Emiratis enrolled in the military will soon be able to take part in strategic training at a top defence college in Italy.
The move is part of an agreement signed between the Nato Defence College and the U.A.E. Ministry of Defence in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago.
"The training has to do with many different activities within education and research in the military field,” said Gen Arne Dalhaug, the college's commandant.
"It also involves exchange when it comes to high-ranking civil servants, diplomats or military.”
Emiratis will be sent to the Rome-based college to study the military field at a strategic level.
"We have lectures about the development of the security situation in Asia, with China, Japan and the two Koreas for example, so we're talking about broadening students' understanding about world issues,” Gen Dalhaug said.
The long course, also known as the senior course, involves six months of teaching at a strategic level with an emphasis on field studies. Students "get to travel to different capitals to experience first-hand how politics are viewed in that part of the world”, Gen Dalhaug said. "We also include travel to the Middle East.”
A shorter course is designed to broaden students' understanding of the relationship between Nato and the Arab world.
"It's more of a regional cooperation course,” he said. "We have translations in English, French and Arabic running at the same time.”
Some of the topics studied include developments and changes in the Middle East, including Syria and Iran.
"It's a developing situation that's of great interest,” Gen Dalhaug said. "The situation in Ukraine is also important to understand and we see changes in Asia, so all those changes are taking place simultaneously and they call for local attention.”
Although the college already has 40 students from the UAE, the agreement aims to broaden and expand the cooperation.
"Such courses are beneficial for the future leaders of the world,” said Anthony L Winns, Lockheed Martin's president for Middle East and Africa.
"Since the end of the Second World War, the college has trained and educated government leaders with the diplomatic and strategic tools to comprehensively grasp challenges to our future security. The environment created at the school has fostered a greater global perspective on security concerns.”
He said the school's strategic military training that focused on different political and social institutions helped personnel to develop the "human inter-operability skills” necessary to function successfully in a multinational environment.
"The establishment of a truly global marketplace and the exponential growth of telecommunications technologies have inexorably intertwined the world into a global commons, creating new, complex and nuanced security challenges to state governments,” Mr Winns said.
"Understanding other political and strategic objectives can also help to remove mistrust, increase communication between allies and allow for greater military and political compatibility in joint ventures and operations.”
He said governments increasingly needed personnel with a global perspective on security and considerable diplomatic skills.
"In this interconnected world, they need the ability to convey concepts and strategies to an international audience and the ability to adapt and respond effectively to rapidly evolving and global security and economic circumstances,” he said.
"Many nations recognise that no nation can afford to act alone anymore and that the only way to explore new ideas and address these new challenges is through collective action. As Nato founder Dwight Eisenhower stated: ‘Though force can protect in emergency, only consideration and cooperation will lead to lasting peace'.”
Guerman Goutorov, chief executive at Streit Group, an armoured-vehicle manufacturer in Dubai, said courses in the strategic military field were crucial.
"Firstly, military combat needs to be planned with solid strategy in place,” he said. "Especially as heavy ammunition is involved, all aspects of battle need to be directed at one goal and follow integrated strategy. It is important for the future generation of officers to learn military strategy, as well as receive training at the early stages.”
The company recently introduced training courses for special forces and security personnel to provide a wider understanding of tactical military combat and strategic implementation of armoured vehicles.
Source: The National