Friday, May 2, 2008

Major General Lynch: MND-C Focuses on Transition

Major General Rick Lynch, 3 ID Commander Task Force Marne

By Major General Rick Lynch

This counterinsurgency fight can only be won by the Iraqi people. In order for them to step up and take control for their own security, governance, and economics, they had to be secure - you did that for them. Under Task Force Marne, you have conducted over 10 Division-named operations, and during each you've cleared the enemy of his safe haven and established a patrol base.

You went into the worst areas with the worst insurgents, killed them, and then stayed to live with the Iraqi people. Once you began living there, the Iraqis wanted to help. They brought you intelligence and caches, they stood up Sons of Iraq programs, and they began to develop democracy from the grassroots level. You enabled that.

Now the pendulum is beginning to shift back toward transition. The conversation is no longer about security, but about stability. It's about creating sustainable jobs, economic growth, and allowing the upcoming elections to foster true Iraqi democracy.

We're beginning to see an increase in the capacity of the Iraqi government and a noticeable increase in the capability of the Iraqi Army.

Our Division-named operations are no longer about building new patrol bases for ourselves, but about building patrol bases for the Iraqi Army. Right now, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) is building a patrol base for the 25th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division as part of Marne Piledriver. An infantry platoon occupied the patrol base in order to provide a Military Transition Team, and is constructing it for the Iraqi Army to enable them to secure their own population.

Across Multi-National Division - Center, the Iraqi Police are g etting better every day. The 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Iraqi National Police in Jisr Diyala "re-blued" and are being led by one of the most capable Iraqi leaders, Col. Emad. He rightfully policed his own leaders during the increase of Shia violence at the end of March and even fired one of his battalion commanders for acting more lik an extremist than a military leader.

The IP are continuing to grow from Sons of Iraq transition, and as their numbers grow, so does their confidence. But they still need our help. Over the upcoming weeks we are going to work harder to partner with the IP through Police Transition Teams. Our Military Police Soldiers are doing a tremendous job partnering with the IP, but they can only affect one-third of the Task Force's police stations. Mentoring and coaching the police to support an effective rule of law is the key to a democratic society, and we are going to do whatever we can to support this.

Finally, we are going to formalize all of the relationships between our brigade support battalions and all our logistics partnerships as we work to help the Iraqis understand their logistics systems. Everything is about capacity building, and the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces is growing everyday.

Rock of the Marne!

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