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First NATO Course for Iraq Begins in Norway

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2004 – Key Iraqi civilian and military leaders arrived at the NATO Joint Warfare Centre in Norway this week to attend an eight-day pilot training course designed to teach them how to promote civil-military cooperation as they build their security institutions.

Nineteen mid- and high-ranking Iraqi security personnel are participating in the first training conducted outside of Iraq in support of the training mission announced by NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the alliance's Istanbul Summit in June. At the summit, 26 heads of state and government declared "full support" for the interim government in Iraq and pledged to help train Iraq's security forces.

The Iraqi Key Leader training, which began Nov. 1 in Stavanger, Norway, focuses on post-conflict resolution and rebuilding, with an emphasis on interagency and civil-military cooperation, officials explained during a news conference today at the NATO Joint Warfare Centre headquarters.

The course addresses the function of an operational-level headquarters, including instruction on crisis management, command and control of forces and the operational planning process. It also covers civil-military cooperation, including liaison with the United Nations, Red Cross and other organizations, officials said.

The center staff offers this instruction through lectures, simulations and exercises that give participants the opportunity to "walk through" possible real-life scenarios under the guidance of NATO instructors, they said.

The Iraqi participants range from senior military officers to civilian staff with Iraq's defense and interior ministries. Iraqi authorities selected them as key leaders from within the country's security forces.

A senior Iraqi representative at today's news conference said the training offered valuable insights into coordination between military and civil forces a significant part of establishing a stable security environment in Iraq. He thanked the coalition for its support and expressed appreciation to NATO for hosting the session.

British Army Maj. Gen. James Short, director of the NATO Joint Warfare Centre, said the facility "is well placed to offer our Iraqi guests training that will be extremely relevant to the challenges and opportunities they face in rebuilding their country's security institutions."

He said the Iraqi leaders have demonstrated that they are "keen to learn" and eager to take their lessons back to Iraq to help them build the security forces that are considered vital to the country's future.

Short said the training will serve as a pilot project for possible follow-on training at the Joint Warfare Centre and in Iraq, if requested by the Iraqi government. The ultimate aim is to help the Iraqis develop their own training capability, officials said today.

The NATO Joint Warfare Centre was activated in October 2003, replacing the former Joint Headquarters North. The new center is a key part of NATO's transformation efforts, focusing on ways to streamline the alliance's military command structure and develop new concepts and doctrine for current security challenges. It specializes in joint headquarters-level training.

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Related Sites:
NATO Joint Warfare Centre
North Atlantic Treaty Organization


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