By Jamie Findlater
American Forces Press Service
Sept. 21, 2007 - The NATO Training Mission in Iraq is developing a new Gendarmerie-type police training program focusing on key leadership skills taught by an Italian Carabinieri training unit. The French Gendarmerie and Italian Carabinieri are military bodies charged with police duties among civilian populations. Officials believe this approach is ideally suited to security conditions in Iraq.
Italian Maj. Gen. Alessandro Pompegnani, deputy commander of the NATO Training Mission, said he is confident that new efforts to expand police training under guidance of the Italian police force will be highly successful in allowing Iraqi security leadership to develop "the right mentality."
"The conditions of the streets of Iraqi towns and cities are quite different than many of the streets in Europe," Pompegnani said yesterday in a conference call with online journalists and "bloggers."
However, he said he is confident that the tactics of the Carabinieri police training that has "proven effective in over 100 countries (is) certainly applicable to the Iraqi forces."
Pompegnani outlined the progress of operations and explained plans for specialized program in the region, projected to begin in October. The specialized law enforcement training program, employing the careful guidance and mentoring support of about 40 Carabinieri soldiers, will equip 75 percent of Iraqi security leaders in country, he explained.
The two-year program will train a core of eight battalions of national police at Camp Dublin, near Bagdad International Airport. Each course will include two months of intensive training focusing on counterinsurgency, modern forensic techniques, and riot and crowd control, he said.
The work is focused on training, advising and mentoring Iraqi mid- to senior-level leaders. This will give the Iraqis "a unique opportunity to modernize and streamline their leadership standards," Pompegnani said.
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Iraqi national police authorities have approved the new training structure, and Camp Dublin is being refurbished to accommodate the law enforcement training. Officials also are working to procure equipment for the program, the general explained.
The NATO Training Mission in Iraq was established in 2004 to assist the Iraqis in building their security forces. Seventeen countries involved in this effort on the ground, and nine other countries provide equipment, material and strategic support.
(Jamie Findlater is assigned to the New Media branch of American Forces Information Service.)