Logistics Training and Advisory Teams meet at JBB
November 21, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - For the first time since their units' arrival in Iraq, four sustainment brigades' Logistics Training and Advisory Team leaders met to discuss the Iraqi capacity to self-sustain and the teams' plans in the coming months.
The leaders, from the15th, 36th, 90th and 96th Sustainment Brigades and the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), met Nov. 18 at Mirage, dining facility two, at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, to determine which of the four phases of partnership each of the 11 LTATs is in with its respective medium workshop.
"(Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz) wanted a fresh-eyes assessment because all of the brigades have just transferred authority; they're all new," said Maj. Dennis Utt, Iraqi Security Forces future operation plans officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th ESC, and a Fort Hood, Texas, native.
The 11 LTATs work with 10 medium workshops and one general transportation regiment, said Maj. Patrick L. Rowe, chief of the 13th ESC Iraqi Security Forces LTATs and an Owensboro, Ky., native. Medium workshops provide direct maintenance support to Iraqi Army divisions, he said.
Each sustainment brigade has an ISF chief who oversees one to five LTATs depending on the number of medium workshops or missions in their area of operations, he said.
"For most of them, if not all of them, this is the first time they've met each other and met the ESC," Rowe said. "This is just an opportunity for these guys to network and share ideas for what works here and what works there. What really happens, from what I've seen, is the opportunity for them to cross-talk, network ... (ask) 'have you tried this; have you tried that'' and receive guidance from their higher."
Utt said the leaders' goal in meeting collectively was to determine how each LTAT is partnering with the workshops, including guidance they give the Iraqis and their guidelines for partnership now and in the future.
"What this conference is designed to do is to find out where they are currently in the partnership phase and where they intend on going in the next 90 days," he said.
Phase one of the partnership includes U.S. and ISF embeds, he said.
"We have several workshops that are embedded," he said. "They live on the same (COL) with the Iraqi forces and they live with the Iraqi Army, the medium workshops."
In phase two, U.S. forces are not embedded with Iraqi forces but visit a few times a week, Utt said.
They also met to discuss the capabilities of each workshop, its shortfalls, success stories and needs, said Utt.
"The goal is to get the Iraqi Army medium workshops self-sustaining and self-reliant," he said. "That's our main goal, is to ... give them the processes and get the tools in place to be able to operate independently, without us having to oversee it."
For some, a monthly visit to offer assistance or teach a class may be all the IA needs, Rowe said.
"One of the things we're trying to figure out is how do we draw down our numbers and still provide the partnership that the Iraqi Army needs," Rowe said. "I've got less people to pull from - we, I, being America - so how do I still provide that same level of partnership that the Iraqi Army has requested and needs'"
He said this question becomes especially pertinent as the U.S. closes bases.