View Full Version : Engineer, Construction, Build, Infrastructure tasks for Iraq & Afghan Security Forces

Rob Thornton
11-30-2009, 04:25 PM
I know we have a diverse readership here on the SWJ/SWC and as one who has often participated I need to ask a favor of some of you in the community who I may not be able to reach by other means.

For those who don't know me I work at the Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance at Fort Leavenworth, KS. We are Center of Excellence that looks for the best practices associated with developing foreign security forces for the purpose of helping DoD incorporate it into the way it does business - which by extension helps force providers generate the better capabilities to support operational requirements.

There has been some good work done by many folks to help DoD better understand what are the range of tasks those serving in advisor positions have been asked to do, and there has also been some good work on what tasks units are doing to assist foreign security force partners with overcoming conditions.

An area we don't have allot on is the construction, building/rebuilding, infrastructure support and contracting done by U.S. and other allies in support of developing capabilities. We know these tasks have been undertaken from a variety of units and leaders, some of them directly done, some of them contracted out (where possible to local companies to build economic capacity). We know that in some cases its been the building of Combat Outposts, training sites, HQs, barracks, installation support (sewage, heating and other life support issues) - but we also suspect there are more that don't fit easily into a category.

We are looking for details like the tasks or project name, what type of unit did it, how did it turn out, what were the hang ups (wrong type of unit/capability to task, not enough money, poorly written contract, etc.), they type of foreign security force it supported, and other considerations like terrain. It may even have supported a requirements like creating a base of operations for a partner unit, an advisory team (MiTT/BTT/PTT/NPTT or the OEF equivalent).

You can reply on this thread, or if you think the post / information would raise OPSEC or other concerns, please email them to me @


I hope to have a lessons learned or OIL tab on JCISFA's public page soon.

SOWs (Statement of Work), or other example documents you can attach would be greatly appreciated. The goal is to inform a guide being written on infrastructure development to help units learn from our past.

Thanks, Rob

12-01-2009, 05:36 PM
No promises...

USACE Gulf Regional Division (http://www.grd.usace.army.mil/index.asp)

Mission Statement (http://www.grd.usace.army.mil/divisioninfo/Mission.asp)

GRD provides engineer expertise, manages contract construction, develops partnerships with designated Government of Iraq Ministries, and builds engineering and construction capacity in the Iraqi theater of operations...

Iraq Transition Assistance Office (ITAO) (http://iraq.usembassy.gov/iraq/itao.html)


The Iraq Transition Assistance Office (ITAO) provides a programming and oversight role to executive departments and agencies in concluding the remaining large infrastructure projects in Iraq. In addition, ITAO works in concert with the various Mission elements to facilitate Iraq's transition to self-sufficiency, as well as assist in maintaining an effective diplomatic presence in Iraq and throughout the region. The chief activities for ITAO are:

Providing support to the US Mission and implementing agencies to hasten transition to Iraqi self-sufficiency. This support includes the provision of Ministerial and Management Capacity Development Programs in order to improve core functions of the Government of Iraq. ITAO also provides Subject Matter Expert advisors to each of the Iraqi Ministries to supplement capacity development efforts.

Coordinating oversight of the Iraq Reconstruction Relief Fund (IRRF). IRRF I & II includes roughly $21 billion in US funds, appropriated specifically for the reconstruction of key sites in Iraq’s infrastructure. Reconstruction projects cover repairs to Iraq’s vast oil pipeline network; construction of new water treatment facilities to provide services to all of Iraq’s population; and rehabilitation of the national electrical grid. While the majority of IRRF has been spent, a select few projects do remain. In addition, ITAO coordinates Ministerial capacity training, as well as sustainment funds for operations and maintenance.

CIMIC Centre of Excellence (http://www.cimic-coe.org/)

The CCOECivil-Military Cooperation Centre Of Excellence is a multinational sponsored, NATO accredited, Centre of Excellence. It provides added value, innovative and timely advice, and subject matter expertise on CIMIC for both civilian and military customers. The primary focuses of the organisation’s efforts are in enhanced education and training along with conceptual and doctrinal development.

Rob Thornton
12-01-2009, 07:27 PM
Steve, thanks - its a start. I'll pass it to our AF ENG who is working on the guide.

Best, Rob

12-01-2009, 09:35 PM

Why not look at the possibly better documented role of engineers in UN peacekeeping missions and under various "hats" the work in Bosnia?

I can recall the Slovak Army engineers gathered a reputation for road building in Bosnia (in the SFOR era) and somewhere on SWC is an item on Kenyan troops (engineers?) in body recovery on the Eritrean-Ethiopian border.

Rob Thornton
12-01-2009, 10:06 PM
David nice catch. I know our guy has tapped some of the Bosnia stuff, but I doubt he's hit all of it. He has also hit some of the schools up, unfortunately there is a lot of undocumented stuff in theater that came out in FRAGOs or was sent out electronically and never made the loop back to the generating force.

This is broader than just this category, we've run into some cases where significant ammounts of good information was just deleted to make machines run faster. Often there are no formal processes for archiving, collecting, categorizing and then getting the information to folks for analysis at the unit level. While there are some lessons learned organizations that are doing good work, there is still I think a large ammount that just goes away.

Best, Rob