CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - The Department of Defense invests in the right equipment, technology, and training to field the most lethal military force on the planet. Yet there is another type of investment - divestment.
Divestments are an essential part of investing in regional security in the Middle East by aiding allies and partner nations through the equipment and training necessary to build partnership capacity, and strengthen their national security and resolve.
"We have mission to work by, with, and through, the Armed and Security Forces of Iraq to counter and defeat the ISIS caliphate," said Col. Jonathan Brown, director of the Counter-ISIS Training and Equip Fund (CTEF) for the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's Operational Command Post.
"We receive, account for, store, transport, distribute, and divest or issue equipment fielding packages to training units and operational units of the Iraqi Armed Forces and Security Forces," said Brown.
CTEF must report all divestments, quantity of equipment, and budgets to the United States Congress as a congressionally funded and mandated supplement for the specific purpose to combat ISIS aggressions and the ISIS caliphate.
"Anything with the public dollar applied to it - you're going to get audited. One of the main command tenants to the 1TSC is being a good steward to the tax payer's dollar. We owe it the taxpayers and the citizens of the U.S. to effectively and professionally implement the program and to not waste taxpayer's dollars," said Brown.
During the fiscal year 2018 the Government of Iraq's request for support was less than $500 million, and it decreased by $200 million in 2019 due in part to the training the Iraqi Forces receive in repairing and maintaining their own divested equipment. Providing the training and education to sustain and maintain divested equipment is part of the CTEF mission.
Soldiers from the 1TSC, U.S. Army Central, and the U.S. Central Command make up the CTEF team. Brown and his team from the 184th Sustainment Command, Mississippi Army National Guard, manage the program from Camp Arifjan.
While Army and DoD regulations organize many processes and procedures, CTEF is a nondoctrinal mission that requires the 1TSC team to reevaluate and adjust standard operating procedures continually.
"We are the accountants of this equipment. When the 184th came in, we cleaned up everything before us," said Brown, "The 184th was fortunate to have a knowledge base unlike a lot of other units. It's prevalent in the National Guard because of the number of military technicians, especially in the logistics communities. 184th has a high number of technicians in the rotation, which provides the wealth of experiences to build the CTEF team."
Since the U.S. Congress created the program four years ago, the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's CTEF program has provided aid to the Republic of Iraq through over 200,000 pieces of rolling stock or equipment, vehicles, weapon systems, organizational clothing and individual equipment, and over 90 million rounds of ammunition to over 190,000 Iraqi soldiers.