Anti-ISIS coalition — saying Iraqi security forces now effective — reducing personnel, shifting mission focus

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U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq are adjusting their operating model as Iraqi security forces step up their fight against ISIS.

A ceremony on Thursday marked Task Force Iraq’s transition to the Military Advisor Group, according to an Operation Inherent Resolve media release.

Task Force Iraq, a one-star subordinate command of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, works by, with, and through Iraqi forces to hunt down remnants of ISIS in Iraq. The transition will see its personnel numbers reduced and its structure reorganized.

In its new capacity, members of Task Force Iraq and advisors from 13 coalition nations will mentor Iraqi security force directorates with a focus on high-level advising.

The MAG will provide directorates with operational planning support, intelligence fusion, air support, and specialized planning assistance for a variety of military functions through the use of a planned Joint Operational Command Advisor Team and two Operational Command Advisor Teams

While the MAG will be smaller than Task Force Iraq, it will retain “expert specialized capabilities to advise Iraqi security staff and leaders,” the press release stated.

Led by Marine Brig. Gen. Ryan Rideout, the MAG will have one central location in Baghdad from which coalition forces will be able to provide support to the same provinces as it did before.

The centralized command will have Iraqi security force representatives from several provinces where ISIS is now a low-level insurgency that can be handled by security force members.

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“It’s an honor, and quite frankly very humbling, to be a part of this mission,” Rideout said at the ceremony.

Marine Brig. Gen. Bill Seely (right) passes the “swagger stick” to Marine Brig. Gen. Ryan Rideout to signify Task Force Iraq’s transition into the Military Advisor Group. (Photo by Sgt. Temos Wooten)

This transition comes as a recognition of Iraqi security forces’ success in the fight against ISIS. Iraqi security forces have already conducted more than 1,200 independent operations this year against ISIS, and coalition forces transferred control of compounds on six Iraqi bases to full Iraqi control earlier in the year.

More than 1,200 U.S. and Coalition troops have been able to depart from Iraq since the beginning of the year.

“The leadership of the MAG and JOC-I (Joint Operations Command for Iraq) going forward will truly change the country of Iraq. It is truly one team working toward a common goal,” said Marine Brig. Gen. Bill Seely, the departing commander of Task Force Iraq.

Coalition forces in Iraq have previously trained nearly 250,000 members of Iraqi security forces.

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