MNSTC-I (II): Why it grew like Topsy
Below is an explanation from an Army officer who has served three tours in Iraq about why the training command in Iraq got so heavy in general officers. What interests me about this is that it wasn’t all mindless bureaucratic growth — one reason to send generals was to get the attention of Iraqi officers. ...
Below is an explanation from an Army officer who has served three tours in Iraq about why the training command in Iraq got so heavy in general officers. What interests me about this is that it wasn’t all mindless bureaucratic growth — one reason to send generals was to get the attention of Iraqi officers. As I recall, one reason Eisenhower was given four stars so quickly was to give him more heft with the British and other allies.
The growth at MNSTC-I is a combination of several factors and it had merit in some ways and in others it was silly. In one sense with their direct mission of working with the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior as well as the Joint Headquarters you needed some rank to get things done. The fact is that LTCs and COLs would get little traction with Iraqi Generals…which there are thousands of and many are pretty full of themselves and their importance. So to add muscle to the advisory effort you had to have a GO to GO relationship in many cases.
In addition, there are several new teams since the early days including those focused on building the Air Force, Navy, Counter Terrorism, Intelligence, contracting and other mission areas of the ISF. Where it gets weird is in the details. For example, the Air Force advisory team is growing to be about 1/3 the size of the total Iraqi Air Force. So, one “advisor” for every 3 Iraqi Airmen. That is a lot of dudes and in some ways it feels like a “war jobs” program for the Air Force to show they are in the fight.
It’s not that these aren’t all important missions and good work isn’t being done, but it gets to be quite a clash of the titans as over a dozen GO’s tussle over funding, resources and publicity for their individual efforts. I think it is one of those situations where nobody envisioned it growing like a weed but you look up one day and all of a sudden you have this huge thing.
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