Embedding Concept With Iraqi Army to Extend to Police Units
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2006 The concept of embedding coalition advisers in Iraqi army units has proven so successful that it will soon be implemented in the Iraqi police units as well, President Bush said following a meeting at the Pentagon today.
President Bush briefs the media at the Pentagon, Jan. 4. Bush, along with other members of the National Security Council, visited the Pentagon for an update on global war on terror. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, USN
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and speaking to reporters following a meeting with his national defense team and three top commanders in Iraq, the president praised progress being made in boosting Iraq's security forces in both numbers and capability. He cited the key role these forces played in maintaining security during the Dec. 15 elections.
That effort will continue to be a primary area of focus in 2006, with particular emphasis on police training, Bush said.
"An important part of our strategy is not only to have a competent Iraqi army, but police forces that are capable of earning the confidence of the Iraqi citizens," he said. "To restore security, Iraq has got to have capable police forces."
Bush called recent reports of abuses within Iraq police units "troubling" and said military and Iraqi leaders are evaluating how to adjust the training offered to prevent potential recurrences.
In one initiative, coalition trainers will work with the Iraqi government to increase the training Iraqi police recruits receive in human rights and the rule of law. This training will help ensure "they understand the role of the police in a democratic society," Bush said.
Coalition transition teams will begin embedding within Iraqi special police units in a program similar to one that's proven effective in the Iraqi army, he said.
"Embedding our folks inside Iraqi army units has worked," he said. "One reason why these units are better able to take the lead (in fighting terrorists) is because they've worked side by side with American specialists and experts -some of our best troops.
"And so we're going to embed these type of soldiers with the Iraqi police forces as well," the president said.
These transition teams are expected to be made up of military police and other military specialists, international police liaison officers and international police trainers, Army Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, public affairs officer for Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, told the American Forces Press Service from Baghdad.
This mix of civilian and military experts, under the leadership of Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, will come under the military control of Multinational Corps Iraq, he said.
Bush described the close association embedded trainers will maintain with the Iraqi police forces they are training. "The coalition teams will go into the field with the police. They'll provide real-time advice and important assistance on patrol and during operations," he said.
"And between operations, they're going to train the Iraqi officers," the president noted. "They're going to help them become increasingly capable and professional so they can serve and protect all the Iraqi people without discrimination."
The new concept goes a step beyond the Police Partnership Program already in effect in Iraq, Wellman said. That program, which pairs coalition mentors with Iraqi security managers at national, provincial and local levels, is designed to help share experience and expertise with the Iraqis to improve law enforcement and security operations, defense officials said.
The plan for embedding experts in Iraqi police units represents "a much more detailed approach" to training these forces and "draws from lessons in the Army that have been successful," he said.
During today's Pentagon meeting, the president met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Peter Pace, and three top Army generals supporting the war on terrorism: Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command; Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of Multinational Force Iraq; and Dempsey.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also attended, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad participated by videoconference.