Responsible drawdown: Soldiers tackle logistical challenge of equipment turn-in
April 8, 2010
- Soldiers in southern Iraq conduct drawdown operations in preparation for Sept. 1 deadline to get U.S. forces in Iraq down to 50,000
U.S. forces have already begun redeploying to their home bases in accordance with the Security of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, which states that by Sept. 1, 2010, U.S. forces will drawdown to 50,000 troops in the country.
"Units are going to have to conduct operations differently ... as U.S. forces drawdown," said Maj. Kevin Jackson, operations officer for Headquarters Battery, 17th Fires Brigade.
The drawdown will ultimately require equipment to be turned in for maintenance and reallocation, as brigades designated to advise and assist the ISF will have significantly less personnel than those they replace.
One of these units, the 17th Fires Brigade, based out of Fort Lewis, Wash., deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom last July and has maintained a large footprint in Basra Province with the help of Military Transition Teams and other smaller units attached to the brigade.
These smaller units rely on the larger brigade to support them logistically as they conduct their operations around Basra. The brigade also has a responsibility to track all of the excess equipment the units have as they draw closer to the September deadline.
"Included in the responsible drawdown of forces is the accelerated drawdown of equipment which requires all units to turn in their excess equipment such as computers, radios and vehicles," said Chief Warrant Officer Dylan Caiga, property book officer for the 17th Fires Brigade.
Over the past seven years, U.S. forces have established bases across the country in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These bases are home to billions of dollars of equipment, which now need to be returned to the United States, or reallocated elsewhere.
"General equipment is pulled out of these bases that are being returned to the Iraqi Army, but basic life support equipment such as showers, tents, and furniture will remain for the Iraqi counterpart that fills the vacancy," said Capt. Jason Supnet, 17 Fires Brigade resource manager.
The process of reallocating equipment is a complex one, and requires properly assessing any future needs.
"We have to set these gaining units up for success by properly restructuring everything to fit a smaller scale," Jackson said.