Logistics: Bureaucratic Shortcomings in Iraq


July 23, 2006: Perhaps the most serious problem hampering the development of an effective army in Iraq is the absence of an efficient bureaucracy. U.S. military advisors, generally wary of bureaucracy, given their experience with the bloated Department of Defense back home, have found that Iraq is desperately in need of some. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MOD) is plagued by a shortage of personnel, rampant corruption, and poor work habits. The last is particularly irksome. There have been cases in which Iraq troops in the middle of operations have not received rations or even ammunition, because some office in the MOD closed down for the day�"or even for the weekend�"before finishing the necessary paperwork. Making matters worse, since the MOD and the Iraqi Army both lack "service troops," even when the paperwork gets done properly, the contractor selected to deliver the goods may have knocked off for the weekend as well. While American advisors have developed ways to get around these problems (mostly by relying on U.S. units and supply lines), this bureaucratic weakness remains a major obstacle to developing an effective Iraqi Army.


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