By Spc. Jared Sollars, 145th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentJuly 15, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, MOSUL, Iraq - Recently officers from branches of the Iraqi Security Forces have been brought into the tactical operations centers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division to act as liaison officers.
The Iraqi liaison officers act as a direct line of communication between the 3HBCT unit they are embedded with and their own Iraqi parent unit. This increase in communications not only strengthens the bonds between 3HBCT and Iraqi Forces in Mosul, but they also build a flow of information that is timely, direct and allows a faster response by U.S. and Iraq forces when a significant event occurs.
"If we can get them to see the benefits of the change they will be able to adapt and internalize a lot of our standard operating procedures," said Master Sgt. Robert Lilly, TOC noncommissioned officer in charge for 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. Master Sgt. Lilly is also the battalion liaison for the Iraqi officers working with the battalion.
These select Iraqi Army and National Police officers have been integrated into the personnel of numerous TOCs throughout the brigade. By showing the Iraqi liaison officers how the U.S. Army run its TOCs they are potentially showing the Iraqis how to run their own when they get into a command position.
The 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment has had Iraqi liaison officers in their tactical operations center for the last several months and has utilized them as much as possible as a line of direct communications between the squadron and Iraqi Forces.
"We rely heavily on the information provided by our LNOs, because we aren't out on patrols all the time anymore," said Sgt. Maj. Van Prier, the operations sergeant major for 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, "They are our eyes out there now."
The 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment has only had Iraqi liaison officers in their tactical operations center for the last few weeks and has already seen considerable amounts of information come through them.
"Whenever I ask my division for any information for Coalition Forces they give it to me in full detail," said 2nd Lt. Tareq Hamed, the liaison for the 3rd Iraqi National Police Division partnered with 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. "My TOC is the center of information for Iraqi Forces in the area, my position with my division I think has helped a great deal."
The more experience the ISF LNOs gain from partnering with U.S. Forces the more they will be able to articulate to their commanders how and why operations should be conducted.
The Iraqi liaison officers have provided information to U.S. Forces straight from the liaison's parent units. The information received thus far has included improvised explosive device reports that have come up through the liaison officers.
"Coalition Forces are first and foremost here to help the Iraqi people, my presence here is to help my people and my unit as much as possible," said Tareq. "I am one of the means of communication between Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul and Coalition Forces, since Coalition Forces are not out with the Iraqi units all the time now."