The Iraqi Army School of Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer II (SINCO II) at the Taji Military Complex has achieved initial operating capability (IOC).
The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) noted that the milestone will allow the school to conduct 75% of its training activities without assistance from coalition forces.
Located 20km north of Baghdad, the school has been supported by Task Group Taji (TG Taji), a combined Australian-New Zealand military training force based at Taji.
TG Taji was deployed to Iraq to support the broader coalition’s Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, which is a US-led international effort to coordinate military operations against the Islamic State (ISIS).
The international training mission is known as Building Partner Capacity (BPC) and is aimed at training and building the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
Taji Training Task Unit commanding officer lieutenant colonel Matthew Smith said: “This represents a milestone for the Taji campaign plan; a transition towards training that is solely led by the Iraqi Security Forces.”
SINCO II offers training to personnel from Iraqi Army Brigades. These troops take part in efforts to secure and stabilise areas that have been liberated from the control of ISIS.
The training allows students to improve core infantry skills such as weapons handling, marksmanship, explosive hazard awareness, combat first aid, urban operations and combined arms operations.
The course also includes lessons on the Law of Armed Conflict.
As a result of the IOC milestone, Australia has shifted its involvement in the project to train-the-trainer and mentoring activities from its previous direct training activities.
Earlier this week, New Zealand Government announced plans to completely withdraw its troops from Iraq by next June when the BPC mission comes to a close.