Partnership training prepares for detainee transfer
April 2, 2011
- Detainee ops a priority mission in Iraq
- Iraqi, U.S. transition will take place in July
- Advising, assisting, and training still in progress
In anticipation of the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from Iraq, buildings and equipment are just some of the things being transferred to the people of this nation.
Detainees are also being transferred - in this case, more than 150. Detainee operations in Iraq have been a prioritized mission since the beginning of the war. Over the course of that time, transfers of facilities and detainees has been ongoing. At this time, the remaining prisoners are considered "high-profile."
"We started out with thousands of detainees and multiple facilities," said Maj. Gen. Nelson J. Cannon, deputy commanding general for detention operations and provost marshal general, United States Forces - Iraq. "This is a relatively small population, but it is a very violent and dangerous population."
The priority is getting ready for the turnover of the remaining detainees to the government of Iraq, said Lt. Col. LaDonna M. Howell, plans officer, Provost Marshal Office, USF-I.
"We are getting ready for this transition in July when we are going to give [the Iraqi Correction Service] not only some facilities, but the prisoners," said Cannon. Because of the threat level that the current detainees represent, selecting the right guard force and giving them special maximum security training are just two of the many steps being taken to get the ICS on track to take over the detainee operations mission.
"The specialty training is important so they know how to deal with the detainees," said Howell. The corrections officers will learn how and when to use tear gas, handcuffs, and when to segregate the detainees from the main population.
The training team is built with corrections specialists, said Cannon. "They come from the U.S. Army Disciplinary Barracks out of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and they know this stuff inside and out. Who better to teach the Iraqis'" "The most important thing that the Soldiers from the 40th [military police battalion] are going to do is impart all their wisdom, experience and knowledge on the ICS," said Cannon.
"We want to make sure we are setting them up for success," said Cannon. Not only by providing good facilities, but good techniques, procedures, training, and leadership, he said.
"We created a thing they never had before," said Cannon. "We have talked them into developing a noncommissioned officer corps. They will have middle managers who will always be there."
The NCO is not only there to set the standard, but to provide leadership and mentorship, said Cannon.
"We have got a serious mission out here," said Howell. The Soldiers are constantly reminded of how important this is to the government of Iraq.
Dealing with detainees requires a special skill set. "The detainees are not always cooperative," said Cannon. There is no one else doing this. No one else is dealing with terrorists every day."
The Soldiers bring the right attitude and professionalism, said Cannon. Training and discipline have garnered positive results under Cannon. Since taking charge last December, without exception, there is not one detainee who has complained about mistreatment, he said.
The specialty training of the NCOs and staff is just part of the plan. A plan is in the works for about a dozen officials from different branches of the government of Iraq to tour various detention facilities in the U.S. The tour will include the United States Disciplinary Barracks, two maximum security prisons, a county jail and a city jail.
"It's to get them to have this picture about what right looks like," said Cannon. "Maximum security is not just a name, it's a way of doing business."
The plan to transfer the detainees to the government of Iraq is in place and with proper execution, will set the Iraqis up for success.
"What no one wants to have in the end is regrets. We are doing everything possible and we did everything we could do," said Cannon. "We want to be able to say that we gave them the best training, we gave them the best ideas, we gave them a rock-solid facility, and that we showed them the way."