American Forces Press Service
May 29, 2009 - Local police officers gathered with their counterparts from the Iraqi National Police and the Iraqi army at the 3rd Iraqi Police Division's new operations center here for a situational update briefing May 26. "[The local police] recognize that they need to work together with the Iraqi army and the Iraqi National Police," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Gene Harding, intelligence team leader for the 3rd Iraqi Police Division National Police Transition Team. "To do that, they needed a functional operations center from which they could conduct operations."
The operations center is outfitted with work areas for liaisons from the army and national police, as well as personnel for key functional areas such as intelligence and communications. This has given Iraqi security forces a unified front for security in Mosul, Harding said.
"Now that they have a place where they can come together, they are coming together," he said. "They are able to plan and coordinate with each other, because they are all right there together."
After reviewing a coalition forces operations center, Maj. Gen. Muhamad Lateaf, commander of the 3rd Iraqi Police Division, decided it was time to create the same type of atmosphere and further unite the security forces in Mosul. Construction on the center began April 20, and 30 days later, the project became a reality.
"We are relieved to have such an area to conduct operations and work hand in hand with our ... counterparts," Lateaf said. "We were able to build the operations center through our joint efforts with the coalition forces."
Since the center began full-scale operations May 20, mission coordination has reaped rewards. In the past week, one mission resulted in the capture of a suspected insurgent, and another uncovered a large weapons cache, Harding said.
The Iraqi police designed, coordinated key pieces, and built the operations center to their specifications.
"They've taken ownership of this since inception," Harding said. "This is 100 percent their operations center. They took ideas from one of our operations centers and made it their own."
Lateaf said the operations center will become pivotal for the Iraqi security forces as coalition forces reposition in accordance with the U.S.-Iraq security agreement. Now that he has a base of operations, he added, he continually is looking for ways to improve the operations center and the resources it provides.
"[The operations center] is not perfect yet, but we are
developing it every day," he said. "Each day, we will continue to improve on our operations and be more successful. This is just the beginning."
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)