Leadership: August 19, 2003

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Army units in Iraq have recorded their experiences in great detail. Army historians and staff from various army schools have been there from the beginning, even during the fighting, and new training materials were quickly prepared. Units now getting ready to go to Iraq are training to deal with the same kinds of operations troops in Iraq now encounter on a daily basis. This includes convoy operations (and how to avoid ambushes, bombs and mines) and raids (and how to avoid civilian casualties.) A lot of training concentrates on "cultural sensitivity." The troops are lectured by Arabs or Arab-Americans who grew up in Iraq or other Arab countries, on what actions to avoid to prevent angering the locals. The troops are pretty enthusiastic about the training, because they constantly encounter the same situations in the media. Moreover, the troops in Iraq increasingly have Internet access and details on what service in Iraq is like gets back to troops in training. This Internet access is a radical change from past wars, where there was not as much communication between troops in Vietnam or Korea and the troops getting ready to replace them. Another major change is that there won't be many individual replacements. Instead, entire units will go over. This is a major break with the "individual replacement system" that has been used (without much success) since World War II. 

 


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