Monday, August 27, 2007

Metrics for Iraqi Success

When General Petraeus reports to US President Bush in September on the progress of the nation-building and counter-insurgency mission in Iraq, what metrics will he use? Austin Bay, a writer and former US military intelligence officer, suggests a possible list that the general may use.

This list is a “rough draft” of “rough metrics” but I am certain it includes in some shape or form a few of the “metrics” the September report will consider. Call it a Baker’s Dozen – not to be confused with James Baker and the Iraq Study Group. Some of them obbiously incorporate both qualitative judgments and quantitative measures.

1) Number of trained and equipped Iraqi troops and their level of training

(2) Number of qualified Iraqi senior and mid-level military officers (key measure: can they plan and lead their own ops?)

(3) Number and locale of police precincts judged competent and minimally corrupt (and don’t mention Chicago to me — I know minimally corrupt applies to places in the US — like every Texas border town)

(4) Number of “extremist violence” related incidents (incline, steady, or decline) and location of incidents

(5) An assessment of the “demonstrated commitment” of key sheiks and local leaders in terms of cooperating with security forces and development teams – perhaps analyzed on a neighborhood by neighborhood level.

(6) Control of Iran and Syrian borders (what does this mean? Good question — better surveillance of the borders, more border forts, more reliable border cops, dimunition in flow of supplies for sectarian militias and terrorist groups…etc)

(7) Estimate of “robustness” of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia cells. (If we have killed a lot of these sociopaths, have the sociopaths we’ve killed been replaced?)

(8) Quality of Iraqi government action against Shia death squads (including Mahdi Militia) [NOTE: maybe quality is a hedge word, but you get the point.]

(9) Competence of key ministry officials and senior department heads — Interior and Defense — as well as an estimate of their commitment to a free, federal Iraq, [This leads to an assessment of provincial and national leaders commitment…)

(10) “Infrastructure protection” trend lines — are power lines, pipelines, key installations being protected?

(11) Trend line of development. At the local level: have the revitalized PRTs begun to do their jobs? At the national level: What’s happening to Iraq’s GDP?

(12) A neighborhood by neighborhood evaluation of the “new security plan” — which on the ground was about securing neighborhoods and stopping the “cycle of violence” (ie, Sunni terrorists kick it off, Shia death quads enter, the locals are caught in between…)

(13) An estimate of the quality of intelligence (better, same, worse) provided by Iraqi police, military, and citizens. If the intel from a neighborhood, town, or province has improved, this potentially is an indcator of increasing faith in the government’s capacity to defend vulnerable civilians. (Intel obviously affects several other metrics…few of these metrics are discrete.)

Austin Bay Blog

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