BASRA, Iraq - The Iraq Ministry of Interior, partnering with Iraq Training and Advisory Mission officials, conducted two financial management courses at Basra International Airport from March 28 to April 15.

While the concepts were easily managed by most attendees, the intent behind the training was as topical as any activity going on in southern Iraq as the country continues its progress towards self-reliance and U.S. Forces draw down. The focus of the workshop was program management, planning, budget formulation, and contracting processes

The MOI represented all provinces and included a cross-section of expertise ranging from budget and program managers to personal security personnel. Each participant is in some way, responsible for compiling budget requirements for their subordinate organizations.

The ministry's financial management, accounting, contracting, planning and programming advisory team co-hosted the training seminars. The courses were attended by participants from the Kurdistan Ministry of Interior, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, and the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service.

Senior instructors from the Naval Postgraduate School's Defense Resource Management Institute from Monterey, Calif. took part in the training. The inter-ministerial participation is significant in the development of a holistic strategy for Iraqi security.

Mark Hladky, a lecturer at DRMI, said the opportunity to participate at this time in Iraq's movement as a free sovereignty was enticing.

"Our goal is to enhance the effective allocation of resources within the MoI through developing an understanding and appreciation of the concepts, techniques, and analytical decision making skills related to resources management," Hladky said.

DRMI conducts professional education programs in analytical decision making and resources management for military officers of all services as well as senior civilian officials of the United States and 162 other countries.

The first course was the two week Manager Planning and Tracking Officer Course. The second course was the one week Action Officer Planning and Tracking Course.

Instructors covered topics in strategic planning, problem analysis, program management, planning and budget formulation and contracting. In addition to the DRMI instruction, the courses included ministry-led led instruction on MoI strategic planning system, and MoI budget formulation process.

These courses are just two components of a multifaceted training and education program established by the Iraqi MOI to establish and refine a Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution System (PPBES) within the Ministry. The Iraqi PPBES process will significantly improve the ministry's ability to direct resources to achieve the goals and objectives required to support the strategic objectives of stability and security within Iraq.

Led by the MOI, all nine major Iraqi ministries are developing strategic budgeting plans for the 2011-2013 state budgets. This affects all Iraqi provinces, including Basra, where Maj. Gen. Fasil Kadim Ali, is director of planning and tracking for Basra Province. Fasil said that the province has made strides in its budgeting and contracting processes including establishing competitive bidding procedures.

These processes are essential, he said, as Basra looks to build three new police stations, a medical center and new housing for its police. Fasil explained that before last year, when this office received help from Iraq Training and Advisory Mission officials, his staff made several trips to Baghdad to hammer out fiscal matters pertaining to Basra. Currently, that work is done in the province where the money is spent - all according to new MoI guidelines.

"Now, we don't have to go through the old system," Fasil said. "Now, we prepare our plans at the beginning of the year."