Iraqi Ground Forces Command

Iraqi Ground Forces Command
Iraqi Joint Forces Command

Ground Forces Emblem
Active 2006-present
Country Iraq
Type Formation (military)
Part of Iraqi Army
Garrison/HQ Victory Base Complex
Lt. General Ali Gheedan
Lt. Gen. Abdul-Qadar
Ground Forces flag

The Ground Forces Command at Victory Base Complex near Baghdad Airport is the most important fighting formation in the Iraqi Army. The headquarters of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command and the Iraqi Joint Forces Command are the same entity.

Since 2006, the Ground Forces Command has supervised the bulk of the military units of the army.


From 2003 until 2006, the units of the reforming Iraqi Army had been under U.S. Army operational control. Their formation had been managed by the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team, which then became part of Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq. After they became operational, they had been transferred to the operational control of Multi-National Corps Iraq or one of its subordinate formations.

On May 3, 2006 a significant command-and-control development took place. The Iraqi Army command and control center opened in a ceremony at the IFGC headquarters at Camp Victory.[1] The IGFC was established to exercise command and control of assigned Iraqi Army forces and, upon assuming Operational Control, to plan and direct operations to defeat the Iraqi insurgency. At the time, the IFGC was commanded by Lt. Gen. Abdul-Qadar. The JHQ-AST (Joint Headquarters Advisory Support Team) had been established in 2004 to guide the IGFC/IJFHQ through this process. The JHQ-AST was a subordinate element of MNSTC-I. The Advisory Support Team's mission was described as to 'mentor and assist the Iraqi Joint Headquarters in order to become capable of exercising effective national command and control of the Iraqi Armed Forces, contributing to the capability development process, and contributing to improving the internal security situation within Iraq in partnership with coalition forces.'[2]

In 2006 the ten planned divisions began to be certified and assume battlespace responsibility: the 6th and 8th before June 26, 2006, the 9th on June 26, 2006, the 5th on July 3, 2006, the 4th on August 8, 2006, and the 2nd on December 21, 2006.

After divisions were certified, they began to be transferred from U.S. operational control to Iraqi control of the IGFC. On 7 September 2006, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a document taking control of Iraq's small naval and air forces and the 8th Division of the Iraqi Army, based in the south.

At a ceremony marking the occasion, Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq stated "From today forward, the Iraqi military responsibilities will be increasingly conceived and led by Iraqis." Previously, the U.S.-led Multi-National Force Iraq, commanded by Casey, gave orders to the Iraqi armed forces through a joint American-Iraqi headquarters and chain of command. Senior U.S. and coalition officers controlled army divisions but smaller units were commanded by Iraqi officers. After the handover, the chain of command flows directly from the prime minister in his role as Iraqi commander in chief, through his Defense Ministry to an Iraqi military headquarters, the Iraqi Joint Forces Command. From there, the orders go to Iraqi units on the ground. The other nine Iraqi divisions remain under U.S. command, with authority gradually being transferred.

U.S. military officials said there was no specific timetable for the transition. U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said it would be up to al-Maliki to decide "how rapidly he wants to move along with assuming control...They can move as rapidly thereafter as they want. I know, conceptually, they've talked about perhaps two divisions a month."[3]

After the 8th Division's transfer on September 7, 2006, the 3rd Division was transferred on December 1, 2006.[4] Another unspecified division also was transferred to IGFC control.[5]

Also transferred to the Iraqi chain of command were smaller logistics units: on November 1, 2006, the 5th Motor Transport Regiment (MTR) was the fifth of nine MTRs to be transferred to the Iraqi Army divisions. 2007 plans included, MNF-I said, great efforts to make the Iraqi Army able to sustain itself logistically.[6]

Transfers of divisions to IGFC control continued in 2007: the 1st Division on February 15, the 10th Division on February 23, and the 7th Division on November 1. The new 14th Division also held its opening ceremony in Basrah on November 14, 2007.[7]

Ministerial Order #151, dated 19 February 2008, directed that the brigades of all the divisions be renumbered sequentially. Instead of each division have 1st/2nd/3rd/4th Brigades, each brigade has a unique identifying number.

Staff Organisation

Forces under Command

It should be noted that the IGFC does not control all the fighting formations of the Iraqi Army. The Baghdad Operational Command reports separately to the National Operations Center. "The 9th (Mechanized) Division has the entire army armoured (tank) capability. It is ethnically diverse. Some of the battalions of the 10th Division are manned by Shi’a militia."[9]

It appears, from January 2010 reports, that the Operational Commands are to be the basis for future Iraqi Army corps.[10]

Iraqi Ground Force Command (IGFC)[11]

An Iraqi Army Ashok Leyland Truck of Indian Origin
Members of the Iraqi Army 3rd Brigade, 14th Division march during their graduation ceremony on February 13, 2008. Five weeks after graduation, the brigade took part in Operation Knight's Assault.


  1. "Iraqi command and control center opens doors amidst turnover of new territory". Multi-National Force - Iraq. 2006-05-04. Archived from the original on 2006-07-08.
  2. Anthony Cordesman and Patrick Baetjer, 'Iraqi Security Forces: A Strategy for Success,' Praeger Security International, Westport, Conn., 2006, p.93
  3. "Iraq assumes command of military today". USA Today. Associated Press. 7 September 2006.
  4. "US hands over control of Iraq military-Iraq Updates". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  5. "Iraqis to Command Four Northern Divisions by February, U.S. General Says, U.S. Department of defense, December 1, 2006". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  6. MTRs transferred in order of event: 8th, 4th, 6th, 5th and 1st (2 Nov). IA 5th MTR driving toward success - Daily article on, 20 November 2006.
  7. ""Operational Update: Gen. Zibari, Adnan al-Asadi, Lt. Gen. Dubik, Maj. Gen. Bergner, Nov. 21", MNF-I Press Briefing November 21 2007". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  8. Source: House Armed Services Committee, "THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE OF BUILDING THE IRAQI SECURITY FORCES," , 27 June 2007, page 98
  9. DJ Elliott, January 2010
  10. "Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle (OOB)". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  11. Microsoft Word - OOBpage5-IGFC-M.rtf
  12. DJ Elliott, Iraqi Order of Battle, Montrose Toast, February 2010
  13. IGFC Kirkuk/Baqubah Sector - Long War Journal
  14. "Daily story on MNF-I Webpage, August 9, 2006". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  15. "The Advisor, MNSTC-I Newsletter, July 8, 2006" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-11-12.
  16. DJ Elliott, Iraqi Army Southern Forces, page 5, 28 February 2010
  17. MNF-I Press Release: Basrah IA division transfers to Iraqi command. February 23, 2007 For additional views of this division, see Colonel Duncan Barley, ‘Training and Mentoring the Iraqi Army: the first Military Transition Teams,’ British Army Review No. 139, Spring 2006, p.85-91.
  18. Military Advantage. "Warfighter's Forum". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  19. Archived September 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. For additional views on this formation, see Lieutenant Colonel TP Robinson, 'Illuminating a Black Art: Mentoring the Iraqi Army during Op TELIC 12,' British Army Review, No. 147, Summer 2009, plus another article in the same issue.
  21. ""7th Iraqi Army Division now Controlled by Iraqi Government", MNF-I Press Release November 03 2007". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
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