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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Abramowitz: Drawdown Will Force Adjustments in Iraqi Security Training

Council on Foreign Relations

Interviewee: Col. David J. Abramowitz, Chief of Staff, Iraq Assistance Group
Interviewer: Greg Bruno, Staff Writer

October 3, 2007

Iraq’s cooperation with U.S. forces is seen as crucial to building an Iraqi security force capable of operating independently. Yet funding and resource questions remain unanswered. Col. David J. Abramowitz, chief of staff for the Iraq Assistance Group, which coordinates the program to train Iraqi security forces, says he is seeing steady progress among Iraqi units. But he now questions the ability of U.S. trainers to keep pace with the need to instruct growing numbers of Iraqi security forces. He says the training program will likely become more relevant as President Bush moves forward with plans to reduce the number of U.S. combat brigades to fifteen from twenty.

How do U.S. Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) assist the Iraqi security forces?

We teach [Iraqi units] how to do a modified military decision-making process. Our MiTTs are composed of staff elements, so we get with their staff and help train them how to do the mission, how to plan the mission. Let’s say with the [Iraqi] battalion commander, the battalion MiTT chief is right there with him. As he makes decisions as he’s doing things—knocking through doors doing a search mission or doing a snatch mission—they’re physically right there with them watching them do the mission.

These units are getting very good. And we’re now able to give them enablers. What I mean by enablers is, let’s say the Iraqi army is doing a search mission or a patrol, as you would call it, and all of a sudden they get engaged. We have access to Apaches [ U.S. aerial gunships]. We have access to UH-60s [Black Hawk utility helicopters]. We have access to fire support which they don’t have access to.

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Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

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