US Elite Troop Training Produces Zero Results After Mosul

Pentagon Intended to Have 20,000 More Fighters Trained for CTS

After the end of the Iraqi invasion of Mosul, the Pentagon set upon itself to carry out an intense program to grow the Iraqi elite Counter Terrorism Services (CTS), which lost roughly 40% of its members to fighting in the city. The Pentagon got $1.2 billion, with an eye toward training 20,000 more CTS.

Some officials were conceding even back in July that this 20,000 goal wasn’t entirely realistic. The first accounting, which goes through October, showed that they fell as far short of this as is literally possible: no troops were trained at all.

Iraq was struggling mightily to get qualified recruits, with 300,000 applicants pared down to just 3,000 for screening, and even then officials said at most 1,000 were to be accepted in the academy. Between then and now, that ended up being an outright 0.

The Pentagon did not say how much of their $1.2 billion was spent on producing all none of these troops, but officials are suggesting Iraq “has some thinking to do” about whether they have the capacity to add to their special forces.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.