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The overwatch duties will be a significant change in operations for Australian troops, who are currently providing support for Japanese engineers in a relatively secure part of southern Iraq.
Overwatch was "a support program" that involved "providing covering fire to coalition allies in Iraq."
While numbers of troops assigned to overwatch duties are yet to be agreed, those on the new mission are likely to be operating in more hostile environments than their current posting with the Al-Mutthana Task Group.
"Australian troops have done much more than this before," the minister's spokesman said, "but it is a change for the troops that are there at the moment.