Small Arms in Iraq Vulnerable to Theft and Diversion

By Matthew Buongiorno
Scoville Fellow

Shortly after the United States invaded Iraq and disbanded its army, the Bush Administration concluded that a key to stabilizing the country was the creation of a self-sufficient and effective Iraqi Security Force (ISF). To this end, the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF) – later succeeded by the Iraq Security Forces Fund (ISFF) – was established as a train-and-equip program charged with quickly delivering weaponry to the ISF. While the ad hoc program was successful in quickly supplying large quantities of weapons to the ISF, it lacked the stringent accountability procedures applied to other U.S. arms transfer programs and, consequently, may have failed to prevent the diversion of U.S. weapons.

Recognizing the dangers associated with poorly secured weaponry, the United States has taken several important steps to improve stockpile security and accountability procedures for U.S.-origin and U.S.-funded weapons transferred to Iraq. These steps are assessed in the latest edition of the Public Interest Report.

The article draws on documents retrieved by the Federation of American Scientists via the Freedom of Information Act. These documents, as well as additional documents not cited in the article but of relevance to the debate over security and accountability procedures in Iraq, are posted below:

▪ Compliance with Section 1228 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08 NDAA)

▪ Presidential Certification of Compliance with Section 1228 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08 NDAA)

▪ Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) Compliance with Section 1228 of FY08 NDAA

▪ Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program Compliance with Section 1228 of the FY08 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

▪ Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 08-041 – Registration and Monitoring of Defense Articles and Services Provided to Iraq

▪ Background 1228 Policy Changes

DOD Inspector General Report SPO-2008-001 – Special Plans and Operations: Assessment of the Accountability of Arms and Ammunition Provided to the Security Forces of Iraq (Part I)

▪ DOD Inspector General Report SPO-2008-001 – Special Plans and Operations: Assessment of the Accountability of Arms and Ammunition Provided to the Security Forces of Iraq (Part II)

▪ DOD Inspector General Report SPO-2008-001 – Special Plans and Operations: Assessment of the Accountability of Arms and Ammunition Provided to the Security Forces of Iraq (Part III)

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