The XVIII Airborne Corps on the Ground in Iraq

By Vines, John R. | Military Review, September/October 2006 | Go to article overview

The XVIII Airborne Corps on the Ground in Iraq


Vines, John R., Military Review


FROM JANUARY 2005 to January 2006, XVIII Airborne Corps served as the nucleus of Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I). The Corps deployed with an experienced staff of officers and NCOs who had spent time in Afghanistan or Iraq, and it went through extensive training and preparation; however, it quickly became clear once we got in country that this deployment would present unique challenges.1

The intent here is to offer observations, lessons learned, and recommendations based on our rotation. As a professional staff we have an obligation to share our thoughts with leaders and organizations that continue to support our military's "Long War" strategy for winning the Global War on Terrorism.

After a brief review of the Corps' year in Iraq, this article will focus specifically on three areas: the operational environment; battle command and the challenges in achieving a common relevant picture in a dynamic electronic warfare domain; and reengineering our existing Live-Virtual-Constructive (L-V-C) processes to better prepare Soldiers and units for deployment.

Looking Back

Iraq held a national election in January 2005 that was preceded by significant coalition combat operations in Ramadi, Fallujah, and Najaf. In the wake of these kinetic operations, observers questioned whether conditions were right for an election, but Iraqi citizens came out in record numbers and, despite threats against their lives, voted for a new and free Iraq.

After the elections, there was a lull before the Iraqi Transitional Government formed and its ministers were appointed. Some had underestimated the challenges of establishing the government and the elements of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Maintaining the momentum of those elections would be a key mission.

When the Corps arrived, Saddamists and members of the former government and army were identified as the principle threat. This view changed in the spring, when a wave of suicide attacks pointed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's (AMZ) Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) as the primary threat to the successful establishment of a legitimate government. Some Corps elements were specifically focused on AQI. To support this effort, the Multi-National Force Commander directed that Iraqi control of the border be reestablished by November. His three broad themes were: AQI out, Sunni in, and ISF in the lead. Kinetic operations were only a part of this process, as information operations were employed to inform the Iraqi populace.

Intelligence emerged of a network that moved foreign suicide bombers through infiltration routes in the Western Euphrates and Tigris River Valleys to attack Ramadi, Fallujah, Baghdad, and Mosul. Some of those infiltrators attacked Shi'a at mosques, markets, and where large groups collected. Zarqawi released a letter in July declaring that Shiites were legitimate targets and that any Sunnis killed in attacks were acceptable collateral damage. This letter confirmed AMZ's willingness to kill innocent Iraqi citizens to advance his goal of establishing a caliphate.

Consequently, our operations shifted northwest to Sinjar and Tal Afar. A regiment was sent to Multi-National Division-Northwest, where it was partnered with an Iraqi division.

Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) from all four services and some coalition partners were sent to facilitate the training of Iraqi forces. Linkages to the other elements of the government remained latent or immature.

Much effort was given to develop a means to gauge the readiness of Iraqi forces. A Training Readiness Assessment (similar to our own Unit Status Report) was developed that was an entirely new tool for the Iraqis. Under Saddam, it was extremely dangerous to identify shortcomings, so the report represented a significant cultural shift. Another key event occurred in May, when the Iraqi Ground Force Headquarters was created. That fall, the headquarters executed its first operation, and with good success.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The XVIII Airborne Corps on the Ground in Iraq
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.