Troops deploy to Iraq
About 300 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, primarily drawn from the Australian Army’s Brisbane-based 7th Brigade, will form a combined Task Group Taji alongside around 100 personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) as part of the international effort to combat the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist threat in Iraq.
Task Group Taji, will deploy under Operation OKRA with a training team as well as command, force protection and support elements.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said the Task Group began preparing for the BPC mission in March, following government approval.
"Our Australian personnel have worked closely with their New Zealand counterparts to form Task Group Taji.
"Together they have undertaken an extensive pre-deployment training schedule culminating in an intensive mission rehearsal exercise in southern Queensland."
Task Group Taji will train Iraqi Army personnel from the individual soldier through to the brigade level. This training will increase the Iraqi Army's capability and its ability to coordinate operations and fire support as well as improving logistic and intelligence functions.
"Although Australian personnel will deploy to the BPC mission in a non-combat role, Iraq remains a complex and dangerous environment and their pre-deployment training focused on replicating the challenging conditions the Task Group may face in Iraq.
"Task Group Taji is well prepared and ready to deploy," Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
The BPC mission will contribute to a broader international effort. Australia and New Zealand will join other nations who have already made commitments to train Iraqi forces, including Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.