On the Ground: Forces Train Iraqis to Manage Radio Waves, Information Security
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 4, 2009 U.S. forces in Iraq increasingly are focused on training Iraqis to be self-sufficient, and most recently that training has brought Iraqis closer to managing their communications frequencies, information security and automotive maintenance.
Fourteen students drawn from Iraq’s ministries of Communications, Defense and Interior and from the Communications and Media Commission graduated from a course on electromagnetic spectrum management taught by members of the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency's Joint Spectrum Center based in Annapolis, Md. The spectrum provides a finite number of frequencies to enable communications and technologies such as radar and weapons systems.
Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq’s communications directorate conducted the course for select Iraqi frequency managers who learned how to use, operate, manage, and maintain client-server hardware and software associated with Spectrum XXI, a spectrum-management software application the coalition gave to the Iraqi government.
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Brundidge, co-chair of the Security Agreement Joint Committee on Spectrum Management, presented the students with their course certificates of completion. He reminded them that good stewardship and cooperation between Iraqi ministries was an important part of their new roles as frequency managers.
"Frequencies have to be managed, and you have to coordinate, and that takes teamwork," Brundidge said. Just as the students cooperated closely during the course, he said, he hopes they will take that spirit back to their respective organizations.
He also noted that the frequency spectrum is a valuable resource to the continued growth and development of Iraq's security forces as well as to commercial and private industry, linking the graduates' responsibilities directly to their country's success.
"I hope you will all understand the significance of what you learned and the importance that that's going to have as the government of Iraq moves forward in the areas of telecommunications and information exchange," Brundidge said.
A special aspect of the course was a train-the-trainer component designed by U.S. Joint Spectrum Center instructors to hand over teaching responsibility for future courses to Iraqis.
Salah Abed Alamer, a Defense Ministry employee who teaches computer applications at the ministry’s training center, was selected to receive special training to become the first spectrum management instructor in Iraq.
"Now the instructor that is trained will begin to build the curriculum and the format and the classroom processes for how we will continue," Brundidge said.
Salah said he expects to train about 150 Defense employees from across Iraq in the next two years.
Also, two senior trainers with the coalition’s Intelligence Transition Team graduated 45 students representing several Iraqi ministries April 29 from an introductory security management course in Baghdad. The two-week course provides instruction on the dangers of security lapses and the importance of complying with security management policies.
"This was a special course, because many intelligence and security agencies were represented," Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chad LeBoeuf, a senior trainer for the team, said. "This course represents the next step in ensuring our counterparts are prepared for the role of information sharing and safeguarding classified information."
Having a well-developed security program protects not only equipment and information but unit personnel as well, he said. "Security management programs are essential in preventing adversaries, foreign countries and traitors from gaining sensitive information and assets and using it against a nation and its people."
The security managers serve on the front line to safeguard that information.
"This course was excellent, because it provided me an update on how to manage sensitive information," said one student who serves with an Iraqi intelligence service. "The management of secure information is a daily process, and this course has helped me to become more aware of up-to-date procedures."
Another student found the facility security portion of the course especially helpful.
"I used to work on a SWAT team and didn't know about security management," said a student who has been in a security management role for five months. "I now have the bigger perspective on the importance of facility security management, and that will help me to be more professional in the future."
The course is part of ongoing efforts to prepare Iraqis for an increased role in information sharing, the chief said. "Knowing that they have the right security concepts in place enables other countries to confidently share information with Iraq. This course is another step in the direction of global information sharing."
Meanwhile, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq trained 33 national policemen as automotive mechanics in the past two weeks, bringing to 86 the number of police who have graduated to provide basic maintainer skills necessary to sustain the M1114s used to perform their daily police activities.
"The Iraqi people were isolated from training for a long period, and the Iraqi people are intelligent and picked themselves up," Iraqi Maj. Gen. Adnan, commander of the Iraqi National Police, said at the graduation.
the Iraqi National Police asked for this training in an effort to legitimize and professionalize their automotive mechanics to increase and maintain equipment readiness. Coalition officials said they expect to have 120 national police trained by May 28 to be certified as automotive mechanics.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq news releases.)