News: NATO helps Iraqi forces build vehicle maintenance skills , 19-Apr.-2018

Iraqi military instructors are developing their skills in servicing Soviet-era vehicles, with NATO support. On Tuesday (April 17, 2018), they successfully completed a training course at the Taji military base, on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Twelve trainees were awarded the title of instructor, following a rigorous and comprehensive training program conducted by the Polish-led mobile training team over several months. The training focused on the maintenance and repair of BMP-1 and T-72 armored vehicles. “The 12 selected trainers will contribute to strengthening the maintenance and repair training capacity of the Iraqi security forces,” said Colonel Pawel Piecyk, commander of the Polish training team.

This was the first of NATO’s training activities in Iraq to reach Phase III of the Alliance’s “train the trainer” model. This means that graduates of the course are fully qualified instructors who will be assigned to Iraqi military schools to train their fellow soldiers and perform advisory and mentoring duties. By strengthening the skills of Iraqi security forces, NATO will help them ensure their own security in a sustainable way.

Major General Hassan Hillel Al-Maliki, director of the maintenance department of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, underlined the great value of NATO training for Iraqi security forces. He noted that “to prevent Daesh from reappearing, we must continue to improve the skills of our soldiers. This training is just one step in our NATO-Iraq cooperation; and we look forward to further strengthening our partnership. Ms. Beata Peksa, Ambassador of Poland to Iraq, further added that “the training was mutually beneficial for the Polish and Iraqi soldiers as they had the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences”.

The graduation ceremony was attended by representatives from NATO, Poland, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Slovakia and the United States Embassy in Iraq.

Another NATO training course on Soviet-era maintenance training began last March, led by trainers from Slovakia and Poland. Phase II of this course will end at the end of May 2018.

NATO launched training and capacity building efforts for Iraq in 2016, at the request of the Iraqi government.

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