US troops in Iraq adapting to new role
Written by John J. Kruzel, American Forces Press Service
Thursday, March 11, 2010 11:03
WASHINGTON – Some of the 98,000 U.S. military forces in Iraq have already made the transition from security to stability operations ahead of the September deadline, American military commanders report.In accordance with an agreement brokered between Baghdad and Washington, the drawdown to 50,000 U.S. troops before September will happen as the American mission shifts from its current role as a partner of Iraqi Security Forces to primarily one of training and advising.
A U.S. Soldier assigned to 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Brigade, guards a window in an Abu Ghraib building in Baghdad, March 7, 2010. U.S. service members in Iraq are adapting to their new role of training and advising the Iraqi Security Forces as U.S. drawdown plans continue. U.S. Army file photo by Spc. Advin Illa-Medina.
But on the heels of what has been touted as a “historic” parliamentary election in Iraq this week -- months before the drawdown milestone -- U.S. forces in some instances have begun to change missions, said Army Maj. Gen. Terry A. Wolff, commander of U.S. Division - Center.
“We're pretty close to what that will look like already,” Wolff, whose area of operations includes Baghdad and the western Iraqi province of Anbar, told Pentagon reporters in a news conference yesterday.
What allows U.S. forces to pivot from accompanying Iraqi units in joint operations and providing aerial and intelligence support upon request to a role that centers on training, advising and assisting is the evolution of Iraq’s indigenous forces, the general said.
Since his previous rotation in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, Wolff said ISF have passed tests of their quality “with flying colors.” He cited security during the March 7 election in which attacks reportedly killed some 38 people across the country but failed to close any polling sites or dissuade any of the estimated 12 million Iraqis -- about 62 percent of the electorate -- who cast ballots.
“I worked helping to train the [ISF] on my last rotation,” Wolff recalled. “It was an army of about 110,000. Well, it's grown to about double that. It was a police of barely 150,000; it's nearly triple that. And so the Iraqi Security Forces demonstrated on Sunday that they're up to the task.
“I'm pretty confident that they can continue to secure the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people,” he continued. “There's no doubt in my mind that they can do that exceptionally well. And as the next government settles in, they're more than up to the task, and they demonstrated that.”...
This is a great inside look at Iraq today, which you won't have seen in the msm. Go here to read the rest.
And that IS a B*N*S*N story!