IRAQ UPDATE

Friday April 1, 2005

Francis J. Harvey, Secretary of the Army, recently briefed the Pentagon press corps on his recent trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. Following are some of his remarks on Iraq and some highlights of the progress of Iraqi Security Forces.

Francis J. Harvey, Secretary of the Army (bio) (transcript)
- U.S. forces in Iraq continue to play a central role in providing security, facilitating stability and reconstruction, and increasing the performance of Iraqi Security Forces.
- Although there are still significant security challenges in Iraq, there is no doubt the country is moving the right direction.
- Iraqis are on their way to a free and democratic society.
- The strategy of building Iraq's armed forces so they can take the lead in fighting the insurgency is well underway.

To date:
- More than 145,000 Iraqi security personnel have been trained and equipped.
- Another 50,000 Iraqis are either in or awaiting training, and the army is having no trouble recruiting.
- Battalions are engaged in operations throughout the country - both independently and with Coalition forces.
- An Iraqi brigade recently assumed responsibility for a large portion of Baghdad. This is a significant milestone for the new army.

Iraqi Security Forces Training
- With the graduation of nearly 1,500 soldiers at the Kirkush Military Training Base on March 20, all 27 battalions of nine brigades in the new Iraqi Army are now operational. (article)
- The graduation and the completion of the force generation that began last summer is a new turning point for Iraq's Army, Iraqi Gen. Am Jad, deputy chief of staff for training for the Iraqi Army said at the graduation. The general told his troops they would protect the integrity of their country.

Source: DoD

NEWS ABOUT THE ARMY

  • Ceremonies to honor fallen Soldier for OIF's first Medal of Honor (AFIS)
  • Army's vice chief of staff awards captain Bronze Star for valor, Purple Heart (TRADOC News)
  • Enlistment troubles spur new strategies (CT | EB)
  • Army approves full fielding of M-107 sniper rifle (ARNEWS)
  • U.S. Soldier convicted in shooting death of an Iraqi (WP | EB)
  • Soldiers under investigation for cocaine smuggling (MH | EB)

WAR ON TERROR NEWS

  • U.S. general in Iraq to begin study on reducing troop levels (WT | EB)
  • Troop deaths reach lowest point since last year (USAT | EB)
  • Iraq attacks lowest since March 2004, officials say (AFIS)
  • Pentagon blamed for lack of Iraq postwar planning (WP | EB)
  • Ukraine expected to withdraw troops from Iraq by year's end (JP/EB)
  • "Will Iraqis accept both give and take?" -- Opinion (PI | EB)
  • A series of attacks kill many in Iraq (LAT | EB)

OF INTEREST

  • Presidential commission finds flaws in U.S. intelligence (NYT | EB)
  • Report says data on Iraqi arms flawed (WP | EB)
  • Commission recommends intelligence overhaul (AFIS)
  • World Bank approves Wolfowitz (WT | EB)
  • Navy secretary chosen to succeed Wolfowitz (WP | EB)
  • Concern over Wolfowitz departure during QDR (ID/EB)
  • GAO report says Pentagon weapons spending will increase dramatically (NYT | EB)
  • Former White House national security advisor to plead guilty to taking classified documents (WP | EB)
  • U.S. pushes Pakistan on democracy (WSJ/EB)
  • N. Korea demands disarmament by U.S. (LAT | EB)
  • U.S. seeks Argentina's support for regional stability (WT | EB)
  • Venezuelan president says he doesn't want an enemy of the U.S. (MH | EB)
  • Terrorist with U.S. citizenship captured in Iraq (LAT | EB)

WORLD VIEW

  • Rules made to avoid bloodshed during Gaza Strip settlement evacuation (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iraq chief of police killed by car bomb (Aljazeera)
  • U.N. security council to vote on inquiry into Lebanese PM murder (The Daily Star, Lebanon)

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Events

1 April 05 Registration opens for the 21st annual Army Ten-Miler. This year's race will be on Sun., Oct. 2, 2005 in Washington, D.C. Click here for additional race information and secure online registration.

2 April 05 The five premier honor guard drill teams of the U.S. Armed Forces will perform together with local students and emergency service personnel at Potomac Mills Mall, Virginia, from 1 to 4 p.m. Click here for more information.

3 April 05 The DOD World War II 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee will recognize veterans for their outstanding service and sacrifice in San Antonio's Villita Assembly Building from 2-4 pm. Click here for more information.

SENIOR LEADERS ARE SAYING

[O]ur soldiers are well-led, well-trained, and well-equipped. They continue to play a central role in providing security, facilitating stability and reconstruction, and increasing the performance of Afghan and Iraqi security forces. (Transcript)

Dr. Francis J. Harvey
Secretary of the Army

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