• DOD-to-State Transition in Baghdad in Disarray

    June 8, 2011

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iraq, Military

    hillary clintonSo imagine you wake up from some crazed three-day weekend in the bathtub, unable to remember two of the three days (your last memory is of watching Hangover II). You find yourself suddenly in charge of logistics and management for the US Embassy in Baghdad.

    Despite knowing about the October 1, 2011 transition of control of Iraq from military to State Department control for the past three years, your predecessors have left you the following “TO DO” list:

    –Hire 5500 mercenaries to secure the Embassy, providing them housing, food, weapons and vehicles.
    Figure out a way to supervise them so they do not massacre Iraqi civilians or create diplomatic incidents by doing vodka shots off each others’ butts, as in Kabul.

    –Construct four provincial posts despite delays caused by your boss’ inability to decide on scope, size, and land use, plus without certain future funds.

    –Procure a fleet of 46 aircraft, to include 20 medium lift S-61 helicopters (essentially Blackhawks, possibly armed), 18 light lift UH-1N helicopters (‘Nam era Hueys, possibly armed), three light observation MD-530 helicopters (Little Birds, armed, for quick response strike teams) and five Dash 8 fixed wing aircraft (50-passenger capacity to move personnel into theatre from Jordan). Construct flight and landing zones, maintenance hangars, operation buildings, and air traffic control towers, along with an independent aviation logistics operation for maintenance and refueling.

    –Negotiate agreements with Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait authorizing Embassy flight plans. Also, negotiate land use agreements with Iraq to base aircraft in Basra and Erbil as hubs.

    –Build a hospital on property, to replace the departed Army facilities. Iraqi medical care is considered too substandard, and Iraqi hospitals too dangerous, for use.

    –Add generator capacity. Your present generators are running 24/7, at capacity, and are in need of overhauls.

    –Find housing on property for thousands of additional employees. Your boss in NEA’s only suggestion is “hot bunking,” like on ships, where day and night shifts share a bed (politics makes strange bedfellows?)


    This is fact is only a partial list of the actual things the State Department is expected to do prior to the October 1 hand-off with the military. Most, if not all, of the list stems from the fact that by the end of the year most, if not all, of the US military will be leaving Iraq.

    Want to read it all yourself? Have a look at the State Department’s declassified Department of State Planning for the Transition to a Civilian-led Mission in Iraq (Report Number MERO-I-11-08, May 2011).

    Oh yes, the price. State has requested $6.3 billion in FY 2012. Congress has yet to decide what to do about the requests.

    Related Articles:

    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Henry Pelifian said...


      Very refreshing and heartening to read your excellent article on TomDispatch, How Not to Withdraw From Iraq.

      There ought to be more analysis of institutions, (government and non-government)for their prevalence to failure and how to prevent failure. Or is it that we do have have the capability to steer institutions without massive failure? Or is our politics all skewed leading pliable institutions astray?

      06/8/11 1:41 PM | Comment Link

    • SpeedyCarr said...


      What am I missing? The Department of State knew the same time the Department of Defence did, but the DoS failed to plan for this! How is the the DoD’s fault? This was the DoS’s mission to take it over and it looks to me like the DoD has bent over backwards to help them. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

      The DoS has failed on this, not the DoD.

      06/9/11 11:14 AM | Comment Link

    Leave A Comment

    Mail (will not be published) (required)