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U.S. Army Instructors Work Iraqi Leadership Issues

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2006 – A number of initiatives are under way to instill democratic values in the Iraq security forces. One such initiative involves U.S. Army leadership experts helping to set up the Iraqi Center for Values, Principles and Leadership here.

A team from the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is working with American and Iraqi personnel to develop doctrine and formulate tools to make values a part of the soldier ethos of the Iraqi army.

Army Lt. Col. Todd Huderle led the four-man team during its recent deployment here. The team trained American experts to teach Iraqis. "This is a train-the-trainer set-up," Huderle said. "American instructors will, in turn, train Iraqis with the goal of refocusing and reshaping the Iraqi officer and NCO Corps."

The lessons are lifted from the training American officers receive at Fort Leavenworth. Jack Kem, a Leavenworth professor, said the team made efforts to make the examples they use applicable to Americans and Iraqis. "While some of the lessons in leadership come from World War II, we updated the curricula to include scenarios from Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. In fact, we are always looking for newer, more relevant examples."

The training looks at the core values a soldier should have: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor and personal courage. The training also looks at the proper role of a military in a democracy and civilian-military relations.

"The idea is the same that we have with the U.S. Army," said Thomas G. Bradbeer, an assistant professor of military leadership. "The idea is to invigorate soldiers and instill principles of leadership, ethics, morals, values and beliefs."

The team originally was to present the classes to American and Iraqi instructors. But there has been a delay in appointing the Iraqi members of the team.

Instead, the team presented the lessons to the associates who will instruct the Iraqi members when they arrive, hopefully no later than the end of June. The instructors teach via the experiential learning model. This method has proved to work with adults, and uses examples and personal experiences.

As Iraq's government takes root and more democratic institutions begin, teaching the traits valuable in a democracy is important. "There are certain values in leadership that are pretty transcendent in democratic government," said Richard A. Olsen, a team chief at the college. "Officers used to a totalitarian method will not prosper in a military service in a democracy."

Olsen said it may take the retirement of many older officers used to older methods before the entire army adopts the values of a democracy. "You influence the younger officers and the mid-level officers," he said. "We are going to have to slowly but surely incorporate the values of a democratic Iraq into the army.

"How do we influence the senior level leadership in the United States? When they are majors and lieutenant colonels," he said.

Kem said training in the Iraqi army must be more than just tactics and strategy. "You also must teach respect for other people and other viewpoints and why that is important," he said. "Iraqis also have to understand what their constitution says and what it guarantees. The military needs to understand not only what (the Iraqi constitution) says, but why it says that. It's really a remarkable document."

The men said that the country seems hungry for freedom. "There are critics who say Arabs cannot handle freedom," Olsen said. "If that is true, then why are so many Iraqis dying for freedom? Why are so many risking themselves and their families to serve in the new Iraqi Army?"

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Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
Command and General Staff College

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