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New Commands in Iraq to Replace Combined Joint Task Force

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2004 – Two new military commands will stand up in Iraq May 15, replacing the current coalition military organization.

Multinational Corps Iraq and Multinational Force Iraq will replace Combined Joint Task Force 7.

Coalition military spokesman Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, at a Baghdad news conference today, said the change addresses a concern that a combined joint task force headquarters was not sufficient to handle the military workload in Iraq efficiently.

"It's certainly more than a formality," he said. "It is trying to get the proper command structure for the days, weeks and months ahead."

Kimmitt explained that Multinational Corps Iraq will focus on the tactical fight -- the day-to-day military operations and the maneuvering of the six multinational divisions on the ground. Army Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz will command the corps. Meanwhile, Multinational Force Iraq will focus on more strategic aspects of the military presence in Iraq, such as talking with sheiks and political leaders, and on training, equipping and fielding Iraqi security forces.

Multinational Force Iraq "will certainly be involved in the tactical operations, but only to the extent that they have somewhat of an operational and strategic impact on this country," Kimmitt said. Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, current CJTF 7 commander who will head MNF Iraq, already has been working the strategic issues, and the new command structure will enable him to focus more of his time and energy in that direction, Kimmitt said.

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