News: Elections meeting emphasizes combined efforts
Story by Pfc. Kimberly Lessmeister
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — As the March 7 elections draw nearer, leadership from the Iraqi army, Iraqi police, and U.S. Forces met at the 9th IA Division headquarters building here, Feb. 20, to work toward one common goal; security of the voters at the polls.
The theme of the meeting was to review security strategies for the election.
One by one, representatives from each group took the podium and briefed their plans to the fellow Soldiers and policemen who have dedicated an abundance of their time and efforts into planning and training to ensure the safety of Iraqi voters.
During the meeting, speakers and attendees declared their confidence in one another and expressed a true sense of partnership.
"There is joint security with [IPs] and the IA," said IP Brig. Gen. Imad, the IP Taji sector commander. "All officers with the IP work side by side with IA officers; each IP chief officer knows the battalion commander in his [area of operations]."
Imad also spoke about the confidence he has in his own policemen.
"All IPs are ready and trained [for the elections]," he said.
During the elections, the IA and IP plan to work together to secure polling sites.
The IA will provide an outer cordon around polling stations while IPs secure the interior of the buildings. These actions will show their ability to work together and protect the populace and their right to vote.
U.S. forces will not be present at the polling stations, but they are still involved in the security planning process.
Col. John Norris, commander, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, sat at a table at the very front of the room with Maj. Gen. Qassim, commander, 9th IA Div., and other leaders from the area.
When given his chance to speak, Norris reminded the room that communication is important in order for the elections to go well.
"We, as a team, cannot [be successful] if we are not sharing information," said Norris.
The combined forces even reached out to an extended part of their 'team' - the civilians.
Representatives in charge of the polling sites and a local hospital were able to voice their concerns involving the elections to the IA, IPs, and U.S. service members present.
While not every issue was resolved during the meeting, every concern was taken into consideration. Focused on a common goal- a safe and successful election, the IA and IPs showed their unity not only with Americans, but more importantly, among themselves.