BAGHDAD, Oct. 26, 2010 — Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III arrived here today for meetings with American officials.
The deputy secretary met privately with Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, and then received a briefing on the “advise and assist” mission in the country.
Some 50,000 American servicemembers are in Iraq, and almost all are involved in training Iraqi security forces. Iraqi forces have taken control of security in the country. American forces are in an advisory capacity for almost all operations.
U.S. airmen are working with the Iraqis to develop the air force, and U.S. sailors are working in southern Iraq to train a riverine force and a coast guard to protect the oil terminals and seaward approaches to the country.
Iraqi politicians still have not formed a government following elections in March, but U.S. officials here said this has not affected the training mission. In fact, an official said, Iraqi military and police leaders are redoubling their efforts to get the needed training in advance of the December 2011 American withdrawal in accordance with an agreement between the two countries.
Lynn will meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James F. Jeffrey and with an American advise and assist brigade.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)