Transition to Iraq Sovereignty

Transition to Iraq Sovereignty:

The Impact on US Military Advisory Efforts

by Ben Williams

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ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha) 5122 and its principal partner force, the 7th RCB (Regional Commando Battalion) were instrumental in disrupting the activities of Sunni Insurgent Groups in northern Iraq throughout late 2009. In less than six months, this combined force conducted over 50 operations, attained an 85% capture rate, and detained five of the ODA's top ten HVIs (High Value Individuals). These successes were not simply a direct result of our own diligence and professionalism, but also a reflection of the professionalism and high level of ability of our Iraqi counterparts.

Simultaneously, our combined, aggressive, precise, and counter-terrorism efforts were complemented by an equally aggressive and robust array of shaping efforts. Relationships with local civic, religious, and military leaders were cultivated and networks of influence expanded. The ODA also orchestrated no fewer than ten carefully developed and successful Psychological Operations. These were implemented using multiple forms of media and were intended to shape the perception of local nationals, incite violence between rival threat groups, and discredit specific HVIs. This paper explores a representative cross section of the ODA's activities during the latter half of 2009. This is the story of a small group of men who thought and acted unconventionally, and were able to leverage their capabilities to obtain maximum effects within their area of operation.

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Captain Ben Williams is a U.S. Army Special Forces Officer with multiple deployments to Iraq. He currently commands an ODA in 1/5th Special Forces Group (A). Prior to his assignment to 5th SFG (A) he served as a MiTT advisor to the 4/6th Iraqi Army and as a Task Force Engineer with the 101st Airborne Division (AASLT). CPT Williams is a graduate of both the University of Michigan and Princeton University. His military education includes Officer Candidate School, Engineer Officer Basic Course, Maneuver Captains Career Course, and Special Forces Detachment Officer Qualification Course

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The initial reading of CPT Williamss article is inspiring; however it is my opinion that the small successes of a small group in this society will be short lived and in the long run absolutely futile. The Arab nepotistic culture will never last and when the US finally pulls out of Iraq this country will go to hell in a hand basket. It will most likely splinter into three separate states or form some type of alliance with Iran forming some type of super shia state. My conclusions have been drawn by my interactions with members of the Iraqi Army while serving on a MiTT in 2006 and 2007.