Moving Forward in Iraq

Baghdad—Once the US military leaves, the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq will play a key role here in solidifying the new US-Iraq strategic security partnership. OSC-I—a subordinate to the US embassy—will work to help the Iraqis “build a foundational capability” by offering them modern equipment through the foreign military sales program and basic operator training, explained Army Lt. Col. Thomas Hanson, who is serving in the new office. Hanson will be one of 157 uniformed military members who will work alongside 763 contractors in Iraq as part of OSC-I. Working with the Iraqis can be difficult at first because “theirs is a negotiating culture and that’s based fundamentally upon distrust,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Pearson, the F-16 case manager within OSC-I. “You argue about everything and that’s not the way FMS works.” Pearson said it’s taking him a long time to “get to the point where they will believe what we are saying.” Click here to read Amy McCullough’s full report.