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American Forces Press Service

Coalition, NATO Training Leaders for Iraqi Forces

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2005 – It’s a military maxim that good leaders make good units.

But it is also a maxim that leaders must have training to be as effective as they can be.

In Iraq, getting military leaders at the level above battalion has been a problem, but the coalition and NATO are addressing the challenge.

“The NATO mission is going to form the staff college, the war college, and (the Iraqi) Training and Doctrine Command,” said Army Gen. George Casey, the commander of the Multinational Force Iraq, during a Pentagon briefing today. “They're already starting to do that.”

There are 117 NATO personnel on the ground in Iraq setting up these institutions, said Marine Gen. James Jones during an interview today. Jones is NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe. “Those that emerge from the training will be the Iraqi general staff and the (higher level) officers of other security institutions,” he said.

The plan calls for a war college in Baghdad and a base to train junior officers southeast of Iraq’s capital city. “The idea is to start training about 1,000 junior officers per year in the country and maybe 500 outside,” Jones said.

But the NATO effort calls for establishing institutions, and Iraq needs leaders now, Casey said. He said the Iraqi government selected the men to command Iraqi divisions in late 2004. “On the 6th of January at (Iraq’s) Army Day they stood up nine Iraqi divisions,” he said. “And we just last week had a division commanders conference with the Iraqi division commanders sitting right next to their coalition counterparts, and they had a very good session with those Iraqi commanders.”

The Iraqis are forming their headquarters, and over the next six months to a year, “I think we're going to see Iraqi brigade and division level headquarters coming more and more into the fore,” Casey said.

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