Coalition Will Increase Training for Iraqi Security Units
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, Sept. 4, 2003 The United States and other coalition forces will increase efforts to train and stand up Iraqi security units, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today during a tour of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
More security forces are needed in Iraq. U.S. commanders believe the best place to get more forces is from the Iraqi population. U.S. military officials have said repeatedly that more American forces are not the answer.
Under the proposal, some Iraqis who were officers in the former regime's security forces may participate. Administration officials said Iraqis who served as lieutenant colonels or below are eligible to join any of the Iraqi security forces. These include the Iraqi police, the new Iraqi army, the Civil Defense Corps, the border guard, and the electric-line and oil-pipeline police.
Officials stressed, however, that officers will be examined individually. If officials determine the individual is too tied to the former regime, he will not be allowed to join. Experience will show if the cutoff at lieutenant colonel will work. Officials said if reality shows lieutenant colonels are influenced by the former regime, the level will be dropped.
Some 55,000 to 60,000 Iraqis now work with coalition forces. About 35,000 are members of the Iraqi police. Officials said the process will take a long time. It takes months to train a police person, for example.
In the meantime, trained officers can start building skeleton organizations so that when trained people come into the unit, they will have a place.
Members of the Civil Defense Corps will be attached to coalition units. They will patrol Iraq's cities and countryside and help coalition forces pick up intelligence and aid in translation. The units will be akin to the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army - or KATUSA - program. KATUSAs (pronounced kah- TOO-sahs) still round out American units in the Republic of Korea. They help U.S. soldiers navigate the culture of Korea, and they are soldiers.
Once Iraq is on its feet, these units will transfer over to Iraqi security forces.