Story by Capt. Adam D. Westbrook, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C
BAGHDAD—Members of the “Tomahawk” Stability Transition Team attached to 5th “Longknife” Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center completed the second iteration of a staff planning course for key leaders with the 2nd Iraqi Federal Police Division Aug. 29 at Joint Security Station Justice, Iraq.
The five-day course was offered as an additional means for continuing the combined efforts between the 2nd IFP Div. and “Team Tomahawk” to establish enduring training capabilities that can persist long after the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Attending the planning course were key leaders from various levels of command within the 2nd IFP Div., ranging in rank from captain to lieutenant colonel, who sought to enhance their abilities to better prepare for future operational planning.
Lt. Col. Chris Call, team chief of Tomahawk STT and a Stafford, N.Y., native, served as the instructor for the classes, using interpreters as conduits. The course was designed in order to fill in some critical knowledge gaps.
“It was clear to us that older officers with previous Iraqi Army experience tended to have a better grasp of the subject matter,” said Call. “There is a wide range of knowledge and experience between 2nd IFP Div. officers—some lacked basic map-reading skills, while others had zero experience in planning operations.”
Over the five-day course period, the Iraqi officers were given instruction on map reading, operational terms and graphics, step-by-step guidance on the military decision making process, intelligence preparation of the battlefield, and various forms of planning doctrine. Additionally, the course provided the officers an opportunity to discuss the current security situations.
“Obviously, a week-long course can do nothing more than familiarize officers with the tactical planning process,” said Call, “but the true purpose of this course is to use the planning process as a platform to discuss the daily security challenges that the Iraqi officers face and offer recommended tactical-level solutions.”
The officers were given a take-home package of references and course materials that will allow them the ability to look back over the provided instruction, aiding them in future operational planning.
“Team Tomahawk’s” yearlong mission has thus far included the execution of more than 30 separate structured courses and the training of over 1,000 Federal Police officers on mission-essential skills and tasks, strongly impacting the 2nd IFP Div.’s ability to maintain security independently well into the future.