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U.S. Air Force role transitions to Operation New Dawn

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- For more than seven years, Airmen have served alongside Soliders, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen as they performed traditional and non-traditional roles supporting combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sept. 1 marks a United States military historic milestone as it makes the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn. This transition signifies a formal end to U.S. military combat operations and reaffirms the U.S. military's commitment to the Iraqi Security Forces and the government and people of Iraq.

The approximately 6,000 Airmen who remain in Iraq will continue supporting the U.S. Forces Iraq mission as they transition from combat to stability operations. These Arimen will carry on their missions to deliver precise and timely airpower through Inetlligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, cargo and passenger airlift, Combat Air Support as well as training and mentoring and some specialized missions supported by Joint Expeditionary Tasked Airmen and Individual Augmentees.

Operation New Dawn consist of three primary missions for U.S. Forces: advising, assisting, and training the Iraqi Security Forces; conducting partnered counterterrorism operations; and providing support to Provincial Reconstruction Teams and our civilian partners as they help build Iraq's civil capacity.

As part of Operation New Dawn, and the Strategic Framework Agreement, the U.S. is turning over airspace control from 15,000 to 24,000 feet in the northern sector of Iraq known as the Kirkuk sector. Iraq delegated control of the airspace to the U.S. Air Force to manage on behalf of the Government of Iraq following the signing of the January 2009 Security Framework Agreement. The 2008 Strategic Plan for Transition and Development of Iraq's Air Navigation System signed by the Iraq Civil Aviation Authority, U.S. Embassy, Iraqi Air Force, the Multi National Forces-Iraq, and the Combined Forces Air Component Commander spells out an incremental plan to hand over control of the airspace. The plan directs all civilian radar air traffic control to consolidate at the Baghdad Area Control Center (BACC) with airspace to be handed over as the Iraqi air and navigation infrastructure improves.

Operation New Dawn also shifts U.S. Government emphasis from predominantly military to predominately civilian as the U.S. assists Iraq in accordance with the Strategic Framework Agreement.

The transition from combat to stability operations began almost two years ago and was made possible by the increased capability of Iraqi Security Forces. As the ISF improved their ability to combat terrorists and provide security for the Iraqi people, the U.S. military gradually moved into a supporting role and started conducting stability operations.
This transition represents a change in the nature of U.S. commitment to the government and people of Iraq, but not a change in the level of commitment. The U.S. will continue to strengthen its enduring strategic partnership with Iraq.