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¶Read or download the report (PDF format) here.

ARLINGTON, Va. — As of early February, average weekly attacks against U.S. and coalition troops were at their highest levels, the most recent Defense Department report on progress in Iraq says.

The Defense Department released the quarterly report Wednesday afternoon. For the first time, Defense officials did not brief reporters on the quarterly report.

Asked about the lack of a briefing, a Defense official downplayed the report’s significance, saying the data in the report predates the new Iraq strategy, even though some data in the report is from February.

“So the correlation between our efforts now and that data is probably not of great value,” the official said.

The report says attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces from October to December 2006 were the highest for any three-month period since 2003.

From Jan. 1 to Feb. 9, 2007, weekly attacks against U.S. and coalition forces reached 756, up from 608 from May 20 to Dec. 31, 2006, the report says.

Average daily casualties for U.S. and other coalition forces remained steady at 22 during the same time periods, the report says.

As for the security situation as a whole, the report says that the term “civil war” does not fully describe the turmoil in Iraq, but elements of a civil war do exist in Iraq, “including hardening of ethno-sectarian identities and mobilization, the changing character of the violence, and population displacements.”

Also in the report:

¶ As of Feb. 19, 2007, about 328,700 Iraqi security forces had been trained.

However, the day-to-day number of Iraqis in uniform is considerable lower. The actual number of soldiers present for duty is actually “one-half to two-thirds of the total, due to scheduled leave, absence without leave, and attrition,” the report said.

¶ As of February 2007, there were 112 Iraqi Army combat battalions, with 103 of those conducting operations “at varying levels of capability,” and 93 “in the lead” during counter-insurgency operations.

¶ Another 27 National Police Battalions are operational, with six “in the lead,” although what constitutes “in the lead” was not defined in the report.

¶ The report said that Iraq’s Civil Security Force of 188,300, which include the National Police, Iraqi Police Service, and the Border Police and are under control of Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior, is now being expanded in size to 194,800.

About 20 percent of the Civil Security Force is lost to attrition every year.

The report said that while 100 percent of all authorized vehicle, weapons, and other equipment have been delivered to Iraqi police in Baghdad and nine other “key” cities. Overall, the Iraqi Police Service has received about 83 percent of its authorized critical equipment, with 100 percent of its allotment this summer.

However, due to the Ministry of Interior’s “immature” equipment accountability system, “there are no reliable figures for how much of this equipment remains in service.

The MOI also lacks a personnel accountability system, and thus “it is unknown how many of the more than 306,000 employees on the ministry’s payroll are present for duty on a given day,” the report said.

Coalition officials believe that less than 70 percent of those employees are on present for duty at any given time.

The U.S. trainers, both military and civilian, who make up Police Transition Teams, or PTTs, are working to help Iraqi Ministry of Interior and the police with their inventory and personnel systems, according to the report.

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