Story and photos by NMI Public Affairs
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The recently established NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) conducted an Introduction Event at the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, December 5, 2018.
The conference was attended by key leaders from across the Iraqi Security and Defence sector, including the Iraqi Chief of Staff, General Othman Al-Ghanimi.
The event was also attended by representatives coming from various international partner missions, organizations and entities such as the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the European Union Advise Mission in Iraq (EUAM), the United Nations Assistance Mission Iraq (UNAMI), and the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I) and Diplomatic Missions.
The NMI Commander, Canadian Army Major General Dany Fortin, introduced the mission's mandate, vision and aim while inviting the attendees to share their views and requirements and provide guidance for NMI's future endeavors:
"The coordination of training and capacity building activities performed under the title of NATO Training and Capacity Building-Iraq (NTCB-I) will be expanded into additional schools and PME institutions with the intent to help Iraq to build and sustain more effective, transparent and inclusive national security structures and institutions as well as supporting Iraqi Government's request to assist with Defence and Security Sector Reform".
The new mission was described as a "new iteration of a long-standing relationship" between NATO and Iraq, one that will bring together "expertise and best practice in security/defence sector reform, institution building and training and education from the entire Alliance and its partners."
Major General Fortin concluded by emphasizing "that the relationship between NMI and Iraq would succeed based on both organizations embracing their responsibilities. NMI intends on meeting needs unable to be met by other international partners, but Iraq must use the advice and training offered to build sustainable defence and training institutions."
Following the presentation by the NMI Commander, the NMI Senior Civilian and head of the Ministerial Advisory and Liaison Branch, Ambassador Jeanette Seppen, and the NMI Advisory and Training Division Head, Turkish Army Brigadier General Rasim Yaldiz, provided further details with respect to the proposed partnership.
For her part, Ambassador Seppen emphasized the objective of enhancing the "institutional and human capacity needed for security policy to function effectively" and stated that NMI is here to "help to create a more effective, sustainable, transparent and inclusive security sector." Brigadier General Yaldiz presented an overview of how NMI will support Iraq in the development of three military education institutions and 11 training schools by providing NATO Embedded Training & Advisory Teams within the schools and institutions.
The predominant role of these teams will be to support institutional development, while also facilitating the ability to access "NATO's unique capabilities and experience in training and enhancing the development of partnered security forces", Yaldiz said.
Following several questions and statements from the leadership of the Ministry of Defence, General Othman Al-Ghanimi concluded with a clear endorsement of NMI and stressed the importance of a long-term cooperation between the Republic of Iraq and the NATO Mission.