An Iraqi army officer is expected to arrive in the southwestern United States this week to begin advanced training in the use of intelligence in counter-insurgency operations. This will be the first time an officer from the new Iraqi army has received training at the U.S. Army's Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.
The Iraqi officer arrives for this training at a time when interrogation techniques, the treatment of prisoners and related issues are prominent in the news. But officials say the officer will not specifically be trained as an interrogator. In the U.S. Army, that job is done by lower ranking soldiers.
This course is designed for junior officers, usually at the rank of army captain, who might supervise interrogators, but would mainly be responsible for analyzing intelligence and advising senior commanders on how to use that information in their battle plans.
The commander of the unit that teaches the class is Lieutenant Colonel Brian Clark.
"We're training junior officers to support tactical operations," says. "We're teaching them intelligence analytical techniques, how do you fuse intelligence together from different sources to come up with an intelligence picture to support your combat arms brothers."
Lieutenant Colonel Clark says sometimes intelligence leads forces to specific targets for attack, but other times it can identify ways to deal with a situation without violence.
"The answer is not always to break down a door and attempt to capture somebody," he says. "Sometimes, it's identifying through intelligence and information that there are non-lethal means to help influence a situation. So, as intelligence officials they're trying to build that entire picture for their commander in their respective areas."
Lieutenant Colonel Clark says those non-lethal means could include helping a village or neighborhood get needed services and supplies in order to help convince residents to cooperate with Iraqi and coalition forces. But Clark says the training does not involve "Information Operations," which includes the controversial practice of paying to place articles in local newspapers.
U.S. officials will not identify the Iraqi officer who will be taking the 13-week course at Fort Huachuca, but they say he will be a relatively junior officer, like his American classmates. And Lieutenant Colonel Clark says this Iraqi officer is expected to be followed by five of his colleagues in the coming months.
The Iraqis will be among more than 200 foreign students from about 80 countries who will go through intelligence training at Fort Huachuca this year. But Lieutenant Colonel Clark says they do not get all the training that their U.S. Army counterparts get. He says they do not get training in the specific rules of interrogations - what is allowed and what is not allowed - because that varies from country to country. They do, however, get some general training on what is allowed and what is prohibited under international law.
"They are part of a one-day class on the law of land warfare which includes Geneva Convention stipulations and that type of stuff. But they are not specifically trained on any specific techniques of interrogation, that type of stuff," Lieutenant Colonel Clark says.
Lieutenant Colonel Clark says the goal of the training is to make the Iraqi intelligence officers more effective at helping the new Iraqi security forces fight the insurgency, which is currently their number one job.