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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq opens border guard academy

By Polli Keller

MOSUL, Iraq (Army News Service, Oct. 7, 2005) -- A border enforcement academy in northern Iraq is now ready to train Iraqi guards to protect their country’s borders.

Working together, the Iraqi Province of Sulaymaniyah, Ministry of Interior, an Iraqi construction company, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have finished the $17.2 million facility. The Department of Border Enforcement Academy was actually turned over to the Iraqi government in July, and it is now beginning to train border guards.

The construction and renovations of the academy included classrooms, administrative facilities, barracks, dining and maintenance facilities along with complete water, sewer and electrical systems. It is the only facility of its type in the province with potable running water and a state-of-the-art dining facility, officials said.

Goal to add 11,000 border guards

The Sulaymaniyah DBE Academy is one of three facilities operated by the Ministry of the Interior to train recruits and serving members of the Iraqi border police, said Col. Richard Jenkins, USACE Gulf Region North commander. The other two academies are located in, Wasit Province’s Al Kut and in Basrah Province’s Shaibah.

The objective of these academies is to train new recruits to reach the DBE staffing goal of more than 28,000, officials said. The current DBE strength stands at just over 17,000.

The commander of the Multi National Forces-Iraq considers effectively controlling the borders of the nation of Iraq to be his top priority.

“The importance of the academy,” said Jenkins, “are the recruits that this academy trains. They are critical to the accomplishment of CG MNF-I’s top priority of border security.”

Accomplishing the DBE staffing goal, along with the construction and equipping of 254 new border forts and fielding an effective, nationwide command and control system, will substantially help to carry out this goal.

Academy to boost local economy

The academy will generate new jobs for the local economy. It will employ numerous officers, teachers, more than 800 trainees, and several civilians working as cooks and maintenance personnel. The American company, ECC International, and an Iraqi subcontractor worked together to build this facility. During the construction, more than 300 local workers were employed.

Dave Varner, USACE project manager, addressed the biggest challenge in the project: “The schedule was very aggressive and presented the biggest challenge, but for the most part, it was met…”

The USACE Sulaymaniyah Resident Office manages construction and renovation of several primary and secondary schools, clinics, and electrical substations. Currently, there are 49 new constructions and 12 renovation projects ongoing in the region.

(Editor’s note: Polli Keller is a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region North.)

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