"As a result of DOD’s lack of clarity, Congress and other decision makers may not obtain a clear picture" of the rate of progress Iraqi security forces are making towards independence, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
Regarding their own assessment of the ISF's progress towards independence, the GAO's conclusion comes as no surprise:
While the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior, with Coalition assistance, made some progress since August 2006 in developing their respective logistics, command and control, and intelligence capabilities—for example, the MOD has formed most of its lower echelon logistics units and the MOI has established an intelligence organization—persistent violence and sectarianism, along with immature ministerial capacity, continue to impede this progress.
GOA warns that since these critical functions have yet to be fully developed, leaving Iraqi security largely reliant on American troops for support, Pentagon claims that Iraqi units are either “independent” or “fully independent” are "confusing and misleading."
"Although we are not discounting DOD reports that there are some ISF units that are more capable than others from an operational standpoint, we do not find sufficient evidence for an assessment of “independent” or “fully independent” for any ISF unit," GAO says.
"Moreover, without clarity regarding the criteria according to which ISF units are assessed as independent, especially with regard to their logistical, command and control, and intelligence capabilities, Congress cannot have clear visibility over DOD’s role in assisting the ISF in becoming independent of Coalition support."
GAO recommends DoD clarify its manner of readiness classifications for the ISF, and make the process it uses to arrive at the determination more transparent.
The Pentagon partially concurred with both recommendations, writing in a response from Brig. Gen. Robin Rand that DOD "will evaluate the assessment terminology to more clearly describe progress in capability development for the Iraqi forces."
Operation Iraqi Freedom: DOD Assessment of Iraqi Security Forces’ Units as Independent Not Clear Because ISF Support Capabilities Are Not Fully Developed d08143r.pdf