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NEWS | March 2, 2017

Iraqi forces benefit from Coalition led counter-IED training

By Sgt. Anna Pongo CJTFOIR

The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command -- Operation Inherent Resolve Counter Improvised Explosive Device team works together facilitating their critical part in the fight against ISIS. 
A German trainer observes a Peshmerga soldier attempting to detect improvised explosive devices during training in explosive ordnance disposal and counter IED near Black Tiger Training Camp, Iraq, Feb. 12, 2017. More than 60 Coalition partners have committed themselves to the goal of eliminating the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and have contributed in various capacities to the effort. Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Josephine Carlson)
A German trainer observes a Peshmerga soldier attempting to detect improvised explosive devices during training in explosive ordnance disposal and counter IED near Black Tiger Training Camp, Iraq, Feb. 12, 2017. More than 60 Coalition partners have committed themselves to the goal of eliminating the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and have contributed in various capacities to the effort. Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Josephine Carlson)
A German trainer observes a Peshmerga soldier attempting to detect improvised explosive devices during training in explosive ordnance disposal and counter IED near Black Tiger Training Camp, Iraq, Feb. 12, 2017. More than 60 Coalition partners have committed themselves to the goal of eliminating the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and have contributed in various capacities to the effort. Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Josephine Carlson)
Germans train Peshmerga soldiers in Counter-IED
A German trainer observes a Peshmerga soldier attempting to detect improvised explosive devices during training in explosive ordnance disposal and counter IED near Black Tiger Training Camp, Iraq, Feb. 12, 2017. More than 60 Coalition partners have committed themselves to the goal of eliminating the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and have contributed in various capacities to the effort. Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Josephine Carlson)
Photo By: Sgt. Josephine Carlson
VIRIN: 170302-M-LM779-001


The counter-IED team's mission is three fold: train the force, defeat the device and attack the network. 

"It's a loop," said the Al, British Royal Navy Commander, chief of counter-IED, CJFLCC (full name cannot be released). "You train the force so they can defeat the (IED) device and then exploit what you get from that so you understand the enemy and can attack their network. You learn from that so you can better train the force and start the loop over." 

As part of the CJFLCC-OIR mission, counter-IED focuses on training and awareness for Iraqi security forces. This is vitally important because of the ongoing threat that IEDs pose.

"The IED is the insurgent's main weapon of choice," British Staff Sgt. Richard Newton, assurance warrant officer, CJFLCC, said. "It's used by the enemy to distract, channel and shape the movement of the ISF. So having a capability to counter the IED threat greatly improves the movement of forces in the battle space." 

CJFLCC has four counter-IED training sites located at Al Asad Air Base, Besmayah Range Complex, Camp Taji and Erbil. They are led by Coalition forces from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Norway and other nations.** The trainers at these locations enable the Coalition to enhance partner coordination that enable Iraqi security forces to increase their knowledge, skills and overall readiness as they work to liberate Mosul from ISIS. 

According to Newton, there are three levels of courses that ISF work through at the various sites. 
The first level is the counter-IED course, designed for the basic level soldier, where ISF learns about explosive hazard awareness. This gives all the ISF a basic awareness of the IED threat and how to avoid it within their operation.

In the basic detect and defeat course, a select group is enabled as a search element of the ISF. These soldiers make up a special team which can operate alongside the rest of the ISF and are used for clearing areas and allowing freedom of maneuver in the battle space. 

The defeat course, a basic Explosive Ordinance Disposal operator's course, gives Iraqi forces the capability to dispose of an IED in a safe environment once found.

"Every country has a different way of teaching counter-IED," Newton said. "And, what we're trying to do [in Baghdad] is harmonize the training of counter-IED and give it continuity so that we're teaching to one method." 

To accomplish this, they write programs of instruction that include training objectives for each course. From this, each of the BPC sites writes their own training plans. 

"It enables us to train an operator from one area who has been taught by one school, and one from another area who has been taught by a different school so they can come together and be working in exactly the same way," Newton said. 

This partnership is also the strength of the team. 

"Bringing all the different ideas together, we find that you can pick and choose the best ideas from each nation and really come up with the best course that is drawing on a lot of knowledge and previous information," Newton said.

"From a counter-IED perspective, having a breadth of knowledge across each of the different nations is really important," Al said. "Because of the niche manner of our business, different experiences coming together in counter-IED are really useful."

**Due to national caveats, not all nations can be mentioned.