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  Issue 12 – October 2003

PEP helps get troops talking in Iraq

On 2 June, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) agreed to support member nation Poland in its leadership of a sector in Iraq under the command of Major General Andrzej Tyszkiewicz; this included intelligence, logistics and communications support.

Poland assumed command of the Multinational Division Central South in Iraq on 3 September as part of the international stabilisation force. In addition to direct NATO support, Poland is being assisted by individual NATO countries and partner nations. The division’s deputy commander is Spanish, and Ukraine is the second largest force contributor. Other allied and partner contributors include Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and the United States.

Naturally, with such a diverse group of contributing nations there is a need for good communications to ensure smooth military operations. This is the kind of environment that PEP was set up to support. For example, PEP-developed English language teaching materials in the National Defence University in Budapest have been used to train some personnel from the 300-strong Hungarian detatchment. Similarly, many of the 87 members of the Jeger (Power) Special Forces detachment from Lithuania have been trained in English by teachers trained through PEP.

The Latvian MOD, honouring a commitment they made on 20 March, has provided 105 personnel for the Polish sector including two officers in the United Military Command, two military policemen and 98 infantry. Principal individuals from this detachment have passed through training with PEP. In addition, Slovakia’s recent history of contributing to missions (especially in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s) is shown once again in the deployment of 85 engineers to the Polish sector. However, unlike before, when language training for such people was carried out outside the system of Slovak military ELT, the current group in Iraq is largely the product of Slovakia’s own military ELT structures using teachers trained through PEP.

Several PEP contributing countries have been drawing up plans to train the second rotation of troops in Iraq. The English Language Department in the G. S. Rakovski Defence and Staff College has taken up this challenge by developing English language courses for selected personnel for the second rotation of 490 Bulgarian troops as required by the Bulgarian MOD. Greta Keremidchieva, the Head of Department, said: ‘We are ready to accept any students that the General Staff and MOD needs to send for language preparation as part of their training for overseas deployment. We have experience in reacting quickly to such requests. For example, we were asked by the MOD and General Staff to design similar courses for personnel sent to Bosnia on guard duty in Sarajevo.’

The Director of the College’s Interoperability Department, Captain (N) Svilen Alexandrov, is keen that PEP Bulgaria be part of the team that draws up course outlines and training plans. He said: ‘We need to be able to offer good-quality programmes so that all of our forces abroad can do their jobs the best that they can without having problems with English. At the moment we welcome assistance from PEP.’

PEP projects in contributing countries have also played a part in establishing language interoperability by helping MODs create NATO STANAG 6001 English language testing systems, which are central to guaranteeing language capability of forces serving on peacekeeping operations.

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Hamish McIlwraith
Hamish McIlwraith

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