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NATO Training Forces Now Under Multinational Command

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2004 – The Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced the structure of the Iraqi security forces joint training, mentoring and equipping assistance effort Oct. 8 at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium.

The formal NATO commitment to the MNSTC-I mission, assisting the Iraqi government to stand up a military and police security force in the country, will fill gaps in the overall effort, officials said.

"What we are doing, and what the NATO mission has and will do, is help Iraqis - - not do it for them," MNSTC-I Commander U.S. Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus said in a Multinational Force Iraq news release. "The contribution that the NATO training mission will make will be substantial."

The agreement designates Petraeus as the "dual-hatted" commander of MNSTC-I and NATO forces in Iraq and their training mission. NATO's role will be instructional, not placing alliance forces in offensive missions. "We have already, for example, helped the Iraqis reestablish their military academy," Petraeus said.

"We were not able, however, to help them reestablish their staff college or their war college or however they want to conceive them. The NATO mission will take the lead in this endeavor."

Officials also said NATO will help Iraq establish a training, education and doctrine command. Royal Netherlands Air Force Maj. Gen. Karel Hilderink will serve as deputy commander of the NATO force. Ultimate force numbers for the mission have yet to be established.

In Iraq, an $18.6 million MSTC-I construction project slated to bring 11 new Iraqi armed forces medical clinics is now in full swing, according to a release. Major operations on the project commenced in late August. The clinics will be located at seven Iraqi forward operating and training bases.

The project, providing the newly formed Iraqi medical corps with new facilities at various locations throughout the country, will complete the first clinic at the Al Kasik base in northern Iraq in mid-December. The final facilities in the country will come online at the end of January, MSTC-I officials said.

Other locations include clinics at the An Numaniyah, Kurkush, Taji, Kirkuk, Umm Qasr, and Tallil bases. Most of the bases will have two clinics. The medical corps is currently being recruited and trained and should eventually number about 2,500-plus personnel.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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