CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Strengthening the skills and core competencies of the Iraqi Security Forces is a vital mission for U.S. Soldiers, here.

After conducting their weeklong Tiger Academy, the Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, tested their Iraqi Army counterparts in a day long situational training exercise, focusing on all core aspects of the academy.

The purpose of the Tiger Academy is to further enable the Iraqi Army to better serve and secure the citizens of Iraq. By focusing on adaptability, the Tiger Academy provides Iraqi Soldiers the basic skills and tactics they need in today's urban combat environment.

"Being prepared for a wide range of situational outcomes is essential in combat," explained Rochester, New York native, Sgt. 1st Class Ward Wright, the battalion operations sergeant major. "[U.S. troops] put great emphasis on planning, which is something we focused heavily on during Tiger Academy."

To test the adaptability of the IA Soldiers, the Americans created a full scale training exercise; incorporating several difficult scenarios that could occur at any given time while on a patrol. They tested their counterparts on how to react to an improvised explosive device, knowledge of casualty evaluation procedures, close quarters combat, room clearing procedures, detainee operations and sensitive site exploitation.

"For only going through a week of training [the Iraqi Soldiers] grasped a good portion of the training," said Sandy, Ore. native, Staff Sgt. James Lacapra, the battalion intelligence noncommissioned officer in charge. "Considering the amount of time they were given to learn the procedures, they were pretty effective."

The U.S. troops trained their counterparts to become a more versatile security force but they understand there is still work to be done.

"This training is a step in the right direction for the ISF," said Wright.