NEWS | March 18, 2019

U.S., Iraqi Engineers meet to restructure, realign, reemploy forces

By Courtesy Story Task Force Spartan

The 20th Engineer Brigade participated in a Senior Leader Engagement and combined brief to Iraq Army Engineers leadership on February 19, 2019, at Camp Honor, Iraq, focusing on engineer force structure and capabilities.

The engagement included participants from Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, NATO, the Iraqi Army Engineering Directorate (M10), and the U.S. Army Central Theater Engineer Brigade, which includes engineers from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Iraq, Turkey, and Spain.

Lt. Gen. Hattam, M10 director, Brig. Gen. R. Yaldiz, a NATO Advisory and Training representative from Turkey, Col N. Young, a NATO engineer advisor from the United Kingdom, and five M10 brigadier generals served as the primary recipients for the brief, while Maj. John Natynczyk (CJTF-OIR engineer planner), Maj. Michael Holgate (U.K.-embedded CJTF-OIR planner), and Capt. Patrick Lupfer (20th Engineer Brigade OIR program manager) presented on behalf of the Canadian, British, and American engineers, respectively.

The M10 leadership remained engaged during every aspect of the event, asking questions throughout briefings while comparing and contrasting organizational capabilities. The delegation expressed special interest in the “Brigade Engineer Battalion” concept as briefed by Capt. Lupfer, and was intrigued by a Corps’ ability to augment Divisions and Brigade Combat Teams with additional engineer assets within a “Echelon-Above-Brigade” construct.

At the end of the event, the SLE included a traditional sit-down for Arabic coffee and tea in Lt. Gen. Hattam’s office and the group later moved outside for photos to commemorate the event, after which the M10 leadership expressed their appreciation for the information and perspective they received through the continued partnership of all involved.

The event proved an effective means of supporting the Iraqi Ministry of Defense’s ongoing analysis of how to restructure engineer forces and better support Iraqi Army maneuver elements, facilitating the building of partner capacity.