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Homeland Security Advisory

March 11, 2005

Feed Shark Turbo Tagger

Iraqi's Assuming More Security Responsibility

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON,- Iraqi soldiers and police are
assuming more and more responsibility for their country’s
defense, according to Defense Department officials.

U.S. officials have placed the highest emphasis on training
local forces to take over security. Specialists from around
the world are working to train soldiers and police in Iraq.

And it is paying off, officials said.

Iraq now has 141,761 members in its security forces. This
is up from about 136,000 trained and equipped in time for
the Jan. 30 election. The forces include the army, police and
the border patrol.

The Iraqi military has 59,689 servicemembers: 58,992 in the
army, 186 in the air force and 517 in the navy. On Jan. 6,
the Iraqi National Guard became part of the Iraqi army.

The training areas are turning out soldiers and units,
officials said. Once the units are finished, they go into
“on-the-job� training with coalition forces, and coalition
forces “embed� trainers in the units. Once finished, they are
available for assignment through the Iraqi Ministry of
Defense.

The Iraqi 40th Brigade, for example, took over
responsibility for 10 Baghdad neighborhoods. The brigade is responsible
for many of the hotspots in the capital, including Haifa
Street. The Iraqi military did very well in protecting
polling places during the recent elections, officials noted, thus
showing another sign the military is gaining capability.

Officials said the battalion-sized units are working out
well. The problem is in the echelons above. It simply takes
time to develop brigade and division commanders, officials
explained. The coalition is working to train senior leaders
and their staffs. NATO is heading the effort to rebuild
Iraq’s staff and war colleges.

People must understand that Iraq is an immature country in
many ways, Pentagon officials said. The infrastructure
neglect under Saddam Hussein was more than just the electrical
grid or the water and sewage systems. The financial network
atrophied under Saddam. The political system was
nonexistent outside the Baath Party. The executive departments
operated at the whim of the leader and not in response to the
needs of the people.

There are no banks available to deposit checks. Soldiers
receive pay and then have to travel to their families to
physically hand them cash.

Various officials have repeatedly made the point that it
will take time for Iraqis to get used to the idea that it’s
all right to display initiative. For example, the chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a recent Los Angeles
speech that Saddam crushed the “spirit� of the Iraqi people.
Anyone who displayed initiative “was slapped down very
hard,� Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said.

“The great weakness in Iraq is in leadership,� said one DoD
official. Junior officers in the regime’s army have the
professional experience to command companies and battalions.
Officials had to examine senior officers to ensure they
weren’t too heavily involved in Baath Party activities to
command in the new Iraqi military.

Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, the Multinational Security
Transition Command Iraq chief, said good leaders make good
units, and growing those leaders takes time. In the U.S.
military, it takes an average of 21 years to “grow� a brigade
commander. Petraeus, for example, graduated from the U.S.
Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1974 and commanded a
brigade in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1995.

The NATO courses and other coalition efforts will begin to
fix the leadership problem, officials said, adding that as
the Ministry of Defense grows and fleshes out,
administrative instruments so necessary for any armed force will take
hold.

Senior officers in some of the brigades and divisions are
in place. Staff officers and noncommissioned officers are
being trained and assigned. “We will help them,� one Pentagon
official said. “They’ve made a good start. We need to keep
up the momentum.
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Gee!!! That figure is about 140,000 more than Senator Joseph Biden would have you believe! He says only 4000 Iraqi troops have been trained! Horseshit!
The Liberals cant even keep up with the numbers in a war, let alone run one!!!!
Never depend on a Liberal to keep you safe! All they do is run and hide, look at Teddy's postcard/webpage above!!!!

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