Article courtesy of JFC Naples Military Partnership Branch
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait – An Allied Joint Force Command Naples delegation conducted a NATO Expert Staff Meeting in Kuwait City on Nov. 8 to discuss partnership activities with Kuwait.
The delegation, led by Assistant Chief of Staff J9 Brigadier General Reinhard Kloss, comprised of representatives from various NATO headquarters who have partnership activities with Kuwait, including JFC Naples Military Partnership Branch, the NATO International Staff and Land Command Military Cooperation Branch. The team was received at the Kuwaiti Armed Forces Headquarters by Brigadier General Amhad Al Khalaf, Director of Military Cooperation, and other personnel from across the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, including senior leaders from the Kuwaiti Land, Air, Naval and Air Defense Forces.
Brigadier General Ahmad Al Khalaf opened the meeting by welcoming the NATO team and the opportunity to receive an update on NATO programs. Topics of discussion ranged across a review of 2017 partnership activities, LANDCOM and its partnership capabilities, Operational Capability Concept, NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre and finally 2018-2019 partnership activities available to Kuwait. Additionally, NATO presented Kuwait with an in-depth briefing of the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub to highlight NATO’s newest capability following its recent inauguration.
The NATO military partnership with Kuwait has seen a steady growth in numbers of Kuwait Armed Forces personnel participating in NATO activities over the last several years. In fact, in 2017, Kuwait had a record number of Kuwaiti military personnel receiving NATO training since the beginning of the 13-year partnership. General Kloss highlighted the increase in participation and encouraged Kuwait to continue the trend. The meeting was successful overall, with open discussions resulting in a better understanding on what still needs to be done to continue the partnership growth trend between NATO and Kuwait.
After the meeting, Kuwaiti Armed Forces took the NATO delegation to visit the recently inaugurated NATO-ICI Regional Centre. This facility was constructed by Kuwait, solely for the use of partnership activities between NATO and the ICI partner nations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates). Since the beginning of formal activities in the Centre two months ago, JFC Naples has conducted two Mobile Training Teams led by JFC Naples J7 Training-Exercise and J9 Civil-Military Cooperation Sections.
Kuwait is an active NATO partner country and was the first nation to become a member of the ICI Framework in 2004. It currently participates in numerous NATO initiatives including various courses at NATO Centres of Excellences, NATO School Oberammergau, the NATO Defense College, Senior Executive NATO courses and other Key Leader Engagements. The Expert Staff Meeting is a vital part of the annual military cooperation between NATO and Kuwait, as it ensures the military partnership is meeting the needs of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces’ and generates partnering activity that is in-line with NATO’s Military Committee’s Direction and Guidance. More broadly it also supports NATO’s broader aims to help build the trust and understanding that will lead to better cooperation in the region while increasing military interoperability for future NATO missions.