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Kiwi Approach to Iraq Training Mission

1 April 2015

Custom pre-deployment training and a unique Kiwi approach to working alongside Iraqi counterparts mean the New Zealand Building Partner Capacity training mission is well-placed to follow in the footsteps of many previous successful training missions.

International security specialist Major Josh Wineera, who is completing his PhD at the University of Otago, led development of the training programme. He says that from tribesmen in Malaya during the 1950s to Afghanistan over the past decade, New Zealand forces have a unique ability to support those who have sought our help.

“Kiwis have long been able to work alongside and in partnership with other nations. We know we can provide true partnership in training – in this case working very closely with Iraqi security forces on agreed outcomes and delivery of training.”

The purpose of the Building Partner Capacity mission is to train Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to be able to commence combat operations at a trained level, as agreed by both the Iraqis and coalition trainers. It also aims to train ISF to a state where they are considered a self-sustaining capability for the Iraqi Government.

To achieve this, a comprehensive pre-deployment training strategy was designed by a team of experts and specialists in a variety of fields, including linguists, training evaluation, coaching and mentoring and irregular warfare. The design team also looked deeply into cross-cultural adult training and cross-cultural adult learning.

“Key factors that have been focused on in the pre-deployment training are cultural respect and humility, gaining professional respect and mutual trust and partnered evaluation. That is real partnership,” MAJ Wineera says.

The pre-deployment training programme also recognises that the Iraqi Security Forces soldiers who arrive for training will be at varying ‘training states’ on arrival. These states range from ‘training state one’, which is the equivalent of a raw recruit, to ‘training state three’, a partner of equal ability who is competent and might be battle-hardened.

“Integration and true partnership with Iraqi Security Forces is key, in theatre there is a requirement to make sure they are comfortable with what we are delivering. For example the level of ability to which each ‘training state’ is required to reach by the time they complete training will be agreed on between the Iraqis and Coalition trainers.

“It would be counterproductive to approach the training of a ‘training state three’ Iraqi Security Forces soldier in the same way you would train a recruit. Instead, in such a case, advising, mentoring and winning the professional respect of your Iraqi Security Forces counterpart is likely to be the most effective technique,” says MAJ Wineera.

MAJ Wineera says this robust partnership and agreed shared aims, combined with current thinking on how learners best learn – is a strong platform for success.

“Essentially we have taken lessons from previous missions and blended that with current best practice to ensure the New Zealand forces training Iraqi security forces are the best prepared they can be.”

For more information please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

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