News: US Coast Guard transition mission
Story by Spc. Karen Sampson
BAGHDAD – With the pending departure of United States Forces – Iraq, the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security Advisory team will be a key link in the training the Iraqi River Police, Coastal Border Guard and Iraqi navy.
In pursuit of this advisory mission, the MSA team will advise the appropriate U.S. and Iraqi government agencies on issues in the maritime domain. The MSA team will advise the maritime security forces of Iraqi Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense and maritime officials of the Ministry of Transportation.
"The USCG Maritime Security Advisory team provides advice and technical expertise to both the U.S. government and our Iraqi counterparts,” said Capt. Steve Banks, USCG, Department of Homeland Security attaché and maritime security advisor, U.S. Embassy Baghdad. “As a member of the U.S. country team, the MSA team provides continuity through USF-I transition for our U.S. government assistance to the maritime security forces of Iraq.”
“The MSA team will provide liaison between the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau staff and the Office of Security Cooperation – Iraq,” said Banks. “In this way, the MSA team will ensure a seamless U.S. government approach on operational, technical and maritime law enforcement advisory matters for the maritime security forces in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, River Police and Coastal Border Guard, Iraqi navy, and the Ministry of Defense.”
Lt. Timothy Tilghman, from Shelton, Conn., assists USF-I with planning of maritime operations and assists the J35 (Future Operations) with advisory assistance within the maritime sector.
“The job is training, advising and equipping Iraqi security forces involved in the maritime sector,” said Tilghman, an assistant for the maritime security advisor. “Basic seamanship skills are our concentration, and we do branch off and assist with training in law enforcement as well.”
“Under the auspice of the Department of State [INL], which has the law enforcement component, we will work together to enhance the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces to conduct their civil law enforcement in the maritime environment,” said Tilghman.
The MSA team, in partnership with the Departments of Homeland Security agencies and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau, the Office of Security Cooperation–Iraq and other relevant members of the U.S. country team, support the development and sustainment of the Iraqi capacity to secure, regulate and manage the maritime domain. This will include ensuring the Iraqi ministries and maritime security forces have the legislation and regulation to support a sustainable maritime industry and secure its maritime sovereignty.