Team Coordinates Iraqi Communications Efforts
A coalition team of
The ICCE team comprises a total of 10 full-time members derived from the government civilian and contractor sectors and from each of the
According to the director of the ICCE, Brig. Gen. Steven J. Spano, USAF, deputy chief of staff for communications and information systems, Multinational Force–Iraq (MNF-I), it is clear that before comprehensive strategies can be adopted, the Iraqi government needs basic services. “Our focus is on building small successes that lead to a broader end-state vision. We are literally talking micro projects, like getting reliable cross-border fiber or microwave connections to provide greater bandwidth, ease the pressure on satellite demands and costs, and provide a means of revenue for the Iraqi government,” Gen. Spano says.
The initiatives are not without challenges, the general allows. For example, since many of the activities that are under way have not been synchronized, getting what he calls the “ground truth” about the policies, services and infrastructure being implemented is not an easy task. Additionally, because a central process for tracking investments does not exist, determining where they are being made is difficult.
One of the first ICCE tasks is to establish relationships with the appropriate organizations so the team can be the authoritative source about policy, services and infrastructure activities. The ICCE will provide the organizations that influence the investment in and management of the country’s communications, programs and resources with a common understanding of objectives and awareness of the state of the infrastructure, policy and service delivery initiatives. “It will take a while to get to that stage, but when we do, we believe many benefits will emerge,” Gen. Spano states.
Goals of the ICCE team include helping to improve the delivery of communication services to the Iraqi public as well as supporting economic development and job creation. Having a team in place also increases the efficiency of teaching technical and managerial techniques to Iraqis, which improves the capabilities of staffs within the Ministry of Communications, the Iraq Telecommunications and Postal Company, and the State Company for Internet Services. Gen. Spano says that the ICCE will collaborate with its Iraqi counterparts throughout the process, which will progressively transition to an Iraqi-led process and structure.
“The key at the grand strategy level is that the [troop] surge is creating space, and the faster this space can be filled by hope and opportunity, the greater the odds that this space won’t be filled by violence and terrorist activities. Building information and communications technology capacity is one of the many key areas that offers great hope and opportunity for the Iraqi people,” Gen. Spano maintains.