Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and the Use of Forwarding Operating Bases (FOBs)

  • Eugene J. PalkaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Military Geosciences book series (AMG)


Global military operations can complicate matters for the U.S. Army as it strives to ensure continuous maintenance, transportation, logistics, medical, and personnel support for its deployed forces. Since World War I, the Army’s deployed units have relied on Allied bases or U.S. bases established in host countries. A major paradigm shift occurred shortly after the onset of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), as Army units had to establish forward operating bases (FOBs) in order to function at great distances from their home bases, under austere conditions, and on non-linear battlefields. A forward operating base (FOB) is a relatively secure position that is located forward in a hostile or austere area and can be used to support tactical operations. FOBs vary in terms of their size, composition, and the activities that they support. At the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in March 2003, most U.S. Army units staged from Kuwait. As OIF unfolded, however, and units displaced north of the Kuwait-Iraqi border into all parts of Iraq, FOBs were established at various locations to house, protect, and sustain the force and to ensure continuous support of military and humanitarian assistance missions. FOBs were not uniformly located throughout the country, but exhibited a geographic pattern that correlated with military missions, levels of insurgent activity, the locations of former Iraqi bases, major population centers, economic hubs, and transportation infrastructure. FOBs played a fundamental role during the course of OIF from 2003 to 2011, enabling the U.S. Army to transition from combat to stability and support, and eventually, full spectrum operations. As the U.S. military commitment approached its conclusion, some FOBs were closed; others were converted to different uses, and some continue to function as part of a vital support network for the Iraqi government. Superimposed during the course of OIF, some FOBs have become an enduring, if not integral, part of Iraq’s cultural landscape.


Forward operating base (FOB) Iraq Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Military geography 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Student SuccessEastern Kentucky UniversityRichmondUSA

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