War on Terrorism

Thursday, January 21, 2010

U.S. Turns Over Training of Iraqi Federal Police

By Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Hansen
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - Iraqi instructors are now exclusively teaching a four-phase Iraqi Federal Police training course at Contingency Operating Station Cashe South in Iraq. The training program is designed to improve police combat and leadership skills. Transitioning to "Iraqis teaching Iraqis" was always meant to be the end state of Task Force Nassir, said Army 1st Lt. Ilyas Renwick, a platoon leader with 10th Mountain Division's 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He said he's impressed at how smooth the transition process has been.

"The instructors have been great," Renwick said. "We're always here to provide the extra resources and helping hands, but they're doing a great job teaching their [policemen]."

The course starts with basic assessments and training in a classroom, then moves into real-world scenarios. The second phase of training, taught by members of 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Federal Police, includes basic rifle marksmanship, machine-gun familiarization, individual patrol movements and evidence-handling techniques. U.S. soldiers are present for all classes to provide oversight and assistance.

Renwick, a Fayetteville, N.C., native, said he's been impressed with the enthusiasm and cooperation of the policemen in the program, which has undergone several changes over the past year due to changes in the operational environment.

Some tasks have been added or modified at the request of the instructors, who bring real-world experience to the course. Traffic control points, for example, are a permanent structure in Baghdad, whereas U.S. soldiers are used to controlling a temporary TCP. The class needed to be altered to fit the local situation.

Leadership on both sides recognized the federal police had limited training and experience on large weapon systems so added a preventive maintenance instruction class to the program. U.S. forces helped set up the course, which is now taught by Iraqi subject-matter experts.

A similar situation took place with the intermediate casualty-care training. Due to logistical constraints, training aids had been in short supply for a 60-man class. Most policemen had received no first-aid training prior to TF Nassir.

Army Spc. Ryan Jorgensen, a medic assigned to TF Nassir, has been assisting Iraqi medics with this part of the course. Jorgensen said he understands medical training can be a lot to absorb, so he has been limiting his class to one or two tasks each day.

The medical instructor for TF Nassir, Sgt. Adel Sadweg, said the federal police were amazed at first at the extent of training available in the course. He said that too many Iraqi security force casualties occur simply from a lack of tactical field-care knowledge.

"We have absorbed a lot of experience from the Americans, and I like them helping us with more advanced [medical] techniques," said Sadweg, who has been a medic with the Ministry of the Interior for more than six years.

"They're being trained on things they really need," said 1st Lt. Haydar Abd Almajeed, officer in charge of TF Nassir.

(Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Hansen serves with the 366th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

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