The Iraqi Army School of Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer II (SINCO II) marked a significant milestone last week by achieving Initial Operating Capability ahead of schedule.
The School, based at the Taji Military Complex, 20 kilometres north of Baghdad, can now conduct 75 per cent of its training activities without coalition assistance.
SINCO II has been supported by the Australian and New Zealand-led Task Group Taji, part of the broader coalition’s Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.
Commanding Officer of the Taji Training Task Unit, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Smith, said the declaration of Initial Operating Capability was the result of significant hard work by the school over a long period.
“This represents a milestone for the Taji campaign plan; a transition towards training that is solely led by the Iraqi Security Forces,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.
SINCO II is responsible for training personnel from Iraqi Army Brigades who in turn work to secure and stabilise areas in Iraq, which have recently been liberated from Daesh.
The training is focussed on enhancing core infantry skills including weapons handling, marksmanship, explosive hazard awareness, combat first aid, urban operations and combined arms operations. Students are also provided lessons on the Law of Armed Conflict.
In line with this achievement, Australian support to SINCO II has transitioned from direct training of Iraqi soldiers to train-the-trainer and mentoring activities.
Australia’s efforts are now focussed on supporting the Iraqi Army to reach full operating capacity at SINCO II.