Saturday, June 30, 2007

Afghan Police Training Mirrors Army Success

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2007 – Afghan
police forces are quickly following in the footsteps of their Afghan army counterparts to help fight the Taliban, thanks largely to training being offered through Task Force Phoenix, the task force commander told bloggers earlier this week. Speaking from Kabul, Afghanistan on June 27, Army Brig. Gen. Robert Livingston detailed the training successes taking place under the auspices of Task Force Phoenix. Livingston is commander of the South Carolina National Guard's 218th Enhanced Separate Brigade, which is leading the training and mentoring effort.

"We've been mentoring the army for the last four and a half years, and have a very successful record with them," Livingston reported. He noted that the Afghan
army is now conducting many operations at the corps level.

Training the Afghan police has now become a top priority, and similar successes are occurring within the Afghan police since Task Force Phoenix picked up the mentoring mission in late 2006, he said.

Similar to the way the task force trains the Afghan army, it has embedded training teams with the police, he said. They work alongside NATO International Security Assistance Force teams
"to ensure that we're training one army and that we're
training one police force," Livingston said.

"We're in the process of doing the same type of operation with the
police that we did with the army," he said, "and we've had some very encouraging results early on with the police."

Livingston reported growing discontent about living with violence. "I think what we see throughout Afghanistan is that the people are tired of fighting," he said. "They are tired of the insurgency and the rule of the Taliban."

The Afghan government recognizes that the key to doing away with the insurgency is to strengthen the police force so it can serve the Afghan people, he said.

Task Force Phoenix is supporting this effort through its efforts to train both the police and military, he said. The army "is well on its way and in many cases has primacy," and the
police force is following its lead, he said.

"Initial results with the police are very, very encouraging," he said.

Counter-Insurgency Expert Sees Progress in Iraq

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2007 – A new Iraq strategy that targets multiple
terrorist outposts and capitalizes on Iraqis' growing dislike of al Qaeda are combining to degrade insurgent operations in the country, a counter-insurgency expert said today in Baghdad. "The intention behind the counter-operations that we're doing is to try to knock over several insurgent safe havens simultaneously," David Kilcullen, the senior counter-insurgency advisor to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, said during a conference call with military analysts.

Operations Phantom Thunder, Arrowhead Ripper and other ongoing, surge-affiliated actions in Iraq are being conducted simultaneously across a wide area, Kilcullen pointed out, noting one of his prime duties in Iraq is helping U.S. and Iraqi forces adapt different strategies and tactics to better confront insurgent challenges.

Arrowhead Ripper is one of several operations that are part of an overall offensive against insurgents in Iraq called Operation Phantom Thunder, which began June 15, once all of the surge troops were in place. President Bush directed a deployment of about 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq earlier this year as a surge of forces to assist the Iraqi government in confronting the insurgency.

Previous single-focus
military operations conducted in Iraq, such as the 2004 campaign against insurgents in Fallujah, were successful, but many of the enemy moved elsewhere to fight another day, Kilcullen said.

The Fallujah battle "focused a lot of effort onto a very small part of Iraq," Kilcullen noted, and "had an effect a little bit like stamping on a puddle," as the enemy moved their infrastructure to other parts of the country.

Ongoing operations in Iraq seek "to move on several of these (enemy-held) areas at once," Kilcullen explained, while making it more difficult for the
terrorists to relocate and regroup.

A movement from large
U.S. military base camps to smaller U.S.-Iraqi manned joint security stations set amid the Iraqi populace is part of the new security strategy that works in conjunction with Iraqi police to hold areas recently cleared of insurgents, Kilcullen said.

This change has also contributed to a decrease in successful enemy improvised explosive device attacks, Kilcullen said. U.S. troops are now already deployed in the areas they patrol, he noted, and therefore aren't as vulnerable to roadside-bombs attacks as they were before, when they'd convoy from large base camps to mission areas.

Additionally, Iraq's people are fed up with al Qaeda, Kilcullen said. Al Qaeda was once aligned with a number of Sunni tribes in western Iraq's Anbar province, but many sheikhs there are now rejecting the
terrorist group, Kilcullen said.

Kilcullen said Anbar's tribal leaders came to dislike al Qaeda's zealous, Taliban-like oppression, as well as the terrorist group's negative impact on local trucking and construction businesses that are traditional money-makers for the tribes.

"I think that al Qaeda have really worn out their welcome," Kilcullen said, noting a key U.S. objective in Iraq is to prevent it from becoming a safe haven for

Additionally, many Anbar tribal leaders are now aligning with the Iraqi government through the registration of their local militias.

Such cooperation with the central government has spread from Anbar province, Kilcullen said, to north Babil, which is located south of Baghdad, to Diyala province. And, this rapprochement is now moving into parts of southern Iraq, where many Shiites reside, Kilcullen noted.

The Shiite tribes "are now starting to see what the Sunni tribes are getting" by cooperating with the central government and are saying, 'Wait a minute, we want some of that, as well,'" Kilcullen pointed out. Many of these Shiite
leaders, he noted, are also starting to reject the Shiite extremists.

The common link between these Sunni and Shiite leaders is that they believe al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists are leading them to destruction, Kilcullen said.

"What we're seeing here is the population of Iraq starting to reject terrorist groups," Kilcullen said. "I think that's a good sign, in that it's not us enforcing absence of al Qaeda, which would mean that we'd have to essentially occupy Iraq for a very long term period to make that stick."

Instead, the Iraqis are "driving out al Qaeda from their midst," he said.

Kilcullen acknowledged peace isn't breaking out in Iraq, just yet. But recent developments there, like Sunnis' rejection of al Qaeda, provide cause for optimism, he said.

"There's a long way to run, but I think it's a positive indicator at this stage," he said.

Iraq Rebuilding Shifts from Western Contracts to Iraqis

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2007 – All of the $11 billion appropriated for the Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Fund has been obligated, the work is 83 percent complete, and Iraqis are doing more and more of the work, a senior
military official said yesterday. But work will need to continue in the region for at least another year and a half to finish the projects started, said Army Brig. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division.

As of June 10, 2,924 of a planned 3,393 Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Fund projects are finished, according to corps reports. Of 7,494 planned projects under Commander's Emergency Response Program funding, 6,278 projects are finished.

Construction in the region has shifted from largely Western-based contracts to more contracts awarded to Iraqi contractors, Walsh said. About 60 percent of the contractors are now Iraq-based, and that number is expected to grow, he said.

Still, with all the successes in the region, Walsh said, the rebuilding efforts are not moving as fast as he would like.

"It's very difficult to get the skilled labor, the right materials, the right security, the right politics, all in one place so that you can get construction work done," he said. "Sometimes it's a year-and-a-half process.

"It's not going as fast as I would like, but then I am an impatient person, as most Americans are," Walsh said. "I think it's going as fast as it can."

Primary health care clinics take about a year to finish, he said. The corps is building 150 in the region. The corps has renovated 16 hospitals funded by the Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Fund. Nine more are on tap to be finished. In Basrah, a 94-bed children's hospital should be finished this time next year.

Water and sewer plants take up to three years to finish, Walsh said. The corps just finished one in Irbil in northern Iraq, and another in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. The two projects total about $450 million. To date, the corps' projects have delivered water to an additional 2.6 million people there. Officials plan to provide water to twice that many people before all projects are finished.

Corps officials are trying to bring Baghdad up to 12 hours of power daily. The city now has about eight hours daily. Most of the rest of country is up past 12 hours daily. Before the war, the outlying provinces may have had only two hours daily.

Part of a "good" problem in supplying electricity is the recovering economy in Iraq, Walsh said. As the economy grows, local citizens are buying more televisions, refrigerators and other appliances, which, in turn, drives up the need for power.

"So their demand for electricity is continuing to go up as we are trying to reach that demand. I think that's a good-news story -- that we are trying to catch up with what the Iraqis are able to purchase," Walsh said.

The Iraqi people never had 24 hours of power, Walsh said. To bring them up to 12 hours is a "significant step forward."

The biggest problem with rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq, Walsh said, is that it has been underfunded and not maintained for the past 25 years.

"You're not going to turn that around in two or three years. These are large construction projects," Walsh said. "We are working with the Iraqi government ... so that they switch from failure maintenance to a preventive maintenance mentality."

An example of underfunded infrastructure is the nation's poorly maintained pipelines and oil refineries. Because of a lack of efficiency, it became cheaper to buy oil from other countries and have it trucked in than to rely on Iraq's own oil resources, Walsh said.

Other obstacles in the rebuilding effort are insurgent and criminal attacks on the sites, Walsh said.

Electric cables are taken down from towers and melted to sell. Water lines and pipelines are sometimes targeted by those with grudges against specific villages.

"It is difficult to protect a nation's entire infrastructure, whether it is in Iraq or the United States," Walsh said. Typically, Iraqi contractors hire their own security during the construction as part of the contract, Walsh said.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Trend Lines Improve in Baghdad As Residents Step Forward

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2007 – Americans still face a tough fight inside Baghdad, but the trend lines are improving, the commander of Multinational Division Baghdad said today.
Army Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., speaking from Iraq, told Pentagon reporters that the overall trend lines in the city are positive. "The number of attacks, first of all, has come down," he said. "The effect of those attacks has come down significantly."
One example is in car bombs. While the number of car bomb attacks has remained relatively constant since November 2006, the effects of those attacks have dropped.

"That's due to safe neighborhoods that have been created, the safe markets that have been created," he said. Division and Iraqi forces have worked hard to target car bomb cells, and the cells used to command and control the bombers, he said.

The number of murders in Baghdad also has dropped, he said. There have been five murders in two days and, while any murder is unfortunate, "the numbers are way lower than they were when we started this," Fil said.

The division also is working to reconcile sectarian groups and bring more people under the Iraqi government umbrella.

"We are in reconciliation with many of the tribes both inside and outside of Baghdad, and it is not a matter of arming militias," he said. "In fact, these tribes are already well armed. What we are doing, though, is embarking in a dialogue with them, and some of them who have previously been fighting us have come to us as we have spoken with them, and they want to fight with us."

Fil said Iraqis "are tired of al Qaeda and the influence of al Qaeda in their tribes and in their neighborhoods, and they want them cleaned out."

The groups want the alliance, and Fil said it is a positive development. However, officials remain cautious. "We are working closely with the government of Iraq and the Iraqi security forces," he said.

Any who volunteer to work with the division must sign an oath of allegiance to the nation of Iraq. "They have to renounce violence," he said. "If we do embark upon organizing them into groups, it has to be done under the auspices of either the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Interior."

The division is working with a group of 1,500 men in the Abu Ghraib area who want to serve in the security forces of Iraq. They are very carefully vetted with tribal leadership, and then they are brought before an Interior Ministry panel for the interview process.

"So it's a deliberate program," Fil said. "I think it's got huge promise. We're very excited about it. It is not just on tribes, it's also inside the city in some of the neighborhoods. We'd like to do the same thing with some of the Shiia groups as well, both on the east and west side of the rivers."

Coalition Forces Control About Half of Baghdad

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2007 – Coalition forces are in control of more than 50 percent of Baghdad and are making progress in the rest, the coalition's military commander in the city said today.
Army Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr. spoke to Pentagon reporters from his command post at Camp Liberty, Iraq. He commands the Multinational Division Baghdad.

The coalition strategy starts with disruption of the enemy in Baghdad neighborhoods and moves through clearance, controlling, retention and then finally transitions to pure Iraqi security forces control. There are 474 mahalas - neighborhoods - in Baghdad, and coalition forces track progress in each, Fil said.

In April, coalition forces were in the first phase - disruption - in 41 percent of the mahalas, 35 percent were in the clearing process, and 19 percent of the mahalas were in the control phase.

"That has come up significantly, and now we're at about 15, 16 percent of these are in the disruption phase," Fil said. Thirty-six percent of the mahalas - 191 - are in the clear phase, "which means we're in there with our forces and the Iraqi security forces in active operations."

Around 195 of the mahalas are in control, and "then there are actually a little over 7 percent of them, 34 of the mahalas, that have actually transitioned into the retain pace. So control and retain together is about 48 and something percent."

The numbers will continue to change as more progress is made, Fil said. The number of neighborhoods in clearance of forces remains relatively constant, "because that's as much work as we are confident in doing with the forces we have available," Fil said.

Coalition forces are aggressively conducting operations throughout the capital and denying sanctuary for al Qaeda and other extremist groups in areas like East Rashid, Mansour, Amiriyah and Adhamiya, Fil said. "We are hitting them where it hurts, and we're taking away their ability to control neighborhoods and brutalize the population," he said.

U.S., Afghan Troops Seize 16 Suspected Taliban in Raid

American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2007 – Afghan and U.S. forces today detained 16 militants during a raid on an alleged Taliban compound and began an offensive to clear the Taliban from the Helman River's western bank. In Nangarhar province's Sherzad district, coalition forces acted on credible intelligence that led to three separate compounds. The compounds were suspected of harboring Taliban and foreign fighters who had previously targeted Afghan and coalition forces.

Taliban forces inside two of the compounds attempted to engage coalition forces as they approached. Coalition troops fired on the militants, killing the assailants and quickly securing the compounds.

The anti-insurgent forces searched the compounds and found rocket-propelled grenade launchers and several grenades, which were removed to a safe distance and destroyed.

No civilians were injured in the operations.

The detainees will be questioned as to their identities and involvement in militant activities.

Elements of the 205th Afghan National Army Corps, advised by coalition forces, began a new operation to clear the Taliban on the western bank of the Helmand River today.

Afghan and coalition forces were in the process of clearing the river area when an enemy mortar crew started firing at their position. After ground forces determined where the enemy was firing from, they called in coalition close-air support, which destroyed the mortar-firing position, killing several enemy combatants.

In a separate engagement during this operation, enemy forces attempted to ambush the Afghan and coalition forces with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The Afghan and coalition troops returned fire, killing numerous enemy fighters.

Several compounds were cleared of enemy fighters in the first 12 hours of the operation, officials said. More than a dozen Taliban were killed. No civilians have been reported killed during the operation.

"The residents of the Helmand province should be able to enjoy the same freedoms that most of the world enjoys on a daily basis: freedom from oppression, freedom to receive an education and freedom to live in a safe Afghanistan," said
Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. "These are some of the freedoms that most of us take for granted. This operation in the Helmand province is one more step toward achieving those freedoms."

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases)

DoD Announces Soldiers Status as Missing-Captured

The Department of Defense has changed the status of two soldiers serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom from duty status whereabouts unknown (DUSTWUN) to missing-captured.
Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich., and Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass., were declared missing-captured June 27.

On May 12, Fouty and Jimenez were categorized as DUSTWUN when their patrol was attacked by enemy forces.They are assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Efforts continue for their successful and safe return.For more information in regard to the ongoing search and recovery operations please contact the Coalition Press Information Center-Baghdad at (703) 270-0299 or (703) 270-0320.

Change in status questions can be directed to Shari Lawrence, deputy public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Va., at (703) 325-8856, after hours: (703) 946-0791.

The public affairs officer assisting Fouty's family is Maj. Dawn Dancer, (517) 481-8140 or (517) 481-8141, after hours: (517) 896-0860, Michigan National Guard.

The public affairs officer assisting Jimenez's family is Lt. Col. Jeffrey Buczkowski, (212) 784-0113 or (212) 784-0112, after hours: (785) 410-5522, Army public affairs-New York Branch

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Newsome, 27, of Chicopee, Mass., died June 27 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device.He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Frank M. Sandoval, 27, of Yuma, Ariz., died June 18 in Palo Alto, Calif., of wounds sustained when his unit was attacked by insurgents using small arms fire Nov. 28, 2005, in Tikrit, Iraq.He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Artillery, Fort Sill, Okla.

For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Sill public affairs office at (580) 442-4500.

Phantom Thunder Operations Disrupt Terrorists in Iraq

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

June 28, 2007 – U.S. and Iraqi troops are disrupting
terrorist activities from Baghdad and its environs to Anbar province as the result of surge-related operations being conducted across Iraq, a senior U.S. military officer serving in Iraq said yesterday. Operation Phantom Thunder is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation that launched June 15, once all "surge" troops arrived in Iraq. The operation has shut down hideouts operated by al Qaeda and other extremist groups, bomb factories and execution rooms, Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner told online journalists yesterday.

Phantom Thunder has produced "a pattern of finding facilities, the operating bases, that al Qaeda and other extremists have been operating from in Iraq," said Bergner, who serves as Multinational Force Iraq's deputy chief of staff for strategic effects.

Bergner pointed to the recent discovery of safe houses in Baqubah, Iraq, that were used by insurgents for executions, as well as for prisons and weapons storage.

"We continued that same pattern," Bergner said, noting an al Qaeda weapons cache, rocket-propelled grenades and other munitions turned up in more recent security sweeps in Baqubah. A recent coalition raid in Anbar province yielded an enemy improvised explosive device factory, the general said.

"So, what we're seeing is an array of facilities that are established specifically to operate from, launch spectacular attacks from and solidify their control over the neighborhood in which they're established," Bergner said regarding insurgent facilities that have been shut down across Iraq in recent weeks.

Just days ago, coalition troops killed two senior al Qaeda agents who had operated a foreign-fighter cell out of northern Iraq, Bergner pointed out.

The purpose of the surge of operations "is really centered on improving population security, creating that linkage between the Iraqi forces and the people, the citizens in these neighborhoods, and connecting them with their government," Bergner said.

It will likely "take a period of weeks and months" to measure the surge's full effects against the enemy, he added.

Establishing security across Iraq is "one of those things that takes time to build, and it's one of those things that takes time to solidify once you've got it in place, so that it becomes more resilient," Bergner said.

Korean Hospital Provides Care, Help to Afghans

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 28, 2007 – A South Korean
military hospital staff on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, is doing its part to help fight terrorism in that country. Korean army Lt. Col. Seoung-ki Kim, commander of the 924th Medical Support Group, said his troops are very proud of the contribution they are making. Kim spoke to Pentagon reporters via teleconference today.

The hospital staff has passed a milestone, treating 240,000 Afghans since the hospital stood up in February 2002. The medics - along with engineers of the 100th Engineer Group - work closely with coalition partners in and around Bagram.

Since the Korean operations started in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, more than 2,000 Korean troops have deployed to Afghanistan, Kim said. "It is the 11th rotation for the hospital and ninth for the engineers," he said. "The medical outpatient clinic provides support for the people of Afghanistan and the coalition forces on the base."

The Korean medics also conduct public health education and humanitarian relief activities for the local people. The hospital sees an average of 4,000 patients a month, Kim said.

"Most of the patients come from Parwan province and Kabul," the colonel said. "Some patients come from as far away as Kandahar - 200 miles - and even from areas near the border with Pakistan."

The hospital is a Level 1 facility, and if serious wounds arrive - casualties from mine explosions or gunshots - the Korean doctors provide first aid and evacuate the patients to the U.S. hospital on the base.

The Korean soldiers are exposing coalition allies to a bit of their culture. Kim said the Korean soldiers sponsor a Taekwondo class twice a week at the clamshell on base. "It's getting very popular on the base," Kim said. In addition, the Korean cooks share Korean cuisine with their fellow servicemembers.

Kim said he expects the level of care to continue. He said the Korean servicemembers provide "whole-hearted medical support with whole-heartedness and kindness of Koreans for Afghan people. We have received a warm welcome and a good response from the Afghan people. We are determined to give more to the people. We will continue making contributions for the establishment of peace in this land."

Training as Key to Progress in Afghanistan

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 28, 2007 – Education and
training are key to progress in Afghanistan, the commander of an international coalition task force said from Bagram Air Base today. U.S. Army Col. Jonathan Ives commands Task Force Cincinnatus at the sprawling base in Parwan province. The 1,000-member combined command has servicemembers from the United States, New Zealand, South Korea and Turkey. Ives said he considers the way the command operates as a model for international security aid for Afghanistan in the future.

Even the name of the task force is a lesson to the Afghans. Cincinnatus was a Roman farmer who stepped forward to lead the forces of Rome against enemies. Once the enemies were vanquished, he went back to being a farmer rather than assuming dictatorial power.

The command is centered at Bagram, but also operates in Bamiyan, Panshir, Parwan, Vardak and Kapisa provinces. Education, information and employment are the key words for the task force in countering the appeal of the Taliban and the al Qaeda. Ives said Taliban strength in the provinces in which his unit operates has grown from about 50 fighters last year to roughly 200 today.

Taliban recruiting is responsible for some of the growth, he said. "Fifty percent of the population here is under 15 years old," he said. Taliban sympathizers often teach at mosques, and they are influential, the colonel explained.

He said the command is working with the Afghan government to provide educational opportunities so these youth learn that there are alternatives to the Taliban.

Information and communications also are important, Ives said. The command is working to get radios and cell phone towers into the region. "Maybe we can prevent them from going to the Taliban side and prevent them from growing that force," he said.

Ives said the area is considered "permissive," and it has been ignored to an extent. "We thought that it was safe and secure in this province, and so we considered it to be a non-threat area, and so we didn't apply or maintain a security force," he said.
Neither coalition nor Afghan national security forces remained in the region continuously, he said. "What we're finding here is that what we need is an enduring presence," in the region.

These forces are not necessarily coalition forces, but could be coalition-mentored Afghan forces. If not, the Taliban "will fill that vacuum," he said.

President Cites Hopeful Signs in Iraq

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 28, 2007 – The surge of coalition and Iraqi operations in Baghdad has produced hopeful signs, President Bush said today at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Bush said the coalition and the Iraqi government are making progress in Anbar province, and this is spreading to Baghdad. He also spoke about the Iraqi government's need to pass legislation, and the need for Americans to display patience.

The Sunni-dominated Anbar province was the seat of al Qaeda in Iraq six months ago. Bush said critics cited the province as the example of American failure in Iraq.

"About the same time some folks were writing off Anbar, our people are methodically cleaning Anbar's capital city of Ramadi of terrorists and winning the trust of the local population," he said. "In parallel with these efforts, a group of tribal sheikhs launched a movement called 'The Awakening' and began cooperating with American and Iraqi forces." The confluence of coalition forces and Iraqi sheikhs worked against al Qaeda.

"To capitalize on the opportunity, I sent more
Marines into Anbar, and gradually they've been helping the locals take back their province from al Qaeda," Bush said. "These operations are showing good results. Our forces are going into parts of Anbar where they couldn't operate before. With the help of Iraqi and coalition forces, local Sunni tribes have driven al Qaeda from most of Ramadi, and attacks there are now down to a two-year low."

Anbar is still a dangerous place, Bush said, but a province that had been written off as hopeless "now enjoys a level of peace and stability that was unimaginable only a few months ago."

The president said coalition
leaders want to replicate the success in Anbar in Baghdad.

"In the months since I announced our new strategy, ... we've been moving reinforcements into key Baghdad neighborhoods and the areas around the capital to help secure the population," he said. Coalition and Iraqi forces are in the midst of Operation Phantom Thunder - which is focused on defeating al Qaeda terrorists, the insurgents and militias, and on denying extremists safe havens.

In January, about 80 percent of Iraq's sectarian violence was within 30 miles of Baghdad, Bush said. If coalition forces can clear the belt around the capital of al Qaeda and death squads, "we can improve life for the citizens of the areas and inhibit the enemy's ability to strike," the president said.

Bush said Americans must get used to hearing the names of places like Adhamiya, Rashid and Mansour.

"These areas are important because they represent so-called sectarian faultlines, locations where Shiia extremists and al Qaeda
terrorists are attempting to reignite sectarian violence through murder and kidnappings and other violent activities," he said. "Until these areas and others like them are secured, the people of Baghdad can't be protected. They can't go about their lives."

The coalition and Iraqi forces are at the beginning of the offensive, the president emphasized.

"We finally got the troops there. Americans have got to understand, it takes a while to mobilize additional troops and move them from the United States to Iraq," he said. "And we got them there, and now we're beginning to move."

The plan in place is a good one, Bush said. The forces are the best in the world and are carrying out that plan. "We owe them the time and we owe them the support they need to succeed," the president said.

But the fight in Iraq involves more than just the
military. "The Iraqis have got to be making tough decisions towards reconciliation, and that's why we'll keep the pressure on Iraqi leaders to meet political benchmarks they laid out for themselves," he said.

The United States will keep up pressure for the Iraqis to pass important legislation regarding sharing oil revenues, hold provincial elections and reconciliation.

"I speak to the prime minister and I speak to the Presidency Council quite often, and I remind them we expect the government to function and to pass law," Bush said.

He said that many Americans are frustrated by the slow pace of legislation. But Iraq is a democracy, and democracies are often slow, he said.

"The Iraqi parliament is composed of members representing many different religions and ethnicities - Sunnis, Shiia, Turkamen, Kurds and others," he said. "Even in a long-established democracy, it's not easy to pass important pieces of legislation in a short period of time. We're asking the Iraqis to accomplish all these things at a time when their country's being attacked.

"I make no excuses," he said. "We will continue to keep the pressure up. We expect there to be reconciliation; we expect them to pass law."

The United States is involved in a broader war against ideological killers, Bush said, calling success in Iraq and Afghanistan important to the people of the greater Middle East and Central Asia.

"The stakes are high in the beginning stages of this global war against ideologues that stand for the exact opposite of what America stands for," the president said. "What makes the war even more significant is that what happens overseas matters to the security in the United States of America, as we learned on September the 11th, when killers were able to use a failed state to plot the deadly attack.

"If we withdraw before the Iraqi government can defend itself," he continued, "we would yield the future of Iraq to terrorists like al Qaeda, and we would give a green light to extremists all throughout a troubled region."

The president said the consequences of such a withdrawal would be disastrous, as sectarian violence would overwhelm Iraq and fighting could spread well beyond Iraq and engulf the entire Persian Gulf region.

"We would soon face a Middle East dominated by Islamic extremists who would pursue nuclear weapons, who would use their control of oil for economic blackmail and who would be in a position to launch new attacks on the United States of America," Bush said.

The United States must stay involved in the region, the president said.

"The United States must stand with millions of moms and dads throughout the Middle East who want a future of dignity and peace, and we must help them defeat a common enemy," he said.

Iraqis Pulling Weight in Northern Iraq, General Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 25, 2007 – The Iraqi soldiers and units working with the Multinational Division North are "holding firm," the director of operations for the division said today from his headquarters in Tikrit. "They are in the fight. They're doing what they're told. They're following their leaders,"
Army Brig. Gen. John Bednarek said. "But more importantly, as we've known for years that they have that direct link and rapport with the citizens that the coalition forces do not have, they can get that immediate link, ... the human dimension, that information potentially leading to intelligence."

Bednarek, the 25th Infantry Division's assistant division commander for operations, told reporters in Baghdad that the division's soldiers "have killed a heck of a lot of al Qaeda" in operations in western Baqubah, the capital of Diyala province.

He said the division also has detained almost 100 al Qaeda members. U.S. and Iraqi forces are participating in Operation Arrowhead Ripper, designed to kill or capture al Qaeda operatives in the city and ensure security for Iraqi citizens.

Al Qaeda
leaders already have deserted their fighters, Bednarek said. "You've got the senior leaders of a terrorist organization that cowardly leads their mid-level leaders and followers to take on the fight that's larger than they are," he said. "I don't know of any organization that's going to be successful when the leaders, when it gets too hot, they're the first ones that leap. It doesn't speak too well of an organization."

The Iraqi army, on the other hand, is performing well, he said. "The Iraqi army soldiers are good," Bednarek said. "They're holding firm. They are in the fight. They're doing what they're told. They're following their leaders."

And the Iraqi soldiers also are the immediate link to the people of the country. They are able to sift through the cultural baggage and assess whether an item is important or not, the general said. The citizens of Baqubah are tired of al Qaeda in their midst, they are tipping off Iraqi soldiers about the terrorists' locations, and they are pointing out where al Qaeda has booby-trapped houses and are building car bombs, the general said.

"One of the significant increases just in the past 24 hours is the amount of caches that we have found and ... those al Qaeda holding locations and strong points that had been rigged with masses of explosives ... that we had been able to find and dismantle or destroy based on tips from the citizens," he said.

The progress is not limited to Baqubah; coalition forces uncovered a car-bomb factory in Mosul. Three large houses linked together by a tunnel served as a vehicle-bomb factory and storage area, and also as a center for building roadside bombs, Bednarek said.

"This entire operation started by a tip," he said. "The tips were from our local nationals there in Mosul, through our Iraqi security force counterparts. And we took action on this, identified the information, vetted that, went after the target and destroyed it."

Those tips stopped al Qaeda from killing possibly thousands of Iraqis, Bednarek said.

The general said Operation Arrowhead Ripper has been successful so far, and that he is cautiously optimistic that in the weeks ahead, "not only will we win this fight and eliminate al Qaeda in Baqubah, but continue to pursue them wherever they go across Diyala and across MND North."

Coalition Troops Put Pressure on Insurgents During Operation Phantom Thunder

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2007 – The troop surge has become "a surge of operations," and coalition forces are in the early stages of a difficult fight, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman told reporters in Baghdad today. Coalition and Iraqi troops working together have led successful operations recently in Baqubah, Mosul, Anbar and Diyala provinces, and north of Baghdad,
Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner said.

"We are on Day 12 of Operation Phantom Thunder, the Multinational Corps' offensive to simultaneously increase pressure in and around Baghdad. This has been, and will continue to be, a tough fight; we are in the early stages of that fight," he said.

Acknowledging the continuing violence in the region, Bergner said he joins Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in condemning the June 25 bombing of a busy Baghdad hotel that claimed 13 victims. Four tribal sheiks who were important coalition allies against al Qaeda in Anbar province were among those killed.

"This attack on Iraqis who sought peace and reconciliation is an affront to all people, and further proof of the barbaric nature of al Qaeda," said Bergner, who noted that al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack.

Speaking about recent operations, the general said coalition forces killed two senior al Qaeda leaders June 23 south of Hawija in Tamim province.

One of the
leaders killed operated a cell that helped foreign fighters move into Iraq; he also fought against coalition forces in Afghanistan in 2001. The other slain insurgent, known as Khalil al-Turki, operated with the same cell and held close ties to other senior al Qaeda leaders, Bergner said.

In Baqubah June 25, combined troops discovered an illegal prison and house used by al Qaeda for executions. Nearby, forces also uncovered a torture chamber and makeshift courthouse linked to the
terrorist network, he said.

In raids around the site, coalition elements uncovered a medical facility where injured al Qaeda operatives received treatment, a stockpile of rocket-propelled grenades and a vehicle wired for use as a car bomb.

"This array of facilities is an example of how the enemy seeks to consolidate and create an operating base from which they can conduct attacks on the local population, and launch spectacular attacks into Baghdad," Bergner said. "It is further evidence of the importance of applying pressure in and around Baghdad to remove extremist safe-havens and operating bases."

Local residents in Mosul this week led Iraqi and coalition forces to a weapons cache and a large bomb factory where troops found insurgents assembling four truck bombs and two car bombs "in an assembly-line manner," Bergner said. In conjunction with this raid, combined forces nabbed 32 suspected terrorists.

"This is an example of what can be achieved by working and living in the neighborhoods with the people we seek to secure, and operating in partnership with Iraqi police and army forces," he said.

Speaking about operations in Anbar province, Bergner said troops there discovered a facility where improvised explosive devices were being produced, seizing 66 IEDs and bomb-making components.

In Diyala province, the confidence and trust between local tribes and security has led to success, Bergner said, quoting the provincial
police director. Troops there have detained or killed roughly 100 al Qaeda operatives and netted multiple weapons caches, he added.

The coalition's Iraqi counterparts are "very much in the fight," the general said. "They are increasingly the first line of defense, while taking casualties at rates of two to three times that of the coalition, and they are not deterred in their mission."

Some 10,000 Iraqis will join their nation's
army in the next two weeks, Bergner said, and Maliki is considering expanding the Iraqi security force size "to meet the requirements both today and into the future."

In recent operations in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, Iraqi special forces detained the leader of a kidnapping, murder and IED cell. The suspect also has provided false identification, uniforms and vehicles to insurgent fighters, Bergner said.

In a dangerous Baghdad area, Bergner visited the Joint Security Station -- one of the mixed communities where Iraqi army and police forces are working in concert.

"I saw firsthand the cooperation, the integration and the courage of those forces," he said. "They sit astride a very tense area in the Adhamiya neighborhood, but they're helping to restore security to this area."

Bergner said that coalition progress is mirrored by progress among the Iraqi people.

"Ultimately, the progress of the Iraqi people is our progress," he said. "We are humbled by their courage, and reminded every day of their sacrifice. We are working hard to help them move forward, but this will remain a tough fight that is likely to get harder before it gets easier."

Soldiers Save Iraqis, Discover Insurgent Safe Houses

American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2007 – Soldiers of Multinational Division - Baghdad saved two Iraqi civilians while discovering two insurgent safe houses, one of which contained two car bombs, in the West Rashid district of the Iraqi capital Monday. Upon entering a building Monday evening, soldiers of Company A, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, rescued a man who was handcuffed to a pipe in a bathroom. Two suspects were detained. The troops had received information from residents that an extremist group was using the house as a base from which to launch a campaign of intimidation in northwest Rashid.

Troops from Company C, 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt., also discovered a torture house in southwest Rashid after a patrol spotted a blindfolded man running toward them from an abandoned building. Soldiers searched the area and discovered the car bombs, which were believed to be assembled elsewhere and then moved to that location for future employment. The area was secured and cordoned off, and a coalition explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the car bombs at the site.

After questioning the individual, it was determined that he had been kidnapped and taken to the building where he had been beaten by extremists before they departed the scene, allowing his escape and assistance from the patrol. In a separate raid, soldiers detained six individuals believed to be
leaders in a terrorist cell operating in the Jihad neighborhood of northwest Rashid.

In another operation held Monday, coalition force helicopters engaged a large group of armed insurgents after receiving small-arms fire in Mosul, Iraq.

Coalition force attack helicopters from 1st Squadron, 17th Calvary Regiment, were attacked with small-arms fire by approximately 20 insurgents from the corners of an intersection while conducting aerial patrols.

The coalition force helicopters returned fire with rockets and small-arms fire to suppress the insurgent attack.

According to Mosul Iraqi
police, one local civilian died of wounds and two were injured as a result of the crossfire. Eight houses were also damaged in the attack.

"These anti-Iraqi forces have shown, once again, a complete disregard for life; neither their own or that of innocent Iraqi civilians," said Lt. Col. Michael Boden, deputy commanding officer, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "Our coalition aircraft were engaged by these insurgents and responded accordingly to suppress the threat and defend themselves. We regret the injuries sustained and damage incurred by Iraqi civilians whose only crime was to have these
terrorists invade their neighborhood and use it to conduct an attack against Iraqi and coalition forces."

Yesterday, Iraqi special operations forces, Iraqi
police and Iraqi army forces destroyed a large weapons cache during an early morning operation southeast of Nasiriyah. The cache is linked to the rogue Jaysh Al-Mahdi (JAM) militant group.

During the operation, the Iraqi forces discovered the substantial cache in a building believed to belong to rogue elements of the militant group. Iraqi forces also detained a suspicious individual present during the operation.

After determining that moving the ordnance posed an unacceptable risk, Iraqi forces immediately evacuated all civilians from the surrounding area. After ensuring all civilians were moved to a safe distance, the Iraqi forces used controlled charges to destroy the cache, minimizing damage to the surrounding areas. The cache included 30 60-millimeter rounds, 2 120-millimeter rounds, 40 155-millimeter rounds, 30 240-millimeter rounds and an anti-aircraft weapon.

Meanwhile, Iraqi
army and coalition forces detained 25 suspected insurgents in a series of raids in Mosul and Tal Afar on Monday.

Two detainees captured in one raid possessed electronic media of attacks on coalition forces.

Another raid, west of Mosul, uncovered the body of a murdered local civilian. A cache of weapons containing a machine gun, several AK-47s and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition were found and 17 suspected AIF were detained.

In a third raid, northeast of Mosul, six more arrests were made.

One of the suspects is on the "most wanted list" for making improvised explosive devices and vehicle attacks. Multiple fake IDs, switches, relays, spools of wire and disassembled cell phones were also seized from the residence.

"We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of these insurgents whose aim is to injure and kill innocent Iraqis," said Lt. Col. Michael Boden, deputy commander, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

A coalition forces aircraft bombed a building today killing six insurgents near Salman Pak, Iraq, southeast of Baghdad.

A British Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado dropped the 2,000-pound bomb after insurgents attacked an Iraqi National
Police station and checkpoint destroying a guard tower and four vehicles.

After attacking the checkpoint, the insurgents entered a mosque and began firing on the checkpoint from the mosque's rooftop. The insurgents fled the mosque and entered the building which was later bombed.

Two OH-58D helicopters responded to the attack engaging about 30 anti-Iraqi forces with .50 caliber rounds and rockets.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operation Task Force-Arabian Peninsula releases.)

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. 1st Class Nathan L. Winder, 32, of Blanding, Utah, died June 26 in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Lewis, Wash.

For more information related to this release, the media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at (910)-432-6005.

Renovated Iraqi Railway Station Provides Critical Link

By A. Al Bahrani
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2007 – The
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South District's rehabilitation of the railway station here is part of the effort to build and develop Iraq's basic services and strategic infrastructure. "The $480,000 project provides a critical link for the country of Iraq and it ties the southern portion of the country with the northern portion," said Thomas Edison, chief of engineering and construction for Gulf Region South.

"The Iraq railroad system provides efficient, reliable transportation, and many people rely on the railroad for traveling. It is also critical for trade and commerce from the deep-water marine port and business centers in southern Iraq to the population centers in northern Iraq," Edison said.

Stanley Dowdy, Basrah Area Office resident engineer, said the railroad station was unusable without renovation.

"The platforms for getting on and off the trains and the walkways were all torn up or removed, and the building structure itself was damaged and unsafe," he said. "This project installed all new platforms and walkways, as well as renovating portions of the interior and the exterior façade.

"These improvements will greatly facilitate enhanced operations at this site," he added. "We applaud the Iraqi team with whom we have closely worked in making this challenge become a reality."

The Corps' mission for this project consists of performing onsite evaluations and rehabilitation work of seven railway stations throughout the Basrah province. "The goal of the project is to repair the stations and make them safe and efficient once again," Dowdy said.

"Now, as reconstruction is gaining momentum, the need for a transportation network to provide for efficient movement of essential products such as construction materials, equipment, merchandise, fuel and other supplies is essential for Iraq," said Hadi Mashkor, the directorate general for Basrah Railroad Station.

Mashkor said rebuilding the rail industry in Basrah is very important to Iraq's economy. Basrah is one of the oldest cities in Iraq and it is in the heart of the petroleum industry. It directly affects the Iraqi economy.

"Being able to transport goods and services is vital to a growing region and economy. The railroad system will continue to grow in serving the Iraqi people," Edison said.

(A. Al Bahrani is a public affairs specialist with Gulf Region South District, Gulf Region Division,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)

2007 Biometric Consortium Conference and Biometrics Technology Expo

Dates: September 11-13, 2007

Location: Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Conference Registration
Government/Non-Profit - $495
Industry/Consultant/Other - $595
Student - $295
Exhibit Hall Only - Free

Conference Internet Web Site

Expo Internet Web Site

Anticipated Attendees
We anticipate 800-1000 attendees at the Conference with 100 speakers, representatives from over 60 federal, State and Local agencies, and 25 universities. Attendees will include government executives and program managers, biometric
technology vendors, system integrators, commercial technology users, researchers, and policy makers.

2007 Program
As the leading Biometric conference, BC2007 will address the important role that biometrics plays in the identification and verification of individuals for government and commercial applications worldwide.

Scheduled Keynote Speaker:
“Dr. John H. Marburger, III, Science Advisor to the President and Director of the Office of Science and
Technology Policy“
Scheduled Sessions:
Advanced Biometric Systems and Technologies
Biometric Standards
Technology in the Department of Justice
Biometrics in Financial Applications
Challenges and Opportunities to Implementing Biometrics in Transportation
Department of Defense
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Justice
Executive Office of the President of the US, National Science & Technology Council, Subcommittee on Biometrics & Identity Management
International Biometric Industry Association
Introduction to Biometrics
Nanotechnology and Biometrics
National Institute of Standards and
Research Symposium (CITeR/IEEE)
Security of Biometrics
Status of Biometrics and Other Special Topics

2007 Biometric Consortium Conference Sponsors:
National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
National Security Agency (NSA)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
DoD Biometrics Task Force
National Institute of
Justice (NIJ)
General Services Administration - Office of Technology Strategy
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, U.S. Department of Transportation
Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association

Congressional Report Cites Progress, Shortcomings in Iraqi Security Forces

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2007 – Strides have been made in building Iraq's security forces and increasing their responsibility, but more progress is needed, according to a new congressional report released today. The report, "Stand Up and Be Counted: The Continuing Challenge of Building the Iraqi Security Forces," follows an investigation by the House Armed Services Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

It reports that the $19 billion the United States has invested over the past four years to organize, train and equip Iraq's
military and police forces "has yielded mixed results."

"Despite making significant progress in generating a sizeable national force, the Iraqi security forces have not developed as fast as the coalition planned and, as a result, are not yet ready to take full responsibility for their nation's security," the report states.

The report also notes various states of readiness within the Iraqi forces. It recognizes that "some units are willing and capable of engaging the enemy" while others, particularly the Iraqi
Police Service, are less effective.

The report's findings track closely with those offered earlier this month by the U.S. general in charge of training those forces until turning over command of the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq on June 10.

Army Lt. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee oversight subcommittee many Iraqi units, particularly in the Iraqi army, "have become increasingly proficient and have demonstrated both their improved capability and resolve in battle."

However, he acknowledged that both
army and police units "have a lack of tactical staying power of sufficient capability to surge forces locally." They also suffer from shortages of leaders, he said.

The congressional report echoed Dempsey's recognition of the need for improved
leadership and an indigenous logistics capability keys to independent, self-sustaining Iraqi security forces.

Bryan Whitman, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, reviewed with Pentagon reporters today some of the successes the Iraqi security forces have demonstrated.

Nine out of 10 Iraqi army division headquarters are in place, 31 of 36 Iraqi army brigade headquarters have been formed and 95 out of 112 battalions have security responsibilities in their respective areas.

"If you compare that today ... to October 2005, when there was only one division, four brigades and 23 battalions, I think it is reflective of progress," he said.

Army Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik is working to build on that progress as the new commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq.

During the change of command ceremony June 10,
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, acknowledged that much work needs to be done to ensure the Iraqi security forces are capable of protecting the Iraqi people.

But in working toward that goal, Petraeus called Dubik "precisely the right man for this position at this time."

Commander Discusses Perceptions of Guantanamo

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2007 - The men being held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba, would kill again if given the chance, U.S. officials have said. More than 2,000 U.S. servicemembers and civilians ensure the
terrorists at the detention facility don't get a chance to launch more attacks, said Navy Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

The soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen of the command ensure the safe and humane detention of enemy combatants and the gathering of intelligence for the global war on terror, the admiral said. "We are going to continue to do that as effectively and efficiently as we can without getting anyone hurt," he added.

About 370 enemy combatants are being held in the facilities. These are men taken off the battlefields primarily in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. They are fighters, facilitators, financiers, couriers or people involved with organizations such as the Taliban and al Qaeda that are conducting operations against U.S. or coalition forces.

"They were apprehended there and brought to us so we could keep them off the battlefield and gain intelligence from them," Buzby said.

The admiral doesn't doubt the detainees wish more harm to America. "I haven't found a one yet who salutes the colors when we raise the flag in the morning," he said wryly.

"We are keeping them off the battlefield," the admiral said. "What is unique about this situation is that in a time of war we're actually transferring many of them out of this facility -- many back to their own countries for release or to go into custody in their own countries." To date, the United States has returned 405 men to their own or other countries.

The detainees also are a source of strategic intelligence. Many have been detained for more than five years, and their tactical value is virtually nonexistent, Buzby said. But they still know the people in the organizations, and they give insight into the way al Qaeda works and how the Taliban is organized. U.S. officials gain a better understanding of how the organization fits together, which helps leaders counter threats of the future, he explained.

The mere mention of Guantanamo conjures up allegations of torture and detainee abuse, but Buzby said the facility's practices have been in keeping with Defense Department policies.

"We tend to get wrapped up in the greater discussion of detainees down here with those detained elsewhere," Buzby said. "There have been many, many investigations conducted of the conditions in Guantanamo, ... and they found no deviations from standing DoD policies."

Buzby said only two or three allegations leveled at Guantanamo personnel have ever been proven, and "they were very, very minor - procedural vs. an actual act. All the reports that I have read prior to coming to the job say that 'Gitmo' has been doing it correctly from the start."

The Americans in the Joint Task Force do a tough job very well, the admiral said. The troops serve 12-hour shifts -- four days on followed by two-days off. The day shift begins at 5:15 each morning at guard mount, where daily training covers fine points of the detention mission. At guard mount, the troops discuss the plan for the day and any incidents from the previous watch. Then they move to their tiers, their watch posts or stations and do a turnover with the previous shift.

The guards take meals to the detainees and take the detainees to their recreation time, hospital visits and commission appearances. All the cells have to be searched every day. "Our guards, in the course of walking their tier, walk 10 to 12 miles a day," Buzby said.

The admiral said the guards are in a battle of wills with the detainees. "Some of the detainees throw bodily fluids on the guards or spit on them," he said. "These troops are amazing. They are fantastic. I don't know if I could put up with what they put up with and keep on doing the mission every day."

The detention facilities are a far cry from the original camp set up in 2002. The temporary facility at Camp X-Ray - which still shows up in some video footage on television news reports - is closed, the admiral said. It is totally overgrown. The facilities today are comparable to facilities in the United States.

"Our two newest facilities - Camps 5 and 6 - are modeled after county and state facilities that exist in
Michigan and Indiana," he said. They meet all specifications for detention: climate control, safety devices and safety for the guard force.

The members of the joint task force live in former family housing at Guantanamo. Buzby said the command works closely with local base officials to improve the quality of life.

The admiral said the response to a detainee's suicide provided his most memorable experience since assuming command just over a month ago.

"I was impressed with the way the folks responded: from the guards who attempted first aid (to) the medical people who tried to revive him," he said. "The guard force worked together to ensure nothing else occurred. ... I knew then how professional a force I had under my command. I am honored to serve with them."

Law Enforcement Technology

Editor's Note: Many of technologies in this news summary are being used by domestic law enforcement for counterterrorism.

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Fingerprint Analyst Helps Solve Crime Mysteries"
Miami Herald (06/25/07); Tablac, Angela

Fingerprint analysis in the
Miami-Dade police department runs continuously on a 24/7 schedule, staffed by 32 analysts who process a minimum of 80 fingerprints a day. Analysis entails comparison of collected prints to databases to identify dead bodies, criminals, and prisoners. Each set of fingerprints goes through multiple levels of verification; matches in a database are manually verified by at least two analysts who look for several similar characteristics between the collected print and the database entry. In addition, analysts are often called to provide testimony in criminal trials where fingerprint evidence is relevant. Fingerprint analysis is often an attractive career to those who have some background in criminal justice but who opt not to become police officers; initial training takes eight weeks, and analysts take supplementary training sessions annually. In addition, they can obtain additional fingerprint classification certification from the FBI.

"Computers in Cruisers Give More Data Faster"
Star-Ledger (NJ) (06/22/07) P. 25; Walsh, Diane C.

Middlesex County, N.J., officials have revealed that from patrol car mobile computers, officers between New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Highland Park, and Plainsboro will be able to communicate with each other. In 2005, a program was launched that bridged databases between the prosecutors, sheriffs, and county jails to promote advanced communications among agencies. "It's an example of taking advantage of new
technology to fight crime," said Freeholder Christopher Rafano, overseer of the county law enforcement agencies. Through AT&T, the system was implemented at $358,726; each additional town under the system costs $40,000. Law enforcement officials say the system has allowed for instantaneous information and that the program's expansion among counties will serve as a powerful tool for combating crime.

DNA Advances Led to Rape Suspect"
Journal-World (Lawrence, Kan.) (06/22/07); Reid, Janet

Strides in
technology led to the review of cold cases from the 1990s that allowed investigators to trail and charge a serial rapist more than 10 years after the crime was committed. In 1995, the DNA sample needed for analysis in rape cases had to be at least the size of a quarter; now, only a sample the size of a pinhead is needed. When a rape victim from a 1995 incident called police, investigators retested DNA evidence from her case along with a 1993 and 1994 incident. Using the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), police found a match between the DNA of a man who had been entered into the system on petty theft charges and the DNA from all three cases. Lawrence police Sgt. Dan Ward said, "These cases are horrendous, and the three young women have dealt with a lot ... [N]ow they're going to see justice."

"Cameras May Go Up Soon"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (06/24/07) P. B6; Sandler, Larry

Despite opposition from Milwaukee's Common Council, Mayor Tom Barrett has moved to implement a $1 million-plus program that would install cameras in high-crime areas in the city. The cameras would be monitored via fiber-optic connections and five mobile cameras would be shared among
police departments. Barrett had the support of locals and the council's Public Safety Committee until over $500,000 was sought from the council's Finance & Personnel Committee. Council representatives claimed the funds should have been included in the mayor's budget, while Barrett said that aldermen should have no trouble footing the costs for the technology if they advocated the cameras' installation. Council President Willie Hines Jr. said Barrett should have anticipated costs accordingly, yet he and the mayor have reached an agreement whereby the contingency fund will not be tapped into and the project will be funded by public works and police accounts with an additional $404,000 from government assistance.

"Waynesville P.D. Goes High Tech"
The Mountaineer (NC) (06/20/07); Pleming, Beth

The Waynesville, N.C., Police Department has experienced several technological upgrades recently, including access to the new program RAMBLER. When an accident takes place, warrants are dispensed, or a person is arrested, the report is electronically filed and made accessible to each
law enforcement group connected to that software. Another improvement is new in-vehicle computers that permit police personnel to fill out incident and arrest reports in their cars, which means additional time spent on the road performing law enforcement and less time in the office entering information into a computer. Meanwhile, new laptops enable officers to perform a check for other data such as criminal backgrounds, car and license information, and outstanding active warrant notification. Golden Eagle radar devices allow offers to determine the speed of cars that are moving in any direction, including vehicles driving in front of patrol cars and coming from behind. The stealth stat is a radar system that is erected on the side of a road linked to a statistic recording machine that gets the speed and identity of passing cars. Waynesville Police are also using video analysis systems, specifically dTective by Ocean Systems, to study video surveillance recordings in order to identify and arrest thieves.

"Flexible and Fearless, Seeking Rescue Work"
New York Times (06/25/07) P. A12; Blumenthal, Ralph

Texas A&M University's Texas Engineering Extension Service operates a 52-acre "Disaster City" where fire fighters and other emergency responders from across the globe can participate in
training exercises. The site was recently the scene of a robotics exercise sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology. Several varieties of rescue robots participated in the exercise, which included obstacle courses based on mock set-ups of the Oklahoma City bombing, 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Mexico City earthquake. The robots included a 30-foot, snake-like optic robot that slinks through crevasses and holes while providing images of its discoveries. That robot, produced by university researchers in Japan, is attached to the operator's body, unlike most robots, which are operated via consoles or laptops. One Texas A&M official predicted that robots will soon become a regular part of rescue work.

Law Enforcement Gets an Upgrade"
Spokesman Review (06/20/07) P. B1; Lawrence-Turner, Jody

Police in Spokane, Wash., have received several new technologically-advanced devices recently, including durable laptop computers, which replace mobile data computers formerly found in police patrol vehicles. The laptops, which cost around $5,500 apiece, are updated every day with information concerning suspects. Dashboard cameras are placed on the inside of a police car and record the actions of an officer, and cost around $7,800 each, while Global Positioning Systems, which cost between $450 and $475 for each patrol car, enable police dispatchers to know where patrol units are all the time by examining a computer screen. Meanwhile, electronic ticketing (e-tickets) permit traffic officers to employ a scanner to acquire data from the bar code on the rear side of a driver's license and enable an officer at the scene of an accident to create diagrams of the event utilizing a software program. The e-ticketing printers cost $425 each while the bar-code scanners cost $390 each. Officials note that over three-fourths of the financing for the equipment is provided by grants. On July 18, Spokane police stated they will pursue over $4 million in federal grants for both the city and county that is set aside for technological upgrades and purchases.

"Jersey City 'Court TV'"
Jersey Journal (06/20/07); Pearson, Bernette

The Jersey City Municipal Court introduced on June 19 videoconferencing, which will allow inmates throughout New Jersey to argue their cases from prison while the judge, prosecutor, and public defender remain at the court. Chief Judge Wanda Molina notes that videoconferencing assists in reducing security threats, health risks, and travel expenses. Officers typically assigned to moving inmates can now be assigned to other prisoners in New Jersey facilities that can have their cases heard faster, she adds. The technology is already used at
New Jersey Superior Court in Jersey City and at another five municipal courts in Hudson County. Molina states that municipal courts handle around 20 misdemeanor cases each day, including assault and drug cases. The cameras function through T-1 lines, similar to a video phone call but on a bigger scale. An inmate will sit in a wired room in the prison and view the court proceedings on a TV screen with a police officer close by. The individual charged presents a plea and then a trial date is scheduled or other arrangements are set.

"'Stepping Out' Suspended After Death of Howard Officer"
Baltimore Sun (06/26/07)

The death of a Howard County police officer during a traffic enforcement operation on Route 32, near I-95, caused the Howard County
police department and the nearby Anne Arundel County police department to suspend their "stepping out" policies. A team of two officers is used on occasion to stop speeders on highways and other roads; one officer mans the radar equipment, while the other steps into traffic to flag down speeders. Howard County officers will no longer step into traffic on roads with speed limits above 35 mph, and Anne Arundel County officers will not step out into traffic to catch speeders at all. Both departments plan to extensively review the policy and determine how it can be improved to prevent needless officers' deaths and still enforce traffic laws effectively.

"Cities Using Cameras Admit Tapes as Court Evidence"
Oklahoman (06/21/07) P. 14A; Bisbee, Julie

About 40
police cars in Ardmore, Okla., will be equipped with dashboard-mounted cameras. The police department there hopes the cameras will help officers record suspect behavior, and help protect officers from any false allegations of misconduct. Many cities that have already instituted this technology are allowing the video and audio from patrol cars to be admitted as trial evidence. This policy prevents defendants from denying or reinterpreting their actions in front of a judge or jury.

"Police Lift Hold on Buying Tasers"
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) (06/19/07) P. B1; Ku, Michelle

City council members in Lexington, Ky., have recently approved the purchase of 50 Tasers for the 50 new
police officers the city will be taking on in the next year. The Lexington police department had previously instituted a ban on the use of Tasers because of reports that the weapons were responsible for upwards of 200 deaths in the United States. The department has lifted the ban after reviewing several studies which concluded stun guns alone were not responsible for fatalities. When used properly, Tasers offer police a safer option to subdue suspects. All Lexington officers receive extensive training on the use of these weapons in order to avoid abuse.

"Unmanned Aircraft Assist for U.S. Hunt in Explosives"
Wall Street Journal (06/17/07); Pasztor, Andy

military forces and their Iraqi allies are employing more sophisticated technologies, including tiny unmanned aircraft constructed by Honeywell International Inc. to attempt to locate deadly explosive gadgets concealed on the battlefront. Honeywell has implemented infrared cameras and additional sensors on small, remotely-operated helicopter-type devices, known as Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), that can sit right above suspect sites and transmit images back to soldiers employing a portable handheld terminal. Thought to be the initial unmanned aerial vehicle of its kind specifically used in Iraq to uncover hidden explosives, the MAV weighs around 14 pounds, lifts off vertically, and can function at altitudes from just a fewer inches off the ground to over 10,000 feet. Barely one foot in diameter, the MAVs can fly at over 50 miles an hour. They are part of the firm's effort to create new surveillance technologies to increase its military, space, and homeland security operations. The introduction is part of a wider trend to create more innovative equipment to locate and take apart Improvised Explosive Devices, responsible for the bulk of American deaths in the combat in Iraq. The action occurs as British forces are moving toward utilizing high-tech radars created by a Raytheon division to look for these devices from much greater altitudes.

"Interoperability Academy Takes the Static Out of Emergency Communications"
County News (06/04/07) Vol. 39, No. 11, P. 3; Lopes, Rocky

At the May NACo/National League of Cities Interoperability Policy Academy conference, local government officials discussed how they could improve the interoperability of communications through governance, standard operating procedures,
technology, training, and exercises. As part of the suggested improvements to governance, officials highlighted the need for greater cooperation among regional officials as well as an avenue through which first responders could offer feedback about the system. Experts also suggested the establishment of standard operating procedures to ensure all personnel, despite where they are located, can successfully use communications equipment and designated channels. However, National Institutes of Standards and Technology Program Manager Dereck Orr noted, "Soon, data may be more important than voice, so having equipment that can share data across platforms is critical," a notion that fed into the call for technology upgrades. One major obstacle for these counties and local government officials is where to garner the funding for upgrades, especially if they are not part of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). Grant writers and experts were on hand to help officials apply for money to cover the costs of interoperability upgrades and training, but most indicated that multi-agency plans or multi-jurisdictional plans were the likeliest candidates for grant allocation. Other officials cited the plans underway in their regions, including Minnesota, which has hospitals, police, and fire departments coordinating their emergency response plans to ensure success and continuous training for workers.

"Evacuation Software Finds Best Way to Route Millions of Vehicles"
University of Arizona (06/11/07); Stiles, Ed

University of Arizona assistant professor of civil engineering Yi-Chang Chiu has been developing Multi-Resolution Assignment and Loading of Traffic Activities (MALTA), software designed to simulate large-scale evacuations during a disaster to help transportation officials determine the best traffic management strategy. "Solving large-scale evacuation problems is overwhelming," Chiu says. "No one can just sit down with a map and draw lines and figure out the best answer to problems like these." Chiu says MALTA reacts to a situation in real time, adjusting as the scenario changes. The software relies on detailed traffic census data collected by state and city transportation departments, as well as real-time traffic surveillance data. The software predicts actions drivers may take, such as when they leave and what road they take, and adjusts for factors that may alter drivers' plans, such as radio reports, congestion, and freeway message boards. The program is also able to predict airborne hazards, such as toxic gas from a refinery fire. By using air-plume dispersion models and wind direction, speed, and temperature, the program can calculate health risks and potential casualties. The program also provides post-disaster assistance by helping officials make choices such as which highway to repair and open first. Chiu says MALTA will be ready soon for state transportation and emergency medical agencies. The next generation of MALTA uses parallel processing and is designed to run faster, handle larger networks, and respond minute-by-minute to real-time emergencies.

"City Spends Millions on Cop Car Crashes"
Northwest Indiana News (06/06/07); Luntz, Taryn

Tulsa Police Department reports a disproportionate number of police accidents that occur during law enforcement pursuits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports although police pursuits take the life of one person a day, police departments are not required to track these incidences. "A department that's not tracking pursuits is asking for trouble," and officials note incidences involving firearms are not neglected like police pursuit accidents. In 2006, Chicago spent $7 million on settling lawsuits involving police pursuits, and usually, lawsuits become classified as "motor vehicle accidents" when pedestrians are hit or accidents occur at intersections. Experts note that police departments taking the time to investigate average pursuit speeds, numbers of injuries, and numbers of deaths related to police pursuits are better equipped to institute policies to reduce those numbers through officer training programs focusing on driving skills.; the Chicago Police Department's vehicle pursuit policy does not refer to any driver training programs for officers.