By Marine Cpl. Frances L. GochJune 24, 2008
The Iraq Assistance Group provides training to the Iraqi security force through the use of transition teams so it can operate as an independent entity providing safety and security to the people of Iraq.
IAG is in charge of coordinating all transition teams for Multi-National Corps - Iraq. Their transition teams are split into three categories: military transition teams, national police transition teams and border or port of entry transition teams. Each team is made up of 10 to 15 senior leaders, who are subject matter experts in their fields such as logistics and planning.
Each of these teams is embedded with a corresponding Iraqi security force team.
"They grow very close over time be- cause wherever the Iraqi teams go, so does the transition team assigned to them," said Lt. Col. David Wood, future operations director, MNC - I IAG. "The Iraqis consider them [the team] their brothers."
The Iraqis and transition teams are inseparable for a year. They live, sleep and eat together while the transition team mentors, advises and trains the Iraqis.
One of the main focuses with the Iraqi army is logistics.
"We are trying to help make their systems faster and more efficient." Wood said.
Another tool to making the Iraqi army more independent is the Warfighter Training Program. It is a three-week course with a more concentrated level of training.
Through this training, the Iraqi military personnel get a higher level of individual training in weapons systems, medical and communications, leadership training in logistics, operations and intelligence and small group collective training such as convoy operations and room/building clearing. Throughout two of the three weeks, and during the third week, they are brought together at a battalion level for a series of "missions," which is the culminating exercise for the course.
"The Iraqi army and police are increasingly assuming a greater role in the security of Iraq," said Col. Thomas Kelly, senior Marine, U.S. Marine Corps, Central Command Coordination Element -Iraq. "A transition of security responsibilities is occurring and gaining momentum. The ISF led recent military operations in Sadr City, Mosul and Basrah."
The successful initiatives at all three of these Iraqi cities were planned and executed by the Iraqi government and its security forces.