By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
Jan. 19, 2007 – Stepping up civilian advisors' role in Iraq is a key part of President Bush's diplomatic strategy to stabilize the country, the chief operations officer for the Joint Staff said here. In a Jan. 17 interview, Army Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute cited Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's Middle East mission as an important part of the equation.
"The most prominent feature on the diplomatic angle is ... Secretary Rice right now traveling in the Middle East," Lute said. "(She is) offering fresh initiatives and seeking Arab support for the American way forward in Iraq."
Equally important is an initiative to embed groups of interagency civilians with brigades at combat level, Lute said.
"(Brigades) will receive the injection of a State Department expert, an economics expert, a law and order expert," Lute said. "They will physically join the brigade team."
Lute also explained the command-and-control arrangement of the embedded U.S. interagency partners. "While they still work for an American chain of command, they are living, sleeping, fighting alongside their Iraqi host unit," he said. "Those advisors are embedded there 24/7."
Additional civilian input is "one of the things that have been most positive in terms of feedback from the field," he said.
He added that interagency partners will help rebuild parts of Iraq that have been secured by military forces. "The 'build' phase that follows 'clear' and 'hold' will have increased promise," he said, "because we'll be teamed with interagency capacity down at the very lowest tactical levels."
Lute said the combined expertise of military, plus diplomatic, economic and legal advice will function like a "patchwork quilt, ... where each of the parts reinforces the other."
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