The first group of Iraq national security force officers began training at a NATO course in Jordan on April 2, according to a press release. The course, part of NATO’s defense capacity building program for Iraq, was prompted by a request from the Iraqi government and part of the alliance’s effort “to help Iraq build up its defense capacities, reform its security sector, and increase its ability to contribute to regional stability,” according to the release. The course includes training on explosive ordnance disposal and countering improvised explosive devices, cyber defense, civil-military planning, and military medicine. Three hundred and fifty Iraqi officers will be trained in the course at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center in Jordan over the next six months. During a visit to the White House on Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President Obama discussed how NATO can increase support to other countries to help them stabilize and fight ISIL, stressing that the alliance and the US stand “together in the fight against terrorism,” which Stoltenberg said “affects us all, from Brussels to San Bernardino.” Obama called NATO “the lynchpin, the cornerstone” of US security policy, and noted that the alliance has been “an extraordinary partner” in Afghanistan as well.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.