By Sgt. 1st Class Christopher DeHart, 12th CAB PAOJune 26, 2010
While the concept of Iraqi partnership centers around the many projects, missions, and events involving U.S. Forces and Iraqi Security Forces, there is another layer to developing relationships that is becoming stronger - the partnership between the various ISF elements themselves.
Compare this enterprise to building a new house. We are helping the Government of Iraq rebuild the "house" that is their country. Like all houses, the foundation is critical to the integrity of the house so it may remain intact and protect those who live inside. A house is intended to provide shelter, enable the nurturing of family, and offer security. That is similar to how we want the GoI to function when U.S. Forces leave.
The joint training with the soldiers of the 10th Division Iraqi Army June 1-3 at Contingency Operating Station GarryOwen, Iraq, are just the beginning of establishing those very important foundations.
Soldiers with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force 12 assisted with bringing ISF elements together. In doing so, the 10th IA realized the greater potential for mission success through future collaboration with the Iraqi Air Force under the Air-Ground Integration initiative.
AGI needs operations integrated so air and ground forces can work together on the battlefield to accomplish a common goal. AGI maximizes combat power through synergy of both forces, and therein lays its strength. The synchronization of aviation operations into the ground commander's scheme of maneuver may also require integration of other services or coalition partners. It may also require attack reconnaissance, assault, and cargo helicopters.
AGI is intended to effectively integrate air and ground assets that are required to successfully conduct combined arms operations. Each element brings unique capabilities and limitations to the brigade commander. This integration starts at the home station with implementation of effective operating procedures, relationships, and air-ground team training, such as that burgeoning between the IA and the Iraqi AF.
The Iraqi Aviation Operations Center personnel and the commander of the Iraqi 70th Squadron, Col. Nazih al-Fahaed, planted the seeds for future cooperation by giving capabilities briefings.
Nazih said he felt he got good feedback and interest from the young officers who were present for his part of the briefing about the Iraqi AF unit.
"I think it was good because I asked them about the cooperation between the Air Force and Army and the communication, and I asked them about the daily intelligence reports," Nazih said. "They told me it was good also, and I am happy about how this has started."
He said this is very important for them so they can have a good base for cooperation and spreading ideas for how to incorporate everything between the Army and the Air Force where they didn't have anything before.
"About cooperation, they have good ideas, for the Army and the Air Force. I think this is best because it is easier for us for the future," Nazih said. "I think we are planning to supplement them with cover from the air within their sector or for different cities; we have the capability to cover them in day or night.
" We had an officer here yesterday to show them some of our (reconnaissance assets) and what the goal is of using this equipment and they understand how important that is and how it will help them as well. For our future, our next step, I told them we will be available for them and will be ready to support them."
With that, the first phase of the joint training was completed. The next phase of the partnership includes air assault training with commando companies.