The Iraqi School of Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer II (SINCOII) has achieved a vital operational milestone by becoming the first military training establishment to reach full independent operating capability under the coalition's Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

SINCOII has been under the Australian and New Zealand train-advise-assist mission since 2015.

Commander of Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East, Rear Admiral Mark Hill, said Iraqi instructors would now assume responsibility for all training, while a reduced Australian and New Zealand contingent would provide mentoring, institutional advice and guidance.

“By playing their part in achieving this significant milestone, the Australian and New Zealand defence forces have again proved the effectiveness of our Build Partner Capacity Mission in Iraq,” Rear Admiral Hill said.

“I congratulate our friends and colleagues in the Iraqi Security Forces on this achievement, which will help prevent the re-establishment of Daesh in their country.”

Iraqi instructors from SINCOII have transitioned from learning instruction techniques to delivering lessons independently.

Australian Commander of Task Group Taji, Colonel Mick Bassingthwaighte, said the Iraqis had proven they are capable of delivering training to a high standard.

“SINCO II’s staff and instructors, through their dedication, skill and drive, have been key to the school becoming the first building partner capacity site to achieve this significant milestone,” Colonel Bassingthwaighte said.

“This has all been done while still preparing Iraqi brigades for continuing operations against remnants of the terrorist group Daesh.”

Iraqi Commander of SINCOII, Colonel Shehab Nasser, thanked the Australian and New Zealand contingent for its partnership in helping the school reach a self-sustainable training structure.

“The teaching SINCOII provides to Iraqi soldiers is very important in developing their military skills and battlefield effectiveness,” Colonel Shehab said.

“Thanks to Australia and New Zealand, we are now equipped to take over full responsibility for providing this training to Iraqi Army brigades.”

Task Group Taji has helped train more than 46,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces and law enforcement agency personnel since 2015.