US, Kuwait enhance emergency management, security co-operation

By Sultan al-Barei in Riyadh


Kuwaiti Special Forces elements during the 'Al-Watan 1' training exercise held in co-operation with the US Army's Task Force Spartan in Kuwait City. [Photo courtesy of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior]

US forces are continuing efforts to raise the preparedness of their counterparts and civil institutions in the Gulf region by conducting training exercises involving special forces, security forces, firefighters and civil defence personnel.

One of the latest efforts took place between the US Army's Task Force Spartan G9 (Civil Affairs) and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior (MOI).

The "Al-Watan 1" exercise took place in April and May at the MOI Special Forces Training Centre in Kuwait City.

The exercise represents the importance of co-ordination and sharing emergency management tactics and best practices between the US and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, analysts say.


US Army and Kuwaiti Civil Defence elements during training on responding to the threat of a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction. [Photo courtesy of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior]


US and Kuwaiti officers oversee the recent training exercises held in Kuwait dubbed 'Al-Watan 1'. [Photo courtesy of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior]

"The US is not only providing modern and advanced weapons and ammunition to the Gulf states, it is also very intent on establishing a fully integrated security apparatus in each state and, through collective co-operation, to respond to all potential threats," Kuwaiti Army Infantry Lt. Col. (ret.) Nasser Rashed told Al-Mashareq.

The training exercise conducted by US forces in the Gulf region now serves as the primary co-ordination point between all security, military, logistical, and rescue units and branches of the armed forces of the GCC, since all these units act collectively in emergencies, he said.

'Highest level of readiness'

"Security co-operation between the civil services is essential for the assignment of specialised tasks, deployment on the ground, and taking action when an imminent danger or attack is ascertained," Rashed said.

"Due to the fact that the [Gulf] states are geographically and politically intertwined, co-ordination is done through these agencies in all countries of the region in order to enhance the interoperability between these agencies and achieve the desired results," he said.

Rashed said Kuwait's Special Forces Training Centre is "at top readiness levels owing to the continuous efforts made by Task Force Spartan to train members of the security forces in various sectors to respond to terrorist threats... and on how to take action during and after threats involving unconventional weapons, such as biological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction".

The MOI's teams, especially its special forces, are now "equipped with the latest military and logistics technologies, and have the capability to co-ordinate with other Kuwaiti, Gulf and friendly units", he said.

Co-ordination 'essential' for success

"The co-ordination between security forces and special rescue and evacuation forces has become essential and is the top focus of the training exercises and drills," said Mohammed al-Suwaidan, commander of a Kuwaiti MOI Civil Defence unit who requested to use a pseudonym.

Excellent co-ordination is essential due to the need for rapid responses to potential security threats, especially biological and chemical threats, and terrorist attacks, he said.

"This is what was activated in the Al-Watan 1 training exercise held recently under the supervision of Task Force Spartan," al-Suwaidan said.

The exercise focused on emergency management through the main operations room at the MOI, which assigns tasks to all military and security units, civil institutions and the fire brigade, he said.

Participating teams conducted practical training on responding to terrorist threats during which weapons of mass destruction were used.

"Co-ordination pertains not only to that between the various Kuwaiti teams but also friendly forces that could intervene to provide support," al-Suwaidan said.

Co-operation with US forces in this area confirms "the strong ties between the two sides and the US's interest in protecting the security of the Gulf region as a whole, given the shared potential threats," he said.

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