The US Department of Defense (DoD) budget released on 10 February proposed reducing funding for Iraqi security forces from USD745 million to USD645 million in Financial Year 2021, while increasing equipment funding.
The FY 2021 Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund (CTEF) request document said the reduction was largely due to the Iraqi government taking over more responsibility for logistics from the US-led coalition and the discontinuation of USD126 million in stipends for Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
At the same time, it said funding will increase for training and equipping Iraqi forces from USD308 million to USD418 million so that selected Ministry of Defence (MoD) units can be equipped with tactical datalink communication systems and precision-guided munitions to reduce civilian casualties during operations.
The list of weapons and equipment that will be supplied included 105 GBU bomb guidance kits valued at USD50,000 each and "C4ISR inter-aircraft and command post links" valued at USD18.7 million.
The FY 2021 request noted that the Islamic State has transitioned to an insurgency since it was defeated as a territorial entity but is expected to attempt to re-establish control over poorly governed and sparsely populated areas.
The plan is for US Central Command to focus resources on Iraqi government and Peshmerga units operating in Islamic State sanctuary areas to improve their mission command, movement and manoeuvre, intelligence, fires, sustainment, and protection capabilities.
Proposed funding for Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State remains the same at USD200 million. The FY 2021 request document said the plan is to grow US-backed Syrian forces to 10,000 personnel, which includes an increase for the Jaish Maghawir al-Thawrah (Revolution Commandos Army) from 300 to 500 fighters.
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