US, Iraqi Army works to improve IA maintenance

Story and photos by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Soldiers from the U.S. Army met with officers in the Iraqi Army to discuss the progress made at the IA maintenance sites, Sept. 30 at Camp Taji, Iraq.

In the last several months the maintenance sites, called medium workshops, transitioned from handwritten work orders and inventory logs to a new computerized database called the Iraqi Army Maintenance Program.

At the meeting, Lt. Col. Brian Coleman, adviser to the IA’s director of electrical and mechanical engineering program and a Fitchburg, Mass., native, presented statistics from each workshops IAMP database and discussed how the system will help the workshops work together to get what they need.

“This partnership is not only between the IA and the U.S. Army, but between the IA themselves,” said Maj. Robert Catlin, program manager for the Logistics Training and Advising Team with the 90th Sustainment Brigade, and a Nashville, Tenn., native.

Each workshop site has a list of parts they need and if they make an accurate inventory and share parts with other sites, they can complete their work orders, said Catlin.

During the meeting, IA members expressed concern that the IAMP inventory numbers were inaccurate.

Coleman said the IA Soldiers need to take a bigger role in using the IAMP, which is currently being used mostly by civilian contractors whose contract is scheduled to end later this year.

“What we want to do is fix it for tomorrow,” said Coleman. “When the contractors leave, it will be the responsibility of the Iraqi Army.

“This is just the first step toward automated management for maintenance,” he said. “The real goal is to make sure the computer information is accurate after the meeting.”

As the IA prepares to take the reins from civilian contractors, their U.S. Army trainers are undergoing an exchange of their own. The LTAT of the 699th Maintenance Company, which trains the IA maintenance units at the Kirkush Military Training Base, is about to transfer authority to the LTAT of the 90th Sust. Bde.

Catlin’s Soldiers will take over the maintenance training of the Iraqi Army, in support of a responsible drawdown of troops from the country this fall, he said.

“When you do a relay, the handoff is the most important part,” said Catlin.

Catlin also said getting the different IA workshops to sit down together and talk was a big step forward.

 “We know we have some cultural disparities,” he said, “but the end result is getting their officers, (noncommissioned officers) and Soldiers to know their job.”

Coleman said they are planning to have these meetings every 90 days to ensure progress is made.

“You can see there has been some improvement,” he said. “It’s only going to get better from here.”


news photo
Lt. Col. Brian Coleman, adviser to the Iraqi Army's director of electrical and mechanical engineering program, takes questions from officers in the IA regarding the Iraqi Army Maintenance Program, an electronic database designed to assist the maintenance workshops with organizing work orders and documenting inventory, Sept. 30 at Camp Taji, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg)