SOUTHWEST ASIA — Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the military organization to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, conducted a change of command ceremony in Baghdad Sept. 9.
Lt. Gen. Paul Calvert assumed command from Lt. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, as the command’s colors were passed by the U.S. Central Command commander.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commanding general, CENTCOM, presided over the event. He spoke of his confidence in the new leadership team to continue the mission to support partner forces in their fight for the enduring defeat of Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
“I am confident (Calvert) will continue to build on the progress the coalition has made, and as we move forward he will remain committed to our mutual goals of the enduring defeat of ISIS, and the long-term security, stability and prosperity of Iraq,” McKenzie said.
White’s tenure was a year of significant progress and change for the CJTF. As a result of partner force success, the coalition transferred sites inside of eight Iraqi bases to full government of Iraq control. The ISF now have full responsibility for the facilities and programs at these locations, and use them to conduct training and daily operations against ISIS. CJTF-OIR support in Iraq is now centralized, as coalition advisor teams in Baghdad and Erbil provide specialized planning mentorship to ISF directorates overseeing operations, logistics, intelligence and other military functions. All elements will assist the ISF with operational planning, intelligence fusion, and air support for Iraqi-led military operations to defeat the Daesh threat in Iraq.
In Syria, the coalition continues to support the Syrian Democratic Forces with advice, specialized intelligence sharing and air support, specifically, for anti-ISIS operations. The SDF and coalition continue to protect critical infrastructure to deny Daesh access to oil finances.
Coalition special operations forces continue to enable partner force anti-terrorism commandos in Iraqi and Syria.
The outgoing commanding general reflected on his time in command of CJTF-OIR.
“Service as the commander of CJTF-OIR will remain my greatest honor and privilege,” White said.
Calvert shared his vision of the future for the military coalition.
“I look forward to working with a team of teams comprised of coalition, CENTCOM, embassy, Iraqi and SDF partners,” he said. “In conjunction with our exceptional partners, our coalition team has a clear mission of ensuring the enduring defeat of Daesh. While transitions and change are inevitable, we must anticipate and exploit opportunities with energy and boldness and be imbued with the idea that success will depend on our initiative and action.”
As CJTF-OIR partners’ capabilities continue to grow, CJTF-OIR will focus on the areas of military capability that will take longer for its security partners to develop. These capabilities will be oriented toward dismantling Daesh leadership, finances and global network.
The coalition will be based in fewer locations with fewer people, but with a remaining and enduring commitment to supporting its partners in their fight against Daesh. These adjustments are consistent with its dialogue and continued partnership with the government of Iraq, coalition nations and NATO Mission Iraq.
White and a cohort of staff will return to Fort Hood, where he continues duties leading the U.S. Army’s III Corps.