The Government has confirmed that Australia will commit a military force to the international Building Partner Capacity (BPC) training mission in Iraq.
The force will involve about 300 ADF personnel, drawn largely from the Army’s 7th Brigade, based in Brisbane. They will work as part of a combined Task Group alongside about 100 personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force.
The mission of the Australian and New Zealand trainers will be to help the Iraqi Government to prepare sufficient forces to maintain the momentum of the counter-attack against ISIL, or Daesh, and regain control of its territory.
On 3 March, the Government announced that it had decided to commence preparations to deploy this force. This followed requests for an Australian contribution from both the Iraqi and US governments.
These preparations are now complete and the combined Task Group will deploy to Iraq over the next few weeks.
The training mission is expected to be fully operational in May 2015.
The combined Task Group will be stationed at the Taji Military Complex north of Baghdad, working to build the capacity of units of the Iraqi army.
We will also deploy around 20 personnel to coalition headquarters roles in Iraq.
The Air Task Group will continue to support coalition air operations. The Special Operations Task Force involved in the Advise and Assist mission will draw down in the third quarter of 2015.
This marks the next phase of Australia’s contribution to the international coalition effort to assist the Iraqi Government to disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat the Daesh death cult.
Iraqi forces, with coalition support, have halted Daesh’s advances and begun to win back ground in recent months. But they require international training support if they are to become self-sustaining in their fight against the Islamist death cult, and ultimately re-establish control over Iraqi territory.
Australia joins a number of other international partners already contributing to the BPC mission, including the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Australia’s BPC commitment is currently planned to run for two years, with progress to be reviewed regularly.
The size and nature of Australia’s overall commitment in Iraq will also remain under regular review, taking into account the increasing focus of coalition efforts on building the capacity of Iraq’s security forces.
The decision to commit ADF personnel to this important mission is not one that has been taken lightly. But it is firmly in Australia’s national interest.
The Daesh death cult is reaching out to Australians, as the terrorist incidents here late last year demonstrated.
This commitment reflects the Government’s steadfast commitment to keeping Australians safe from terrorism and preventing the spread of violent extremism to our shores.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999