"General Dave Petraeus and his troops are in the midst of some extremely tough, intense, and dangerous work. They are doing a brilliant job, and they need to know this country is behind them all the way." - Vice President Richard B. Cheney said during a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership in Manalapan, Fla., March 28.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
What is it? It is the Army's plan for accelerating the training and preparation for the forces designated to deploy as part of the increased troop levels for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
What is the Army doing? Recently, the President decided to increase US force levels in Iraq in order to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and to bring security to the people of Baghdad. The nucleus of this troop increase is a force of five Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), a Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) and a division headquarters that will deploy sooner than the Army had originally planned to send them. All units in the current and future rotations will be trained to standard and will be properly prepared for their assigned mission. Obviously this new deployment schedule has decreased unit preparation time available to reach the required readiness standards prior to deployment. However, we will not lower our standards to rush Soldiers into the fight. In each case and at every level of command, commanders have assessed the challenges associated with the reduced training time, and at this point, have determined that they can meet the standards. We are confident that if a commander determines that circumstances cause his risk assessment to change, he will have the full support of the chain of command in providing the additional resources required to mitigate the increased risk of each unit's available preparation time.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? The Army has addressed the challenges associated with the reduced training time through the implementation of a very mission-focused training plan and an emphasis on a series of key training events prior to deployment. These events include individual and collective mission-focused training at home station, a Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) concentrating on counter-insurgency (COIN) operations; a Combat Training Center supported exercise, robust IED-defeat training, and the full regimen of final preparatory training in Kuwait. In each case, the Army will only deploy units and Soldiers who are trained for their assigned mission and whose status as trained is validated at each level of the chain of command.
Why is this important to the Army? The Acting Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army remain committed to providing Combatant Commanders the best trained, best equipped and best led force in the world.
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