Army Chemical Review


Army Chemical Review presents professional information about Chemical Corps functions related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, smoke, flame, and civil support operations.

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By Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey J. Kyburz ". . . as our forces continue their drawdown from Iraq, the United States remains committed to developing a strategic partnership that promotes peace and prosperity in Iraq and the region." Quadrennial Defense Review Report 1 This article contains a review of the building partner capacity activities conducted for the Government of Iraq (GoI) to comply with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (commonly referred to as the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC])2 during the 2008–2010 time frame. CWC membership required that the GoI become responsible for the destruction and neutralization of all of its chemical weapons, including pre-Gulf War remnants that were sealed in bunkers. These efforts led to the creation of an Iraqi chemical defense company, which was responsible for providing the GoI with a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNE) response and elimination capability in 2010.3 The United States was successful in building a chemical defense company capability in support of Iraq's CWC compliance while also supporting other combating weapons of mass destruction (WMD) objectives across several theater lines of effort. This is especially signifcant considering the combating WMD rationale that was in place when the United States frst entered the country and the potential threats from Iraq's neighboring countries. B efore March 2003, the United States was convinced that Iraq had reconstituted its WMD program and, consequently, decided to invade because of the threat that such an arsenal would pose. Although WMD materials were not discovered at prewar intelligence-estimated levels, there were signifcant quantities of prewar-recovered chemical warfare material that needed to be neutralized.4 After Iraq became a member of the CWC in 2009, the United States built an indigenous chemical defense company capability within the GoI. The operational approach taken by the coalition in the Joint Campaign Plan consisted of fve lines of effort accompanied by goals, objectives, and measures of effectiveness. The beneft of building a partner capacity for GoI CWC compliance was that the supporting tasks enabled many lines of effort, including one which resulted in a more self-suffcient Iraq with some combating WMD capacity. The United States should carefully study the activities related to building partner capacities for GoI CWC compliance and the endeavors for CBRNE planning in Iraq to glean lessons learned and potential insights into future strategic, operational, and tactical combating WMD planning considerations. Although the combating WMD goals were not completely met, the United States did develop a CWC response capability and Iraq has continued its nonproliferation progress. Challenges in Iraq From 2003 to 2010, the United States conducted operations in Iraq to reduce Iraq's CBRNE hazards and to build the 28 capacity for effective government institutions. Due to the insurgency, the coalition conducted very limited partnering during the early years, prioritizing the most signifcant threats. Because engagements were hampered by security challenges, progress and capacity were diffcult to sustain. Conducting partnering activities or engagements in a hostile environment necessitated integration with combat operations, as every movement required signifcant coordination and execution at many levels of operational command. In 2009, recovered chemical warfare material continued to be discovered on a regular basis; yet, Iraq did not have the capability or the capacity to eliminate it.5 Chemical weapons needed to be rendered unusable or properly destroyed since they could be used to make improvised explosive devices that kill innocent people. In addition, the U.S. government did not have a designated lead to ensure that relevant lines of effort were synchronized with respect to combating WMD activities. Furthermore, combating WMD and nonproliferation activities were not appropriately consolidated or articulated in operation orders or in the Joint Campaign Plan. Any delay in Iraqi CBRNE training manual development (including delays in the releasability of U.S. training information to foreign nationals) or equipment acquisition could have caused additional challenges in partnering and meeting timeline objectives. Despite GoI improvements in security and institutional development in 2009, the GoI lacked senior leadership cooperation among ministries and did not possess a CBRNE response capability. Army Chemical Review

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