Today’s Bloggers’ Roundtable was with Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas N. Williams, Jr. Ph.D., P.E., Chief of Planning, Engineering Directorate, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq. Williams is part of the ministerial level assistance being provided the Iraqi government.
In a recent news story for the Department of Defense, Lt. Col. Williams highlighted three projects as examples of the work being done by the Iraqis to become more environmentally friendly.
Many parts of the Middle East are notorious for their attitude towards equipment maintenance. “Run it until it breaks” is often the only way operators know to handle even the most critical equipment in their nation’s infrastructure. One of the initiatives that is being put forward in Iraq to counter this attitude trains the Iraqi military to operate and maintain their own equipment.
Lt. Col. Williams told us that these training programs are working, but that graduates are often leaving the military for higher paying jobs in the civilian sector. The training also covers topics congruent with maintenance, such as the proper disposal of wastes. As an example, the training teaches correct disposal of waste oil, rather than just dumping it on the ground.
With Iraq facing a host of equally important issues, such as the drought, needed transportation improvements and the necessity of importing refined oil products, Williams anticipates that the mission of his office will continue for as long as the American military is in Iraq. The key, as he sees it, is to demonstrate to the Iraqi ministries how environmentally sound practices aid in creating the solutions to Iraq’s many problems.