Iraqi Security Forces Gaining in Quality, General Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2005 Iraqi security forces are growing in quality as well as quantity, a senior U.S. military officer told reporters at a Baghdad news conference today.
Iraq's current 216,000 soldiers and police officers are being trained and equipped to assume the country's internal security needs and to prevent terrorists from using the country as a base for operations, Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said.
To imbue the Iraqi army with professionalism its officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted soldiers are required to attend a number of military schools located across the country, Lynch said. These, he said, include enlisted basic and officer candidate training facilities, officer and NCO leadership schools, and an ethics and leadership institute for senior Iraqi military leaders.
The Iraqi army also has established a service and support institute, Lynch said, as well as a world-class firing range that enables troops to train with all weapons in the Iraqi army's inventory.
Some of Iraq's future military leaders are getting their educations from abroad, Lynch said. An Iraqi cadet at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Great Britain, he said, graduated this year as the top foreign cadet. And a large number of Iraqi cadets will enter the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., this summer, the general said.
The Iraqi police also receive quality training, Lynch said, noting there are now seven police academies located across the country.
"In addition to the basic police officer training, there are specialty schools for the special police commando brigade, for the members of the directorate of border enforcement, for the Iraqi highway patrol and special police," Lynch said.
Some Iraqi police are being trained overseas, Lynch said, either by American or NATO instructors. To date, about 225 Iraqi police have received this kind of training, he said.
"We will continue to focus on training and equipping the Iraqi security forces, as that's most important as we work our way to the end state," Lynch said.