Leadership: Getting the Most Out Of Iraq


January 23, 2006: Costs for U.S. military operations in Iraq are up to $4.5 billion a month. The army is using a lot of this spending to pay for it's reorganization program. The major part of this reorganization is going from three combat brigades (each with three or four combat battalions) per division, to four combat brigades (with two combat battalions each). The new divisions will actually be a bit larger, because the new combat brigades, despite having one less combat battalion, have more support units, and are larger than the old ones. There are also more support units in the divisions. The army is paying for a lot of this by reorganizing the brigades as they are getting ready for Iraq service. Another thing the army is taking full advantage of is the high rate that equipment is worn out in Iraqi combat zones. The replacement gear is often new, and improved, models. Thus procurement costs related to Iraq operations went from $6.4 billion in 2004, to $19.1 billon in 2005. But perhaps the most valuable military benefit from Iraq is the experience gained. The exceptionally low casualty rates means that the United States is ending up with the largest body of combat experienced troops on the planet. Because of the large number of attacks on support troops, even they have developed combat skills, and gained combat experience that is rare for troops in these jobs. All this experience pays tremendous benefits on future battlefields.


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