By By Pfc. Christopher M. Gaylord 13th Public Affairs DetachmentApril 10, 2008
The Multi-National Corps-Iraq deputy commanding general for Coalition and Infrastructure, division DCGs and various subject matter experts got together to exchange ideas and assess priorities during an infrastructure energy summit held by MNC-I at the Joint Visitors Bureau Friday.
"The purpose was really to bring together the main players involved in the reconstruction of this country so they can be informed on what's really going on, and finally assess some goals," said Brig. Gen. Nicolas Matern, MNC-I DCG for Coalition and Infrastructure. "We wanted to bring elements throughout theater at corps, division and strategic levels together, so we can really understand the needs of the Iraqi people."
The main topics discussed included oil, the electrical system, water and irrigation, and transportation, Matern said.
Presentations from subject matter experts addressed these four key areas of extreme importance in Iraq. Summit attendees then discussed the key areas and their challenges and concerns regarding infrastructure.
"Everyone has an idea of what the strategic challenges are," Matern said. "You can't have life in today's world if you don't have oil, water and electricity."
"The overall idea was to bring together the force and link them with some of our educated personnel, to exchange ideas and best practices," said Col. Rock Donahue, staff engineer, MNC-I. "We can assess priorities and look ahead to see where we need to go to provide the essential services."
The four subject matter experts have each been in Iraq for a while studying their respective areas, Donahue said.
Future tasks and reconstruction projects will be carried out based on the results of the conference.
"MNC-I will incorporate Multi National Division reconstruction and development project priorities into the Reconstruction Integrated Prioritized Projects List Model to develop a working integrated prioritized projects list," Donahue said. "We will continue to press Government of Iraq ministries to fund certain reconstruction and development projects."
At the end of the day, much could be said for the future planning of reconstruction operations and projects in Iraq, after division generals and the experts put their heads together.
"This is all about promoting hope in the unit, building capacity and confidence, and above all giving the Iraqi people some sense of hope," Donahue said. "I thought the exchange of information was tremendous."