SALAM AL-RUBAY’I AND HAYDAR JASIM/Iraqi Ministry of Defense
The Military Communications Unit is considered the heartbeat of the Iraqi Armed Forces and its units. It is the unit responsible for sharing information, instructions and orders. Without communications, there will be no effective leadership and control. Discussing the communications unit means discussing ever-changing science and technology. Communication is as important as armament during combat. In fact, communication is the battle of obtaining information and delivering it to leaders and commanders to begin a new phase of battle. Due to the importance of this vital and effective unit, Khaymat al-Iraq magazine went to the headquarters and formations of the Directorate of Military Communications and conducted an open discussion with Director of Military Communications Staff Maj. Gen. Mahdi Yasir Zubaydi to know more about the work of this unit.
Q: Major General, would you brief us on the establishment of this unit?
A: The Directorate of Military Communications is considered one of the most effective directorates in the Ministry of Defense. The Communications Unit is one of the major units in battles with regard to the Iraqi Army. The establishment of this unit goes back to the 1920s, after the formation of the Imam Musa al-Kazim Regiment (May God be pleased with him). Since then, military communications have continued to progress and develop. The unit ensures that communication and command and control orders are delivered to military divisions. The unit went through many phases; it played an effective role in the battles that have been fought by the Iraqi Army whether inside or outside Iraq. There would not have been leadership and control had it not been for the communications unit. After 2003, the Iraqi Army dismantled much of the infrastructure, and this unit was damaged and completely destroyed. As the Directorate of Military Communications, we worked on reviving it. We depended on modern and highly sophisticated systems because we live in the era of advanced communications that have turned the world into a small village. This requires preparing scientific competencies to support this unit and enable it to keep pace with this development.
Q: Since you assumed responsibility as the director of Military Communications, what have you done for this unit?
A: I assumed responsibility of this unit a year and a half ago. We made a quantum leap in the field of military communications. We depended on highly sophisticated wired and wireless systems of high level military standards that make it difficult for the enemy to intercept. We started this plan so that our military divisions maintain the momentum of battle through rapid information sharing.
Q: What are the formations and sections of the Military Communications Directorate?
A: The directorate has headquarters and major units as well as specialized sections. The Military Communications School is located here, in al-Taji, the location where we are now. This school prepares and develops cadres from Iraqi Army elements, officers and other ranks, and trains them on the use of modern systems being introduced in the battle. We have a workshop to repair communications equipment. It includes a number of competent engineers and is responsible for maintaining communications equipment. The headquarters has a communications warehouse that contains all the necessary equipment. We independently established the maintenance center and companies we contract with furnished it for free with the latest equipment. By taking this step, we saved the state large amounts of money because we depend on the center to maintain and repair equipment and communications systems that may be damaged or out of order from use.
Q: Major General, you are telling us about the Military Communications System, but why don’t some Iraqi Army elements utilize it and depend
A: Cellphones can be subject to interception and information theft. These phones are not used anymore on the battlefield; information is shared now through the Military Communications Network. This is documented with the Directorate of Military Communications.
Q: The development that the communications system is undergoing is limited only to ground forces. Why?
A: This is not accurate. The Air Force operates through sensors and satellites. Information is shared between the command centers and the pilots and the divisions on the ground. We developed audio and video communication between the headquarters operations and the field commands. A model was presented to the media during the unit’s celebration day. Highly sophisticated military communication systems have been contracted and will be introduced to the service soon. Our goal is to provide developed and secure communication for the Iraqi Army divisions wherever they exist. This will allow communication and sharing information between the leaders and commanders according to the most up-to-date methods in the field of communications.