident progress in their country. They know that war is not over in Iraq, even if Iraq’s enemies are far weaker than they had been. They also understand that Iraqi is in a far better place today than it was in 2006, and each year finds more progress. They may be frustrated that progress is not faster or more widespread, but they are not ungrateful for the freedoms and opportunities they now have.

Acknowledging this progress, President Obama outlined a “new page” for Iraq and highlighted the importance of a continued Iraqi/US relationship. This relationship appropriately rests upon Iraq’s growing ability to “help itself,” but recognizes the essential role the US can play in Iraq’s future. I have returned to Iraq three times since I had responsibility for accelerating the growth of the Iraqi Security Forces during the 2007-8 surge, and in my view, the Ministry of Interior and the Iraqi Police Forces need assistance in the following three important priority areas.

1. The Ministry of Interior. Thanks to the efforts of the ministry’s work force and coalition assistance, the ministry’s institutions and systems are far stronger than ever before. The ministry is still underdeveloped in several critical areas, however. The quality of the ministry’s civil service system, the efficiency of ministerial bureaucratic processes, and the overall effectiveness of ministerial management practices all require more improvement. The ministry needs also to improve in the areas of strategic planning, programming and budgeting, equipment acquisition and systematic logistics, continuous training and education, and internal affairs to combat corruption. The ministry must improve its consistency in producing and promulgating national-through-local police and law enforcement standards as well as in supervising performance to those standards. These improvements are a natural part of our transformation from and Iraq under Saddam to the Iraq that all desire.

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