The Year of Opportunity – 2008
About two weeks ago, nine million people began walking to Bibil Provice in Iraq. They came to Karbala to celebrate Arbaâ€™een, a Shia religious festival.
Col. Tom James, Commander, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division was there to see this event. As leader of Taskforce Vanguard, his troops were invited by the Iraqi security forces to advise and assist if necessary in the tremendous undertaking required to keep these pilgrims safe.
Col. James spoke with a number of us in today’s Bloggers’ Roundtable.
Task Force Vanguard has been in northern Babil Provice for 97 days. In that time they have worked with both the Iraqi Army, Iraqi police and the newly formed Sons of Iraq civilian security forces. Their respnsibility covers about 40,000 square kilometers.
Violence in the region is markedly reduced. The increased security is due to counter-insurgency ops, the increased capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, and the willingness of both Sunni and Shia to participate in the Sons of Iraq. SoI alone accounts for 10,500 men in the region, and they assist in manning over 550 checkpoints.
Dozens of caches have been discovered and cleared. Over thirty IED’s have been disabled in just one series of movements. Seven forward operating bases and three joint security stations are among the many security infrastructure additions to the area.
The current security situation is stable, and I am optimistic about the future. Sunni extremists are severely disrupted. They no longer find sanctuary and support from the population. We attribute the current security situation to three major reasons: First, our counterinsurgency strategy adjustment and surge deployment; second, the Iraqi security force capability; and third, the third is the Sons of Iraq program.
And I’ll expand on these three reasons: First, we are living with the population. The five-brigade surge gave coalition forces the resources required to concentrate combat power in extremist-dominated areas, and allowed us to occupy key terrain in these areas to avoid enemy reoccupation. Our brigade permanently occupies 15 distributed locations. We have patrol bases, which are Coalition Forces with Iraqi army; we have three joint security stations, Coalition Forces with Iraqi police; and we have seven different forward operating bases throughout the battle area. We also provide six military transition teams that work with four Iraqi brigades and two Iraqi battalions. And, as well, we have 10 police transition teams that work with 15 Iraqi police stations.
These forward locations and transition teams facilitate partnership with Iraqi army and the Iraqi police, and provide greater maneuver flexibility, and allow us to receive and process more human intelligence from the population. We have found that when the people know that the Coalition and Iraqi security forces are living with them, they feel more comfortable providing information on extremist activity.
Secondly, the Iraqi security forces have improved significantly. The difference between their capacity during my last deployment and now is truly amazing. Most of these organizations are capable of processing intelligence and executing precise independent operations.
Thirdly, the Iraqi population is tired of their families being terrorized by extremists and have stepped up to secure their neighborhoods. The Sons of Iraq program employs local Iraqis to secure their neighborhoods under the supervision of local tribal leaders, and overwatched by Iraqi security forces.
We use these static security positions to thicken our security lines in areas where we cannot fully commit Coalition or Iraqi security forces. We currently have just fewer than 10,500 Sons of Iraq employed in our area that mans — (background noise) — 552. checkpoints.
Transcript link – PDF file
Table of contents for Bloggers' Roundtable
- We Don’t Commute to Work Anymore
- Terror Investors Might Want to Look Elsewhere
- I Hear It’s Safe
- In Our Area the Taliban Are Paying More a Month
- Iraqi Police Progress
- Sept. 11 Conspirators Going to Trial
- Continued Courage and Committment
- The Year of Opportunity – 2008
- Competent, Capable, Effective Leadership
- Afghan Army Acts: Decisive, Overwhelming
- Iraqi Military Medical Services
- Dallas Reporting: Aid Mission to Georgia
- Military Integration Into NIMS
- Status Report From the Afghan South
- Status Report From the Afghan East
- Fourth Fleet Is About Partnerships
- Iraqi Police Primer
- Sons of Iraq Status Update
- Army Apologizes
- We Are Here!
- Yar! There Be Pirates!
- Cobra Gold 2009
- Our Best: Sergeant First Class Helen Gillespie
- Africa Partnership Station Comes to E Africa
- Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan
- Sons of Iraq and the Iraqi Budget
- Air Force Combat Camera – Focus on the Fight
- Afghan Update for July 22, 2009
- The Army Goal: 1.5 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy
- Withdrawing from Iraq – some perspective
- Iraqi security update April 22 2010
- 2012 Federal Budget for Defense
- Pacific Command and the Pacific
- Air Force high flyers mark 100th anniversary
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2008 at 4:47 pm and is filed under War on Terror, Iraq, Original writing, War on Terror, Iraq, Rebuilding, Original writing, Reporting, War on Terror, Iraq, Surge 2007, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.