Home Page


Coalition Provisional Authority

Contact: J. Pepper Bryars

April 19, 2004

Briefing on the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force

Baghdad – Senior officials with the Ministry of Defense and the Coalition held a briefing Monday afternoon where they detailed the development of the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force.

The following fact sheet was distributed during the briefing:

Iraqi Coastal Defense Force Fact Sheet

Maritime security is crucial to Iraq’s future stability and prosperity. With only 58-kilometers of coastline, the nation is reliant on the ports of Umm Qasr and Basrah and its two off-shore oil terminals. At present, Umm Qasr is the only operational port and is strategically important since the closure of Basrah during the Iran-Iraq war. The two off-shore oil terminals at Kohr al Amaya and Mina al Bakr are critical to income generation.

Iraq will have a 407-strong Coastal Defense Force which should become operational by mid-summer. The ICDF will be equipped with five 27-meter long patrol boats armed with heavy machine guns and 10 rigid inflatable boats that will be used by its Coastal Defense Regiment, which is akin to the Marines. They will be stationed at the Umm Qasr Naval Base.

The ICDF will conduct policing operations on the Iraqi coastline and territorial waters up to 12-nautical miles in order to counter terrorism, smuggling, piracy and other unlawful activities and provide a limited Search and Rescue capability.

The force will be expected to be an integral part of Coalition efforts, working closely with security forces in Basrah province and naval forces in the northern Arabian Gulf. Its roles will be defense and security and the policing of international regulations governing the environment and safety at sea. This is a new departure for Iraq, and a sign that the country is preparing to take its peaceful place in the global arena.

ICDF personnel are drawn from a range of backgrounds. In July, once all have been recruited, the force will be 407 strong, divided between the naval element and the Coastal Defense Regiment (akin to Marines). At present there are some 170 personnel, mainly officers and NCOs, undertaking specialist maritime training in Umm Qasr. Many have previously served in the Iraqi navy, and most officers are graduates of the prestigious Basrah Naval College. The average age of the force is 30.

The ICDF will initially be equipped with five 27-meter patrol boats each armed with heavy machine guns and capable of speeds in excess of 40-miles per-hour. They will be manned by crews of six and by September, one will always be at sea protecting Iraqi interests. Additionally there will be 10 Rigid Inflatable Boats manned by the Coastal Defense Regiment which will be used for board and search operations. They will be based at the Umm Qasr Naval Base which is presently under construction. Any further development of the force will be the responsibility of the elected Iraqi government.

The majority of the ICDF undertake basic training alongside their army colleagues at the drill camps in northern Iraq – these courses last for approximately eight-weeks. A few have been selected for courses overseas. Ten officers have already completed a three-month Patrol Boat Commanding Officers’ at the UK’s Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. A further nine officers have also completed a two-month infantry commanders course in Jordan.

Once basic training is completed, all members of the ICDF join the Umm Qasr Naval Training School, for the specialist maritime phase. The curriculum includes board and search training, navigation, damage control, seamanship, first aid, search and rescue techniques, maritime law and, for the Coastal Defense Regiment, more advanced infantry skills. The training program has been deliberately designed with an eye to the future – with documentation and resources that Iraqis can use to instruct themselves. The aim is to create a professional, specialist maritime force capable of serving the new democracy effectively and accountably.

The Force will be commanded by a Brigadier General (yet to be appointed), who will divide his time between the Joint Headquarters in Baghdad as the Chief of the Defense Staff’s senior maritime advisor, and the Umm Qasr Naval Base. The force’s missions will be set by the Joint Headquarters.

A simpler version of this page for printingPrinter-friendly Version

Home | Official Documents | Budget and Finance | Transcripts | Press Releases
Requests for Proposals/Solicitations | Business Center | Webmaster
Privacy and Security Notice

Volunteers For Prosperity First Gov USA Freedom Corps White House Foreign Aid in the National Interest