BAGHDAD - Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, transferred Joint Security Station Zafaraniya to 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Federal Police Division, May 10.

As the U.S. draws down forces in Iraq in accordance with the Security Agreement, JSS facilities are being transferred to Iraqi security forces or government of Iraq ministries. JSS Zafaraniya is the sixth JSS to be transferred to the ISF within 2nd BCT's operational footprint.

"Today is a bittersweet day for us," said Brig. Gen. Kefah Melher Ali Al-Saraj, commander of 1-1 FP. "Bitter because we are saying goodbye to fine officers and Soldiers; sweet because we are finally taking over our base on our own."

Army officials say the JSS transfer is a necessary step toward meeting U.S. goals for responsibly drawing down troops while simultaneously empowering the ISF to take full control of security operations in Iraq.

The transfer of JSS Zafaraniya comes at an ideal time when Iraqi security forces in the area, specifically 1-1 FP, have proven their ability to provide security for the local population. They have contributed to a 59 percent decrease in insurgent activities throughout the Zafaraniya and Karada area of Baghdad in the past year.

"They already have plans on how they are to conduct [security operations at JSS Zafaraniya], how they are going to guard it," said 1st Sgt. Patrick Murray of Mauston, Wis., battery first sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2-15 FA. "I think they will do well."

The Soldiers of 2-15 have worked with 1-1 FP over the past seven months, conducting partnered training, patrols and humanitarian assistance missions in the Zafaraniya and Karada District.

In accordance with the Security Agreement the bases or facilities will be returned to the control of the appropriate Iraqi entity or demilitarized and closed. These facilities are able to be closed or transferred to Iraqi control because the Iraqi security forces have assumed full responsibility for security in their respective areas.