Why US Forces Are Stationed in Kuwait: A Security Overview

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KUWAIT CITY, Oct 3: The US Commander of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at the Ali Al-Salem Air Base Colonel Julie M. Gaulin praised the efforts exerted by the Kuwaiti side to support the air military operations of the coalition forces at the base. In a meeting with a number of representatives of Kuwaiti newspapers during an open media day organized by the base administration recently to highlight the partnership between the US Air Force, Kuwait, and coalition partners from various countries, Colonel Gaulin revealed that the base’s central command includes American, Kuwaiti, Canadian, Italian, British and Danish air forces.

She explained that the mission of the coalition forces at the base is not limited to combat, and the military framework, but includes logistical also. They also provide shipping and transportation services for equipment, machinery, and materials for all its employees. It holds joint meetings on a daily and monthly basis, and periodic air training for forces of all levels to develop their combat capabilities.

Behbehani and Matthies

The international coalition forces at the base are focused on achieving regional stability by enhancing cooperation and permanent investment among the members of the forces at the base and cultivating a comprehensive and innovative culture for organizing work to be better. The priorities of these forces are to protect Kuwait and its partners from any imminent danger. She affirmed that the US Air Force is a good partner for Kuwait.

Media persons pose for a picture with the US Air Force personnel.

Infrastructure
Regarding the infrastructure projects at the base, Colonel Gaulin said, “We have 42 ongoing projects worth USD 35 million, equivalent to KD 10.32 million. The number of projects planned for the next five years is 77 projects worth $135 million. Four projects were completed in agreement with Kuwait’s Ministry of Defense and were delivered to it.

There are some ongoing projects with purely Kuwaiti funding, and some being executed through cooperation between the US Air Force and the US Department of Defense, as well as projects funded by the US Air Force only. We have many daily challenges, but our main concern is always to focus on ensuring that each camp at the base receives the necessary equipment and support in a timely manner to successfully complete its mission.”

Regarding the cooperation with other military air bases inside and outside Kuwait, specifically in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Colonel Gaulin affirmed that all American military bases that include forces of international coalitions in Kuwait and the region operate according to the same rules and mechanism. She highlighted the existence of permanent and ongoing cooperation between Ali Al Salem Air Base and other bases inside and outside Kuwait in terms of training, meetings, and other aspects. Colonel Gaulin revealed that the base, in the coming period, will participate in an international air show in the Emirate of Dubai, as well as in an air force combat display. She explained that the number of Americans working at the base exceeds 1,500. This number is constantly changing due to rotation and transportation movements.

About 20 percent of the workers at the base are women. Colonel Gaulin said, “Every pilot at the base is an important and valued member of ours. We are committed to supporting them throughout their time with us.” She stressed that teamwork based on enhancing cooperation and investing in lasting relationships enhances the development of skills and innovation among all coalition forces working at the base. Colonel Gaulin said, “The United States neither fights alone nor does it carry out deterrence alone. It instead works with allies and partners to achieve common strategic interests.” She highlighted the deep and lasting relationships with allies and partners, which allow for success.

Security
Colonel Gaulin stressed that the American military presence in the region constitutes a force to enhance security and stability, indicating that the dominant air force of the international coalition present at the base supports the responsibility of the US Central Command and ensures its stability. Meanwhile, the Commander of the Southwest Asia-Canadian Mission Camp at the base Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Mattis said the mission is to work with the coalition forces at the base as per the same mechanism and the same rules to reach the highest levels of effective partnership. He expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude to Kuwait for hosting Canadian forces at the base, indicating that the Canadian forces present at the base are trained and ready to carry out many tasks.

Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Mattis stressed the keenness to train its members to perform their duties to the fullest extent until their final destination, in addition to providing support. He explained that all the forces present at the Ali Al-Salem base are partners and work together. One of the tasks that the Canadian camp is proud to accomplish at the base is supervising the infrastructure of the camping and accommodation sites for soldiers from the coalition forces, and working to transform them from temporary to permanent residence sites. Currently, the number of members of the Canadian mission at the base is approximately 100.

In addition, the Public Relations Officer at Ali Al-Salem Air Base Heather Bashour highlighted the activities and events that are organized to enhance cooperation and participation between the coalition forces at the base, which are not limited to military and combat training, but rather personal in nature, as well as organizing many cultural activities and sports competitions, and organizing visits to archaeological and cultural sites in Kuwait. They also provide moral support to Kuwaiti institutions such as the House of Abdullah. In her entire speech, she emphasized the great interest that the base administration pays to Kuwaiti culture and to learn about it in order to communicate better with society and individuals, which reflects positively on the tasks performed by the coalition forces at the base.

At the end of their presentation to the Kuwaiti press, the leaders representing the coalition forces at Ali Al Salem Air Base agreed that the number of aircraft at the base could not be accurately counted and determined due to the permanent and continuous changes in the coalition forces’ crews. They concluded by emphasizing that the combat forces in all the operations rooms of the base are alert and prepared for any emergency or natural disaster, and are ready to provide whatever is necessary to confront such a situation.

By Enas Awad
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff

This news has been read 7708 times!

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