Fort Polk deployment update from Iraq
Over the weekend, News Channel 5's Lydia Magallanes caught up with Colonel Brian Sullivan, commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Col. Sullivan, who is in Iraq, gave the following update on the brigade's deployment so far.
"Things are going well. We are currently arrayed pretty much all over the north, central and west Iraq. We are working with our Iraqi partners to maintain pressure on ISIS. Even though the physical caliphate has been broken and ISIS has been militarily defeated they still pose a real threat to the enduring stability of Iraq. They are focused on disrupting the stabilization effort. The government of Iraq has significant work to do to clear just a massive amount of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that litter the country. They're also busy trying to restore water, health, electricity to all the people that have been displaced by the conflict...isis is trying to disrupt those efforts. Mosul for the most part, particularly in the west has been completely destroyed. It will take up to 100 billion dollars to reconstruct Iraq and ISIS likewise is trying to disrupt those efforts. And as Iraq approaches its national elections in may ISIS is going to do everything it can to discredit the credibility of the government of Iraq."
On how involved the various battalions in 3-10 are in maintaining pressure on ISIS:
"They're right there with the Iraqis and we're strategically located across the country...helping them find ISIS as ISIS cells are trying to reorganize...and throughout we're providing the training and logistic support that they need...so that going forward they can stand on their own and counter these internal threats and maintain enduring stability for their country."
On advising Iraqi partners:
"They have a pretty good human intelligence network but they need our help with kind of the broader intelligence enterprise. So we're helping them with intel, we're advising them...how to execute operations and likewise, we're providing advice on how to train and professionalize their army and their security forces."
On the brigade's movement in Iraq:
"We continue to shift based on the needs of the Iraqis. Right now we are pretty much arrayed in the population centers in the north, center, and west and partnered with the Iraqis where they most need us to help them counter the ISIS threat and assist them in the stabilization effort."
On being involved in maintaining a presence in Al-Qa'im, an Iraqi town near the Syrian border:
"Not only Al-Qa'im but the entire western portion of Iraq. We pay close attention to what is occurring on the other side of the border. We try to assess what is happening on the other side of the border and how that will impact the Iraqis...options so that they can interdict or disrupt ISIS as they're moving across the border into the western parts of Iraq."