Lt. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, the commanding general of U.S. Army Central, met with key military leaders of the United Arab Emirates to discuss partnerships, military-to-military cooperation and future training opportunities March 22-24.
Garrett was briefed at the Integrated Air Operation Missile Center on bilateral and multi-lateral exercises conducted through the Air Warfare Center with the UAE and other partner nations in the region.
The Air Warfare Center conducts integrated training operations with a number of countries, to include France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The combined facility is operated by UAE military personnel and airmen from the U.S. Air Force to provide regionally focused air and missile defense training.
"Interoperability is important," said Garrett. "To integrate as a defensive asset is essential to bringing and maintaining regional stability. One of my goals as the USARCENT commander is to assist with building our partner capacity in the region."
Garrett was accompanied on his visits by Brig. Gen. Joseph Rank, the senior defense official of the U.S. Embassy - UAE. During his visit to the embassy, Garrett attended several meetings with embassy officials to include Barbara A. Leaf, the U.S. ambassador to UAE.
"As we continue to work with our partners in UAE, we will create an environment of stability and security," said Garrett. "We continue to assist host nations as they prepare for current and future conflicts."
Following the embassy trip, he spent time with Emirati Maj. Gen. Stephen Toumajan, the commander of the Joint Aviation Command at the UAE command headquarters.
The generals spoke at length about challenges their units face with real-world mission requirements, the logistics of maintaining aircrafts in a deployed environment and the staffing needed to increase partner capacity interaction with UAE forces.
Maj. Gen. Saleh M. Al Ameri, the commander of the UAE land forces, hosted Garrett during the final leg of his visit. Garrett was able to learn more about the UAE's Combat Training Center during a briefing about its capabilities and an interactive tour of the facility.
"When we work at the lowest level with the soldiers of our partner nations, we build trust and increase the capabilities of both parties," said Garrett. "This trust is the key to moving forward. As we continue to integrate the CTC into our combined training plan, we will strengthen the partnerships that we foster."
The CTC boasts one of the most impressive urban operation training areas in the Middle East. It has buildings built to scale with obstacles found in an actual city environment, like a canal, that are aimed at enhancing real-world training, said Albert Bryant Jr., a civilian contractor working with the UAE Land Forces Training Leader Development Team.
"I can see this facility becoming the premier training center of the Gulf Region, if not the Middle East," said Garrett.
During the tour of the facility, UAE soldiers demonstrated their training proficiency during a company-sized urban operation in the training area. Tanks maneuvered around the city as soldiers entered and cleared a simulated enemy force from the city.
Garrett said he was very impressed with the demonstration and thanked the soldiers and company commander on a job well done as he addressed the formation following the exercise.
"These engagements are important because it allows leaders to find a direction and establish agreements for military-to-military training," said Maj. Donald Owens, a USARCENT country desk officer for UAE.
Owens added, that a USARCENT field artillery brigade and patriot missile batteries often partner with UAE soldiers for training. The goal, he said, is to organize more opportunities for combined land forces training, which will increase overall interoperability.