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Army October 13, 2011
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'OUR FOCUS was ensuring the
private security contractors
had an understanding of what
was required to support the
Australian Embassy in Baghdad," is how
Maj Nathan Pierpoint, 1MP Bn, described
the last Secdet in Iraq.
"The contractors needed to know who to
talk to and what process to go through so they
could support the embassy in a similar fashion
to Secdet," he said.
Maj Pierpoint was the OC Secdet 18 and
with his 17-member team provided security
advice, mentoring, logistics and liaison sup-
port and removed the signs of ADF influence
and support to the Australian Embassy.
This was in conjunction with performing
operations with the contractors, which was
unique, as the civilians were from different
nations with varied security or special forces
Secdet 18 spent four months in Iraq before
handing over the remaining key functions of
close protection, intelligence and logistics at
the Australian Embassy to civilian security
Maj Pierpoint said the threat in Iraq had
changed a lot in the past couple of years.
"Previously there was a lot of insurgent
activity and I think the trend today is mainly
criminal activities focused on robbery, with
smaller IED attacks and small arms fire in
attempts to disrupt the local government, and
in particular the indigenous security forces,"
"Similar to Afghanistan, Iraq goes through
a fighting season in the summer months with
an upsurge in attacks. Indirect fire (IDF) was
almost a daily occurrence for us with attacks
on the international zone.
"The Iraqi Army, police or high-ranking
officials were common targets for assassina-
tions, with the focus being on destabilising the
"IED attacks were also prevalent and were
mainly magnetically attached IEDs to a car or
Before travelling to a location with the
Ambassador, the team would have members
on the ground for 24-to-48 hours beforehand.
Maj Pierpoint said they then made an
assessment on how dangerous the area was.
"I usually spoke to the Ambassador on a
daily basis, with my closest contact in the
embassy being the regional security adviser --
the position which was developed to support
most high-threat embassies, Iraq being one of
them," Maj Pierpoint said.
"We discussed security issues, other devel-
opments, what he needed to do when we
left, so he had a good picture of the threat
and security situations and what actions to
take if there was an incident or a location
the Ambassador or embassy staff needed to
"We did not suffer a direct attack on the
embassy or our soldiers."
The members of Secdet 18 constantly saw
rockets and mortars fly overhead as the most
regular point of origin was across the Tigris
River from the Australian Embassy.
al mission for MPs from Secdet XVIII in Iraq was to
nd of era
On target: Secdet 18 personnel undertake some target practise in Iraq.
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