WASHINGTON — The Iraqi military and police are still an “uneven” and inadequate security force despite years of training and more than $19 billion in U.S. funding, according to a report released by Congress on Wednesday.

The bipartisan study, a five-month investigation by members of the House Armed Services Committee, blamed poor planning by the U.S. military as well as corruption and confusion among Iraqi government officials for a poorly functioning force.

Lawmakers from both parties said they have seen progress made in some areas — the security forces total more than 345,000 Iraqis, and training programs and facilities are improving — but they labeled the findings a major disappointment.

“Unfortunately the planning for this mission was poor and has led to a lot of setbacks,” said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., chairman of the committee’s investigations subcommittee. “So now these forces are nowhere near ready to operate independently to secure the country.”

Among other criticisms, the study says not enough emphasis has been placed on training and monitoring Iraqi police forces, labeling them “operationally ineffective” and “riddled with corruption and sectarian influence.”

It notes that coalition officials have shifted their priorities in recent months from transferring security to the Iraqi forces to instead simply working to quell mounting violence, and says that lack of focus is a mistake.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., called the analysis a mixed result, one that defense officials need to take seriously if they expect further success.

“There are Iraqis who are making sacrifices to try and make this work,” he said. “Clearly, we’re still not at a place where we can pull out of the country. But this does not say we’re aren’t making any progress.”

The report lists 40 recommendations for ways to improve the situation, but does not hint at a timeline for when Iraqi troops will be able to completely take over security duties from U.S. and coalition fighters.

But it does say the forces still suffer from sectarian influences and militia infiltration, and that “Iraqi armed forces will not be able to take on the counterinsurgency mission until they receive additional equipment or the level of violence subsides.”

Plans to transfer logistics responsibility to Iraqi units next year likely will have little impact on the number of U.S. troops in the country, the study says.

Lawmakers also blasted the Defense Department for failing to develop adequate methods to track progress with the security forces and for delaying and withholding information for the study.

Defense officials had no comment on the report. The department is expected to issue a formal response to the study within 30 days.

The full report is available online at

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