Petraeus to Oversee Iraq Training

American Forces Press Service – Petraeus Ready for New Iraqi Security Mission

With Iraqi sovereignty less than two months away, the man who commanded the 101st Airborne Division the first year of the Iraq war is up for an enormous, new challenge.

Army Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who stepped down as commanding general of the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based division May 14, will be heading back to Iraq in the next few weeks to oversee training of Iraqi security personnel.

In an interview on CNN’s “Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer” today, Petraeus said his newest mission is an enormous challenge, but it’s not “mission impossible.”

The general noted that he received great support from the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command head, Army Gen. John Abizaid, for his mission.

He said he would try to do what he did up for the 101st when it was stationed in the northern part of Iraq: putting together “a great team of coalition soldiers.”

“We’re still assembling as much talent as we can get,” the general noted. “We then are going to partner with good Iraqis … and work with them from building from the top.”

Petraeus said his plan calls for working closely with Iraqi Civil Defense Corps battalions, police elements, the new Iraqi army and facility- protection security forces.

An intriguing move, if incredibly late in the game. By all accounts, Petraeus did a superb job during both the initial combat phase and in the follow-on phase. He should bring instant credibility to the retraining effort.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.