U.S. deems Iraqi officers capable of training recruits

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

BAGHDAD U.S. officials said a sufficient number of Iraqi military personnel have graduated officers' course to entitle them to train troops and officers.

They said the new Iraq Army has nearly 1,000 officers who have completed courses to lead units ranging from platoons to brigades.

On June 17, 843 Iraqi army officers graduated from the Jordanian Military Academy in Zarqa, Jordan, Middle East Newsline reported. The program is part of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team's effort to train and equip Iraq's armed forces.

Officials said the graduation of the second class from the Jordanian academy marked the completion of officer training for the Iraqi army's three planned divisions.

"Graduates will form the last four full brigades from the brigade commander and staff down to platoon commanders," Coalition Military Assistance Training Team chief of staff Col. James Mulvenna said. "From here on in, the Iraqi military will train their own officers."

Officials said the courses lasted from six to eight weeks at the Jordanian school. They included a company and platoon leader's course, a brigade and battalion staff course, and a brigade and battalion commander's course that trained junior officers to field lieutenant colonels.

In addition to leadership skills, the Iraqi officers were taught the military's role in a democratic society, international law, the law of armed conflict, unit training development, training strategies, roles and development of noncommissioned officers, problem solving, staffing principles, physical fitness and weapons training.

"Rebuilding the Iraqi army required a modular approach to training given the quantity of personnel who needed to be cycled through," said British Army Col. Kim Smith, a liaison officer with the Office of Security Transition in Amman. "The initial focus was on the leadership."

Officials said the officers will be deployed at training bases throughout Iraq to receive new recruits. The military plans to deploy 27 battalions by the end of 2004.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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