Leadership: June 29, 2003


When the 3rd Infantry division landed in Kuwait before the Iraq campaign, they underwent weeks of intensive training. In particular, there was a need for training in street fighting ("urban warfare" in milspeak). An urban warfare training area (a bunch of rapidly constructed building that could be shot up) was built. But the training was not supervised, as training usually is, by the officers and NCOs of the division. Civilian specialists were called in to supervise. Civilians? Yes, retired NCOs and officers were provided by MPRI, an private company that, since the 1980s, has hired retired military personnel to provide military training for nations the United States wants to provide those services for, but does not want to send American troops to do it. Aside from avoiding unwanted diplomatic and media attention, MPRI has the advantage of hiring the most experienced and effective retired military personnel for training contracts. Many of these trainers served for years in the Special Forces, or otherwise established a track record as very effective trainers over a long period of time. Most of the MPRI trainers are recent retirees, thus they are in their late 30s or early 40s and in good physical shape. Because of their military experience, they worked well with the NCOs and officers of the units they were training.


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