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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Iraqi intelligence corps get specialized training at military academy

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi military has formed an intelligence corps from graduates of an academy established in 2005.

So far hundreds of Iraqi cadets have completed advanced courses in intelligence training. The courses were designed with assistance from the U.S.-led coalition.

The Iraq Army has been operating a military intelligence academy in Taji. On June 18, nearly 200 cadets were graduated from the academy, with some of them completing a new geospatial and mapping course, Middle East Newsline reported.

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"What we do helps the Defense Ministry," the commander of the academy, who was not identified, said. "They are in need of the intel we provide them. All the ministries and directorates are all linked with intel. Our aim here is to fight terrorism."

"This is the first time Iraqis have been able to create maps," U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Donaldson, an adviser to the Iraqi military, said. "In the past, mapping was hired out to other countries. Having this capability reduces their dependence on other nations."

Each cadet at the Iraqi Military Intelligence Academy was required to complete a four-week basic military intelligence course and a five-week specialty course. Eight of the students were the first to graduate from the new geospatial and mapping course.

The academy has offered such specialty courses as analysis, counter-intelligence, human intelligence, low-level voice intercept, and reconnaissance and surveillance. In 2008, the academy added signal intercept along with four graduate level courses. The graduate courses were geospatial and mapping, senior intelligence management, advanced human intelligence and advanced interrogation.

Officials said the Iraqi Military Intelligence Academy has trained almost 3,000 personnel since its establishment in 2005. They said that by 2010, the academy would graduate 3,000 cadets per year while faculty would expand from 24 to 135.

"With each graduation more qualified students go out to the ranks of the Iraqi army and help accomplish the mission," U.S. Navy Lt. Chance Hill, an adviser to the intelligence academy said. "As the numbers of graduates grow, we move that much closer to making a professional Iraqi army."

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