Patrolling the Gulf

807 Words4 Pages
Old photos of sheiks in Mirages and F-16s adorn the marble hallways of the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel, the venue for the Gulf C4ISR conference. At the military’s General Headquarters in downtown Abu Dhabi, a newer trend is playing out.

The U.A.E. is attempting to knit its fractious military networks into a seamless, modern network so the country’s commanders can apply its warplanes and troops faster and more effectively.

Much of the military terminology and doctrine behind this effort would be familiar to military intelligence experts in NATO, the U.K. and the U.S., some of whom have advised U.A.E.

The U.A.E’s joint forces commander runs a 24/7 Joint Operation Centre where staff from all elements of the U.A.E. armed forces monitor defense readings from aircraft, ships and radars. The system is not as powerful as the U.A.E. wants it to be, however.

The country’s military network, which it calls Al Sheryan, has “limited” capabilities, according to retired U.A.E. Air Force Gen. Khalid Abdullah Al Bu-Ainnain, who addressed the topic in a presentation, and in paper released at the conference, “A Vision for Transforming UAE Armed Forces into Network Centric Operations.”

Al Bu-Ainnain is the country’s strongest advocate for creation of U.S.-style “National Global Information Grid” incorporating Al Sheryan and wireless satellite communications.

His views have weight in the U.A.E. because of his experience in the military, and his current role as president of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), a think tank with offices in the U.A.E. and Lebanon.

“To achieve more accurate and timely ISR information, the UAE Armed Force’s planning, tasking, and execution process must also be improved,” he writ...

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...ile adversaries “are still planning and organizing” an attack.

He does not define what kind of preemptive actions U.A.E. might take.

Although U.A.E. officials did not discuss it publicly, several attendees said Iran’s missile and nuclear work is a major driver behind the U.A.E’s effort to improve its air defenses and command and control systems.

Almost as if on cue, shortly before the conference, the U.S. announced steps that would be taken with allies in the Gulf region, reportedly including U.A.E., to shore up anti-missiles defenses as a counter to Iran.

Speaking at Georgetown University and then at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, Army Gen. David Petraeus of Central Command said U.S. Patriot missile batteries had been set up in four countries in the region, and that Aegis anti-missile ships would patrol the Persian Gulf “at all times now.”
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