On Sept. 1, 2011, the U.S. military in Iraq transitioned to Operation New Dawn from Operation Iraqi freedom, signaling that their military combat operations have ended while confirming their commitment to Iraq’s government and people, as well as the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). As the ISF forces improved in providing security for the people of Iraq and defeating terrorists, U.S. military troops gradually began conducting stability procedures and took on a supporting role in the war effort.
Today, in conjunction with Operation New Dawn, the U.S. military has three major tasks:
● training, advising and assisting the ISF,
● acting as a partner in regard to counterterrorism operations, and
● providing support to civilian partners and reconstruction teams as they assist in helping to rebuild the country.
What the transition means
By its very nature, Operation New Dawn shifts the role of the U.S. government in Iraq from being mainly military to becoming mainly civilian, as outlined in the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA), and U.S. officials and Iraqis work together.
Representatives of the departments of State and Defense, along with nongovernmental and international organizations, have the goal of working together to build Iraq’s civil capacity. The nature of America’s commitment to this country and its people has changed with this transition, but its level of commitment to a long-lasting, significant partnership with Iraq is unaltered.
What our military forces will do
As Operation New Dawn continues, the 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq will engage in stability operations as they advise, assist and train members of the ISF. They envision Iraq as a stable, sovereign country, and the ISF is preparing to assume a leadership role in protecting their people.
What is happening now
This effort is also a sign that a well-planned reduction of forces and the redeployment of American soldiers were successful. In addition, war-fighting equipment in Iraq has either been transferred to the U.S. or sent to our combat troops currently fighting in Afghanistan.
The army is using several advisory and assistance brigades (AABs) to support the transition. They re specifically designed to acts as partners with the ISF and acclimated to the demands of the particular location where they have been sent. Besides providing security for Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), they have approximately 24 specialty teams that enable them to conduct, advisory, training and security missions, and work on developing civil capacity as well.
The structure of these brigades resembles the modular design of a combat team, but they are focused on stability operations. At the same time, according to the SFA, they retain the basic right to self-defense and have the authority to act in order to discourage terrorist activities and thus protect themselves or the Iraqi people.