Military Partnership Lessons Learned from Base Closure and Transition in Iraq
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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This paper reviews lessons learned from the transition of Joint Base Balad by the U.S. Air Force to the Iraqi Air Force in 2011. Complications encountered during the transition included Political uncertainty regarding the future of the military mission in Iraq limited partnerships with the Iraqi military and unity of effort issues regarding strategic security between USF-I and the 332 Air Expeditionary Wing. These issues resulted in a diminished ability to form strong Iraqi partnerships at Balad which would have assisted in establishing better long and short term security in the region. The author proposes in the absence of a strong Iraqi Air Force unit to partner with, U.S. Forces could have established partnerships with host nation contractors. Some of the benefits of hiring host nation contractors to provide base operating support would have been increased cooperation by demonstrating the benefits of U.S. presence decreased cost and increased opportunity to conduct population-centric counterinsurgency operations.