A US Air Force Central team have arrived in Iraq to ascertain how Iraq will maintain sovereignty of its airspace after US forces withdraw from the nation on 31 December 2011.

ITAM-Air Force deputy advisor to the Iraqi air staff for planning Lt. Col. Daniel E Rauch said the goal is to make sure Iraq maintains sovereignty by bridging the gap after US forces leave.

“The accelerated schedule of the security agreement creates a period of time when Iraq does not possess the foundational capability to ensure air sovereignty or defend against the perceived threat,” Rauch said.

The team will therefore determine how to best bridge the gap between US Air Force’s departure and Iraq achieving the organic capability and capacity to monitor, control and defend its airspace.