Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, the military organization to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, conducted a transfer of authority ceremony in Baghdad, Sept. 9, 2021.
Maj. Gen. John Brennan assumed command from Lt. Gen. Paul T. Calvert as the command’s colors were passed by the U.S. Central Command commander.
Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commanding general, U.S. Central Command, presided over the event.
“The re-designation of OIR as a two-star command further signifies the progress we have made so far in our historic effort to jointly build up Iraqi forces and institutions while tearing down those who seek to destroy them. It’s not terribly common that we assign a 2-star to command a CJTF headquarters with so many contributing nations. But with this transition, OIR is no longer a common task force. By January 1st, it will have completed its transition from a warfighting headquarters to one focused entirely on advising and assisting our hosts in those areas where we can be most helpful,” said McKenzie.
Calvert’s tenure was a year of significant evolution for the CJTF. Over the last 12 months, Lt. Gen. Calvert re-postured the force, reducing its numbers in Iraq from 5,000 to 2,500. This re-posture allowed for the Coalition to better advise and assist partner forces in providing security and sustaining regional stability in their continued defeat of Daesh. The significant progress made during Lt. Gen. Calvert’s tenure reflects the recent strategic dialogue between President Biden and Prime Minister al-Kadhimi.
In Syria, the Coalition continues to support the Syrian Democratic Forces with advice, intelligence, and air support for anti-Daesh operations. The SDF, with Coalition support, continues to protect critical petroleum infrastructure and agricultural assets to deny Daesh access to finances.
In Iraq, the Coalition enabled meetings between Iraqi and Kurdish partners to plan and discuss long-lasting measures to degrade Daesh’s movement in disputed areas. While Coalition and partner forces defeated Daesh, cooperation between the Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Security Forces will reduce the threat of resurgence.
“The key feature of a normalized security relationship here is the ISF taking the lead in all counter-Daesh operations. Quite simply, over the past year, the Coalition pivoted away from tactical operations. Our Iraqi partners no longer needed us to accompany them in the field,” said Calvert.
Brennan shared Calvert’s sentiments as well as his vision of the future for the military Coalition.
“It is clear our partnership and commitment remains strong, and that CJTF-OIR is ready to take our advisory assistance to the next level with our able partners from the Joint Operating Center - Iraq, the ISF and SDF in order to promulgate the enduring defeat of Daesh,” said Brennan.
The Coalition maintains an enduring commitment to supporting partner forces in their fight against Daesh. The adjustments to posturing are consistent with the Coalition’s strategic dialogues and continued partnership with the Government of Iraq, Coalition nations, and NATO Mission Iraq.
In continuing its mission, CJTF-OIR remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting partners in Iraq and Syria.
Calvert will report to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and begin duties as the deputy commanding general/Chief of Staff of U.S. Army Forces Command.