FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq- With the opening of a new joint tactical operations center on K-1 Military Base in Kirkuk province, Iraq, engineers with the 12th Military Engineer Regiment, 12th Iraqi Army Division, now have a place to work with their U.S. military partners.

With both units working in the same building now, it allows the two to plan missions, training and patrols together on a regular basis, explained one IA officer.

Because this unit was formed as recently as September 2008, it is still adjusting to the many responsibilities expected from an engineering unit, he explained.

These duties can include: providing engineering support to the 12th IA Div., designing and planning new projects, disposing of explosives, providing force protection, constructing fortifications, and anything else requested by the division's commander.

But with the new J-TOC, the responsibilities placed on the IA can be shared with their U.S. partners.

"It will help [us] provide them with assistance on a daily basis, whenever they may need help on something," said Capt. David Conley, the plans officer for the 65th Engineer Battalion.

According to Lt. Col. Scott Petersen, the commander of the 65th Eng. Bn., the new J-TOC will help make conducting missions and training much easier, by allowing both sides to participate on an equal level. It also makes it easier for the 12th Field Engineering Regiment to request assistance when they need to borrow equipment, such as bulldozers, from the U.S.

"This new J-TOC allows us to have a central location that we can both operate in and share as a center of information," said Capt. Conley. "It helps us both to track and support missions from both the IA and U.S."

"Because the [U.S. Military] in Iraq will soon be reducing their presence, this helps us to offer as much support to our Iraqi Army engineer brethren as we can," he explained. "By having a constant partnership with the 12th FER, we can maximize our efforts more efficiently and achieve the most success."

"This facility enables our two units to plan, command and control, and synchronize engineer operations," explained Lt. Col. Petersen. "It provides a location to bring together the operational picture that U.S and IA engineers have."

"Ultimately, this will help the 12th FER achieve their greatest success as well," said Capt. Conley.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16