ARLINGTON, Va. — NATO’s eight-day “pilot program” to train senior Iraqi security officials in Norway is under way and the alliance has already carved out space on its calendar for more, according to British Army Major-General James Short.

Short, acting commander of NATO’s Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway, told reporters Thursday that while NATO officials are waiting for Iraqi officials to request another class, “there is a slot on the calendar next spring” at the center should such a request be rendered.

The make-up of any future classes is not known, Short said.

“This is a pilot course, and we are very much feeling our way,” Short said.

The so-called Iraqi Key Leader training course, the first time NATO has participated in training Iraqis outside Iraq, is focusing on “civilian and military relationships and how the various parties can work together to solve problems,” Short said.

Classes began Nov. 1 and have proved a success, Short said, with the Iraqis “very keen to learn and ask[ing] very interesting and challenging questions.”

But security in Iraq is so tenuous that one participant declined to offer his name and even whether he was civilian or military.

“We want to go back home and serve our country, not go back home and get killed … or kidnapped,” the official said through a translator.

The Iraqi official said one of the biggest obstacles to calming the security situation “is a lack of coordination between senior officials all over Iraq.

“A lot of wrong decisions were made from various sides,” the official said.

As a result, improvements in security “are slow and getting slower,” the Iraqi official said. “People are starting to lose confidence in the process.”

At the same time, the official said, “we have confidence in Prime Minister [Ayad Allawi] and the interim government … . We hope that if we establish the security forces on the right basis, we will be able” to get security under control.

The eight days of classes, Short said, include a series of lectures, along with exercises in problem solving and a final exercise that combines all of the lessons learned.

Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter, a Pentagon spokesman compared the course to a senior-level U.S. military course such as Capstone, which is a short class offered to new general officers right after they pin on their first star, teaching them the fine points of working with other government agencies and even the media.

NATO’s training inside Iraq now includes 60 officers and noncommissioned officers from 10 NATO countries, according to a fact sheet issued by the alliance.

NATO continues to refuse to conduct combat operations in Iraq, however.

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