U.S. plans to train 75,000-man Iraqi police force

Special to World
Monday, September 8, 2003

The United States has announced plans to double the size of the Iraqi police force.

U.S. officials said the Coalition Provisional Authority plans to recruit and train 75,000 Iraqis for the nation's police force. This does not include plans to deploy civil defense and border guards.

U.S. administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, told a news conference that he wants to increase the number of Iraqi police from the current 34,000 to 75,000. Bremer said this would take more than a year.

"We won't get all of the 75,000 in a year so it will be something short of that because the training will take time," Bremer said.

The U.S. official said the coalition plans to establish 18 battalions, or 15,000 troops, for Iraq's civil defense force. He said this would be done by early 2004 and would comprise a battalion for each of the 18 districts.

"The border police which are today 2,500 will be 25,000 probably by the end of next year," Bremer said.

Bremer said the Iraqi army would comprise three divisions, or 27 battalions. In all, the Iraqi security force, would reach 100,000 by September 2004.

"Of course the training periods are notably different for those different categories of security forces," U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "And the price tag is significantly different as well."

On Sunday, President George Bush said he will ask Congress for an additional $87 billion for efforts to stabilize Iraq and the war on terrorism. Bush said U.S. strategy in Iraq seeks to destroy whom he termed terrorists, win international cooperation for the rebuilding of Iraq and help that country assume responsibility for its defense. He said the United States has accelerated training for Iraqi forces.

"In all these roles there are now some 60,000 Iraqi citizens under arms, defending the security of their own country," Bush said.

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