Two weeks ago U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Saudi Arabia for bilateral talks with King Abdullah and other leaders in the Kingdom. She also participated in the inaugural US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum while in Riyadh. Among the short list of topics on Clinton’s agenda for discussion at the forum, during a time of high anxiety over issues like Iran and Syria, was the preparedness of America’s Gulf allies in the area of missile defense. As tensions in the Gulf over Tehran’s nuclear program reach new heights the United States and its Gulf partners are more mindful than ever of the ballistic missile threat posed by Iran.
A State Department official briefing the press enroute to Saudi Arabia identified missile defense among the key topics for discussion, “We’re working with each of our partners to develop that architecture because in order to protect the Gulf, no one nation can protect itself. It needs to rely on its partners in order to have an effective missile defense system.” A second briefer noted, “it’s something.. ..appropriate for the GCC as a regional organization. Since missile defense requires a regional approach, it’s an appropriate topic to be discussed and addressed.”
The issue’s importance was underscored by a meeting between Saudi defense minister Prince Salman and the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency during his recent Washington visit where he also met with President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta. Following the US-GCC meeting in Riyadh Clinton responded to a question on missile defense during a press briefing on March 31, 2012 alongside Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal:
“We believe strongly that, in addition to our bilateral military cooperation between the United States and every member nation of the GCC, we can do even more to defend the Gulf through cooperation on ballistic missile defense. We began that conversation in this forum today. Admiral Fox, the commander of the Fifth Fleet, made a presentation outlining some of the challenges that we face when it comes to ballistic missile defense. But we are committed to defending the Gulf nations and we want it to be as effective as possible.. ..So we want to begin expert discussions with our friends about what we can do to enhance ballistic missile defense. There are some aspects of a ballistic missile defense system that are already available, some of which have already been deployed in the Gulf. But it’s the cooperation – it’s what they call interoperability that we now need to really roll up our sleeves and get to work on.”
Gulf leaders’ focus remains on this important component of regional defense and was highlighted by the convening of a two-day symposium on missile defense in Abu Dhabi hosted by the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA). Among the high level speakers was GCC Secretary General Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani who told the audience, “Building a comprehensive plan for a missile defense shield is an important strategy for protecting all our countries. Cooperation is practical. It sends a strong message to our allies and enemies.” The symposium was the third in a series titled, “Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium,” or MEMAD and included Gulf and Western officials and military officers as participants. INEGMA CEO Riad Kahwaji provided the symposium opening remarks:
“Missile and Air defense are essential capabilities that ought to be on the top of priority list of all modern armies. It is no secret that if there were to be any future military confrontation in the region, ballistic and cruise missiles would be the number one threat to Arab Gulf States. The ability of these missiles to carry non-conventional warheads elevates the threat level to an existential and strategic one.”
Today we are pleased to provide a report from the “MEMAD” symposium in Abu Dhabi provided to SUSRIS by our friends at INEGMA for your consideration. We also suggest you review the comprehensive collection of analyses completed by Dr. Anthony Cordesman, and his colleagues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. You can find links to many of these materials at the conclusion of the SUSRIS report, “U.S. Competition with Iran – The Gulf States,” and through the www.CSIS.org web site.
Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium – MEMAD
Under the Patronage of the UAE Armed Forces GHQ and with the full support of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense
Abu Dhabi: April 11, 2012
Under the patronage of the UAE Armed Forces GHQ and with the full support of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense, the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) organized the third edition of the Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium – MEMAD, a two-day event held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The first day was attended by His Excellency Dr. Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States, Vice Admiral Mark Fox, Commander of the fifth Fleet, NAVCENT, United States of America, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, Commander of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Major General (Ret) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu Ainnain, Former Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense and President of INEGMA, Major General Mohammed Bin Swaidan Saeed Al Gamzi, Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense and Staff Brigadier General Majed Al Nuaimi, in addition to international senior high-level government officials from the UAE, the Gulf and abroad as well as high level military officials, key partners from north America and Western Europe, decision makers to discuss and share the critical challenges of emergent missile threats by examining state-of-the-art missile defense systems against the full spectrum of air and missile threats.
Riad Kahwaji, INEGMA CEO, opened the conference by welcoming the audience to third MEMAD conference. He thanked the UAE Armed Forces, especially the UAE Air Force and Air Defense Command for their outstanding limitless support for MEMAD 2012, as he also thanked the UAE Armed Forces’ Joint Chief of Staff for their patronage of the event. Kahwaji stated: “Missile and Air defense are essential capabilities that ought to be on the top of priority list of all modern armies. It is no secret that if there were to be any future military confrontation in the region, ballistic and cruise missiles would be the number one threat to Arab Gulf States. The ability of these missiles to carry non-conventional warheads elevates the threat level to an existential and strategic one.” He added: “In line with its mission statement, INEGMA has chosen missile defense as a main topic for its chain of defense conferences out of its appreciation to the importance of this subject to regional militaries of the Middle East, especially the Gulf Cooperation Council.” At the end, Kahwaji thanked all MEMAD sponsors mainly the platinum sponsors, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, in addition to all media partners.
Staff Brigadier General Majed Al Nuaimi from the UAE Air Force, gave the welcome speech. He stated that “the missile threat to the GCC is a growing threat and at a high volume.” As evidence, Brigadier General Al Nuaimi argued that: “A fully integrated C4ISR system would bring together all assets. As such the U.S.-UAE cooperation and regional cooperation is a key to future integration.”
His Excellency Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab states in the Gulf delivered the first keynote speech explaining “The GCC vision for a regional missile defense shield”. H.E. stated: ‘We know very well the complete strengths and weaknesses facing us. We are in a position of strength to implement solutions for stability in the Middle East.”
H.E. stated: “One of the top GCC priorities is to establish economic security. We need to establish economic growth, more chances of jobs, education and health care, and keep a secure environment for growth. We don’t have enough jobs for our young men. Threats to Gulf and the region are more complex than ever.” H.E. spoke multiple times about sophistication of threats including biological and nuclear terrorism, cybercrime and financial crime all separate from ballistic missile threats and missile defense systems. GCC needs robust defense networks and comprehensive solutions that are practical and not theoretical. H.E. argued: “In war time the most important thing is a civil defense system. Our success will depend on the strength of our defenses. We hope all Gulf countries will be ready to cooperate to solve international and regional problems”. H.E. continued: “Building a comprehensive plan for a missile defense shield is an important strategy for protecting all our countries. Cooperation is practical. It sends a strong message to our allies and enemies. What about our ability to defend against a chemical or biological attack. We should be asking the question: are our air defenses suitable? We have to work more and more especially if we need to build confidence to defend against threats and enemies. We need to develop an integrated missile defense shield. We are asking our allies to help us individually and collectively. The shield (as a solution) should be flexible and comprehensive. It should be a workable solution and not theoretical.”
The second keynote speech was given by Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, Commander of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Lieutenant General O’Reilly stated: “The threat from short and medium range missiles is the biggest threat and the most president conventional threat today.” He maintained: “The value of the sensor is critical for fire control and this is the very basis for having good missile defense.”
The first session chaired by Mr. Orville Prins, Vice President of the international business development at Lockheed Martin missiles and fire control, featured three speakers. Lieutenant General David Goldfein, Commander, Air Force Central Command in the United States of America delivered a lecture about “The regional integrated air and missile defense – The U.S. role.” He explained that the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center conducts academic Air and Missile Defense seminars and provides a “Battle Lab” that enables realistic training. He added: “In order to execute as an integrated team, we need to build and execute a single Air Tasking Order together as well as establish clear communication to senior leadership for attribution, assessment and action.”
Major General (Ret) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu Ainnain, Former Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense and President of INEGMA, discussed “The GCC challenges in defending against cruise and ballistic missile threats”. He started off his presentation by reviewing ballistic and cruise missile threats to the GCC noting the short time respond period to “takeout” incoming missiles and also the tightening Circular Error of Probability (CEP) as these weapons become more modernized. He stated: “That there are many vital GCC major vital assets must be protected and that there needs to be a wider GCC Defense Agreement to explore deeper missile defense.”
Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, Commander of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency treated “The ballistic missile defense overview”. He asserted that: “ballistic missile proliferation is the growing threat of the current and future. There is growing evidence of anti-ship from 3000 km is a disturbing trend. There is also concern about security of these weapons and the fact that can be stolen.”
The second session chaired by Major General (Ret) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu Ainnain, featured three speakers.
Vice Admiral Mark Fox, Commander of the fifth Fleet, NAVCENT, United States of America, briefed on “The integrated Air and Missile Defense from the sea”. He stated: “There is a need to appreciate the threats posed by Iran and the al-Quds Force.” Admiral Fox added: “The key philosophy that we adopt is ‘Defense in Depth’ that is to use as many components to target and destroy as many incoming assets as well as mobile assets as possible. Only through the Aegis BMD does the U.S. Navy support all of the characteristics of a regional IAMD architecture.”
Brigadier General (Eng) Jean Luc Combrisson, Director for the Middle East and Africa of the French Defense Procurement Agency, examined “The emerging tactical ballistic missile challenges and countermeasures” He stressed that the French Early warning programme and the Aster System represent cost effective solutions and are based on modular, flexible and interoperable architectures. They will also provide autonomous capabilities adapted to today and expected future threat of interest especially in the Gulf area.
Major General Gary Cheek, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Central Command, gave a lecture on “Harnessing command and battle management in which he explained the planning and exercises to develop a common war fighting plan which is then exercised with full participation from all partners. He added: “We can communicate, share and pass targets between systems, organizations and nations.”
MEMAD will resume tomorrow Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8h30 with two plenary sessions and two specialized closed workshops. The first workshop shall treat the layered integrated Air and Missile defense and the second one shall treat the global, regional and theater architecture.
MEMAD sponsors were: Platinum Sponsors: Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Gold sponsor: Rheinmetall and MBDA. Silver sponsors: Boeing, Booz/Allen/Hamilton and Selex.
The first day of the conference ended successfully.
The Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium – MEMAD concludes today
Abu Dhabi: April 12, 2012
The “Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium” MEMAD proceeded its activities for the second day at the Armed Forces Officers Club, Abu Dhabi. The conference was organized by the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis – INEGMA.
Lieutenant General (ret) Paul Mikolashek, Former Inspector General in the U.S. Army and Vice President of Middle East and North Africa Development at Raytheon Network Centric Systems chaired the first session that featured three speakers. Colonel (Eng) Gian Luigi Marinoni, Chief of Space Programs, Missile Defense and C41 at the General Secretariat of Defense in Italy, examined “Extended Mid-Tier Defense”. Colonel Marinoni explained Italy’s participation in the NATO European Missile Defense Program specifically concentrating on IAMD specifically in “Plug and Fight” scenarios as well as sea-based missile defense future capabilities.
Colonel Fabian Ochsner, Chief, Ground-Based Air defense, Air Operations Center in the Swiss Air Force gave a presentation about “Inner tier Air Defense for all Missions – The Swiss solution”, in which he explained the military operations other than war (MOOYW) stating: “MOOTW focus on deterring war, resolving conflict, promoting peace, and supporting civil authorities in response to domestic crisis. MOOTW may involve elements of both combat and noncombat operations in peacetime, conflict and war situations.”
Captain Willian Johnson, U.S. Navy Chief of Staff, U.S. Joint functional component command for integrated missile defense, lectured about “Executing operational synchronization for joint missile defense”. In his presentation, Captain Johnson argued: “Global operations present a number of challenges for the missile defense community, which includes the command and control of operations simultaneously occurring in multiple regions, operational control of capabilities and supported and supporting relationships.” He added: “Allies are a critical component of the global architecture.”
The First plenary session of the conference ended with two specialized closed workshops. The first workshop treated: “Layered Integrated Air & Missile Defense.”
The second workshop treated: “The Global, Regional and Theater Architecture.”
The second session chaired by Dr. Theodore Karasik, Director for Research and Consultancy, INEGMA, featured three speakers. Mr. Mike Bieri, Director of Integration, Program Executive Office,
Missiles and Space at the United States of America briefed about “U.S. Army tactical and air defense missile programs overview”. He described the mission of being a trusted worldwide provider of missile systems broken into various categories based on contingencies. He also argued on how valuable the Patriot system is through extensive modernization programs for now and in the future.
Colonel Ahmed Al Shehhi, Chief of Air Force Strategic Analysis Center in the UAE and Acting Co-Director at the UAE/U.S. integrated air and missile defense center in Abu Dhabi and Colonel Michael Tronolone, Acting Co-Director at the UAE/U.S. Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center in Abu Dhabi, both gave an overview on “The integrated air and missile defense Center – Updates and lessons learned. They explained the objectives of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center, which includes developing long term partners and relationships, utilize bilateral and multilateral academic seminars, symposiums and exercises, and improve partnership capacity and promote regional security and stability. They added: “The regional air and missile threat is real, and therefore, must be taken seriously.”
Finally, Mr. Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for space and defense policy at the United States of America gave a lecture about “The U.S. State department perspective on the phased adaptive approach to missile defense.” Rose argued: “Missile defense plays an important role in the broader U.S. international security strategy, supporting both deterrence and diplomacy. Missile defense assures our allies and partners that the United States has the will and the means to deter and, if necessary, defeat a limited ballistic missile attack against the U.S. homeland, our forward deployed troops, allies, and partners.” He added: “Missile defense also may help constrain regional actors from trying to inhibit or disrupt the U.S. ability to come to the defense or assistance of its allies and partners.”
MEMAD sponsors were as follows: Platinum Sponsors: Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Gold sponsor: Rheinmetall and MBDA. Silver sponsors: Boeing, Booz/Allen/Hamilton and Selex.
The conference concluded with enormous success.
- Briefing on US, Saudi, GCC Meetings – SUSRIS – Mar 31, 2012
- Travels with the Secretary, Press Briefing En Route Riyadh – SUSRISblog – Mar 30, 2012
- Checking the Pulse in the Gulf: A Conversation with Jean-Francois Seznec – Exclusive SUSRIS Interview – Apr 16, 2012
- Reacting to War Drums in the Gulf: A Conversation with James Russell – Exclusive SUSRIS Interview – Mar 28, 2012
- U.S. Competition with Iran – The Gulf States – SUSRIS – Feb 29, 2012
- Understanding the Military Equation in the Gulf – SUSRIS – Feb 26, 2012
- US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum – SUSRIS Special Section
- The Challenge of Iran – 2012 – SUSRIS Special Section
- U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition – Iran and the Gulf Military Balance – Anthony H. Cordesman, Alexander Wilner – CSIS – March 2012