STAVANGER, Norway — 27 key leaders from Iraq’s security forces are training here at NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC). This is the second key leader course held at the Centre in support of NATO’s Iraqi Training Mission announced at the Istanbul Summit in June 2004, and is one of several training opportunities planned at NATO´s training and education facilities in 2005.

The 10-day course, which started on March 14th, has been tailored to Iraqi requirements. Participants include senior military and civilian staff from Iraq’s Ministry of Defence and Ministry of the Interior who were specially selected by Iraq as key leaders within the country’s security forces.

The course is focusing on the management of an operational-level headquarters and includes instruction on crisis management, command and control of forces, the operational planning process, and integration of all aspects of civil-military cooperation, including liaison with the UN, Red Cross, and other international organisations.

As NATO’s leading centre for training Alliance battle staffs for Afghanistan and the NATO Response Force, the JWC is well placed to offer training that is extremely relevant to the challenges and opportunities these key leaders face in rebuilding their country’s security institutions. The ultimate aim is to enable the Iraqi security forces to train themselves.

The JWC is one of several NATO education and training facilities under Allied Command Transformation (ACT), which is one of NATO’s two strategic commands. Commanded by Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, ACT also heads the NATO Training and Equipment Co-ordination Group, which co-ordinates Iraqi requests to NATO for training and equipment.

Iraqi training this year will also be conducted at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany, and the NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy. ACT’s education, training, and co-ordination efforts are conducted in support of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq, lead by NATO’s other strategic command, Allied Command Operations.