Iraqi Engineers continue to take the lead
October 13, 2009
- First Iraqi Army hosted engineer conference
"Today we are here to learn from the Iraqis about their successes and problems, and then learn what we can do to enable and help them as partners," Maj. Bill M. Redding, Elizabethtown, Ky., and Iraqi Ground Force Command liaison officer said.
The Iraqi Ground Force Command and the Director of Military Engineering hosted an engineering conference Sept. 29 at Camp Iraqi Hero, Baghdad. Engineers from around the country collected at the Camp for the first all Iraqi facilitated conference.
"This is the first time that the Iraqis have brought in the agenda, the discussion points and they are bringing up issues, concerns and successes," Redding said.
The conference was designed to bring IGFC and field engineering regiment commanders to one location to talk about personnel, operations and logistics of the Iraqi engineering regiments.
"The leadership here is all Iraqi, the conference is being facilitated by them and U.S. Forces are really just here as partners to answer any questions that we can and to help facilitate any problems," Redding said.
Past engineering conferences have involved the U.S. coalition and Iraqi engineering community together.
During the conference issues such as force growth, synchronized logistics, future partnership plans as U.S. Forces are reduced and solutions for any issues that may be occurring were discussed.
"Force growth is pretty much finding out how to fill slot shortages with Soldiers," Redding said. "Most of the Iraqi Engineer Regiments are under 100 percent staffed, they are closer to 75 to 80 percent."
As numbers of Soldiers increase equipment is imperative.
"Synchronized logistics is the link between U.S. and Iraqi Ministry of Defense funding. The U.S. and MOD funding goes toward buying much needed equipment for Iraqi Soldiers and regiments," Redding added.
The variety of engineers attending the conference will result in different experiences and lessons being shared, he said. He went on to add that for the Iraqis to be able to come together and share common ideas it will be very important for the future of the Iraqi engineer program.
"For the Iraqis this is very significant because it clearly highlights where their priorities are," Redding said. "The IGFC has started to focus more on the support aspect of the mission. Intelligence, reconnaissance and engineering are good examples of this. Engineering is in the top three."
Representative from Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission-Army, Task Force Troy and from various agencies on Camp Victory and other locations attended the conference.
"We really appreciate the opportunity to participate today with our Iraqi partners," Lt. Col. Adam S. Roth, Ocean Side, N.Y., commander 844th Engineering Battalion, said.
Roth's Battalion partners with two different Iraqi engineering regiments, the Headquarters Field Engineers Regiment in Taji, and the 8th Field Engineers Regiment in Diwanyia.
"What this conference does is it continues to set the myth of where the Iraqis are. People will look at what some of the successful things were during the partnership and the things that weren't successful," Roth said.
The IGFC and the Director of Military Engineering are showing that they are in front, Redding explained.
"This clearly highlights that the 30th of June wasn't just a date on a calendar, it truly was a significant event particularly for engineers," he continued. "It really has turned the tables as far as who is leading and who is the supporting role and this conference really exemplifies that. "