Mobile Education Team to the United Arab Emirates

Article excerpt

A DISAM Mobile Education Team (MET) led by Deputy Commandant Dr. Craig Brandt conducted DISAM's Foreign Purchaser Planning and Resource Management Course (SAM-FMET) (1) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), 20 April-5 May 2005. Greg Sutton, Director of Research and editor of The DISAM Journal, and instructor Bob Van Horn rounded out the MET.

As with all METs, the genesis of this mission was a call-up message from the U.S. Security Assistance Organization (SAO) in country (2), in this case the United States Liaison Office (USLO) in the American embassy in Abu Dhabi. DISAM and USLO worked together for several months on a variety of issues, such as adapting the SAM-F-MET curriculum to specific UAE needs, identifying special support requirements, and shipping teaching materials. This detailed and collegial coordination effort proved essential to the success of the MET. By mid-April the MET was ready to deploy.

Because of commitments elsewhere and the MET teaching schedule, team members did Not travel to Abu Dhabi together, but rather filtered in and out over a period of days, the first arriving in UAE on 20 Apr 2005 and the last departing on 5 May 2005. With USLO's assistance, MET members set up the teaching venue on 21-22 April 2005 and then taught the course 23 April through 4 May 2005. Team members also visited USLO and the UAE General Headquarters (GHQ) to discuss security assistance issues, especially training management. Additionally, Dr. Brandt conducted a short seminar on security assistance management with twenty senior Emiri officers (one flag officer, with the remainder senior field grades).

The MET teaching venue was the magnificent UAE Armed Forces Officers Club on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. This beautiful structure, with its marble floors and walls, lovely furnishings, superb athletic facilities, museum, and indoor waterfalls, is by far the finest officers club any of the MET members has seen anywhere in the world. More to the point, the classroom allocated for the MET was a well-equipped and comfortable learning environment. UAE GHQ and the officers club staff provided outstanding computer, projector, and other equipment and technical support.

The twenty-nine students who attended the course included representatives of all services of the UAE armed forces as well as one civilian who works at the UAE Ministry of Defence. Active student participation in class led to many frank and open discussions about U.S. foreign military sales (FMS) policies and procedures. MET members enjoyed these exchanges and it appeared that the Emirati participants found them useful as well.

In addition to the material covered in class, UAE GHQ staff were especially interested in FMS training management issues, particularly the international versions of the Security Assistance Network (I-SAN) and the Training Management System (I-TMS). MET members visited with training managers in their offices at GHQ (another beautiful structure! …