Guest Speaker Request

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  Guest Speaker: MG David G. Perkins
April 22, 2009, Eisenhower Auditorium, Lewis & Clark Center
  The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) hosted via Video Tele-Conference (VTC) on April 21Maj. Gen. David Perkins who currently is the Director, Strategic Effects and Spokesman for the Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I). This VTC is part of CGSC’s guest speaker program where both military and civilian personnel are asked to speak before the student population composed of Field Grade Officers from all branches of the U.S. military as well as International Military Students. After a brief introduction, Maj. Gen. Perkins provided a presentation as part of his discussion on topics ranging from the planned withdrawal from Iraq by U.S. forces as tied to the security agreement with Iraq, to the improvements being made with regards to security, economy and the political landscape.

Maj. Gen. Perkins discussed the dramatic reduction in security incidents from 2007 to the present. This was measured based on the incidents of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) or direct fire. He attributes the reduction on the surge and the increase in engagement of Iraqi security. He also noted the decrease in civilian casualties and how the Iraqis are now more prone to going out at night, eating in restaurants and buying cars which are all indications of life going back to normal. The Iraqi Security Forces have also taken an active role in local security and as such are taking a higher toll with regards to casualties. Another indication of the surge’s success according to Maj. Gen. Perkins was the decrease in high profile attacks which are attributed partly to the tightening of the borders and the inability of Al Qaeda to bring in foreign fighters.

He indicated that there are still challenges in Iraq especially as it pertains to the economy and politics. The U.S. and coalition partners are working with various International Government Organizations to assist Iraq in setting up the political and economic structure required to be a successful government. Provincial elections have been held and 2009 is critical as more elections, including national elections, are scheduled. And these elections will be completely controlled by Iraqis with support of the U.S. The challenge of a fledgling economy with no real structure and a one-commodity economy with the volatility of oil prices compounds the problems of planning and budgeting.

He also made it clear that Iraq is now a sovereign country after the signing of the security agreement in January 2009. The U.S. may no longer conduct unilateral operations and any action will require approval of the Iraqi government.

At the conclusion of Maj. Gen. Perkins’ statements, the students were given an opportunity to ask questions and the questions concerned Iraq logistics capabilities, the relationship between the Kurdish regional and Iraq government, the roles of the Military Transition Teams, and Advise and Assist Brigades.

This VTC provided a lot of information with regards to what has and is currently happening in Iraq, and the way ahead with regards to what these Officers can expect if their future duties bring them back to Iraq.
By LCDR Francisco Santos
Staff Group 6A
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Last Reviewed: April 22, 2009

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