December 12th, 2006 04:36 EST
Joint operations bringing peace in Diyala
BAQUBAH — Inside the room sat one representative each from the Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army and Coalition Force, surrounded by maps and the busy sounds of radios chirping and voices issuing reports.
The three men conversed about problems Diyala province faces and how each of their forces could help. This joint operations center is the hub for the three forces to coordinate and combine efforts to combat the insurgency and bring peace to the region.
“If the IA and IP work together more and successfully, they will be able to do a better job attacking the insurgents,” said Capt. John Baumann, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Coalition Force representative at the JOC.
Baumann, a native of Valparaiso, Ind., helps the JOC coordinate the IP and IA assets and recommends how the American forces can help in certain situations, he said.
The JOC was established by the governor of Diyala to allow the IA and IP the ability to work together, because when they coordinate, insurgents cannot exploit a gap between them, Baumann said.
When the JOC receives information on an incident in the area, the representatives of both Iraqi forces discuss how they can deal with the situation, said the IP officer who runs the JOC.
Through this discussion, the officials then decide which force or combination of agencies is needed to deal with the situation, he said. They are able to determine which forces are most suitable for a situation by tracking all IP and IA assets in the area, he added.
Baumann said the center is still growing in influence and continues to improve. The JOC is steadily reaching out to more areas in the province and will one day benefit all of Diyala, he said.
“Having a centralized control will allow quick responses of certain forces… to an area where there is a lot of activity,” said Baumann.
While the organization is still experiencing growing pains, it is beginning to be used more by commanders from both forces, he said.
And when the Coalition leaves, Baumann said he believes they will have left a lasting impression as they continue to work combined operations with the Iraqi Security Force.
“This is a good organization and something that needs to remain in order to continue security in Diyala,” Baumann added.
(Courtesy of Pfc. Ben Fox, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)