Rumsfeld Visits Transition Team Training at Fort Riley
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
FORT RILEY, Kan., Nov. 10, 2006 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld stopped here yesterday to view the training of military transition teams preparing to deploy to Iraq and assist Iraqi security forces.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld addresses students attending cultural awareness training at Fort Riley, Kan., Nov. 9. The soldiers are preparing for deployment to Iraq. Photo by James M. Bowman
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Stopping here after delivering the Kansas State University Landon Lecture, Rumsfeld saw firsthand a language lab, an improvised-explosive device display, and an Iraqi culture class soldiers go through before deploying. The soldiers training here are part of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division and are scheduled to deploy in January. The military transition teams from the 1st Infantry Division will be embedded with Iraqi army and police units.
In the language lab, Rumsfeld was shown the instruction programs the soldiers go through. The soldiers start with a formal language instruction course with instructors from the Defense Language Institute and move on to a self-paced study program. The soldiers learn basic Iraqi terms and military phrases.
The IED display contained many examples of different kinds of homemade bombs used in Iraq. The soldiers are given classes about IEDs and also go through training scenarios. Army Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, told Rumsfeld that the military transition teams get extra training about IEDs so they can keep themselves and their Iraqi counterparts safe.
The cultural class teaches soldiers how different Iraqi customs and aspects of the culture can affect military operations.
Speaking to the soldiers who will be part of the transition teams, Rumsfeld said the work they do is important, and is proven to be effective. In the long struggle against terrorism, it will ultimately be the Iraqis’ responsibility to take over security of their country, he said.
“The task we have is to help them get to the point where they can do that,” Rumsfeld said. “There isn’t a doubt in my mind that this job can get done and it can get done well.”
Rumsfeld noted that security improvements alone cannot solve the problems in Iraq, but they are an important aspect of success. Military transition teams are critical to success in the security situation, he said.