Opening of the 6th Edition of the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference
-The Official Conference of the Dubai Air Show-
Dubai- Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and with the full support of the UAE Ministry of Defense and the UAE Air Force and Air Defense, the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) announces the opening of the 6th edition of the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC 2013) -official conference of the Dubai Air Show- on November 16, 2013 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The conference drew high level delegations from the UAE and over 36 countries from around the world. Notable attendees included UAE officials, high level delegations, industry representatives as well as Air Force Commanders and senior staff from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and others.
The opening session was commenced by Mr. Riad Kahwaji, CEO of INEGMA, who thanked the UAE Ministry of Defence and the UAE Air Force and Air Defence for their notable support. He also gave a warm welcome to UAE officials, international delegations and industry representatives for taking part in this high level conference noting that the UAE continues to act as a major aerial hub not only for the region, but the world.
The welcome speech was followed by a keynote speech from His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, President of the Department of Civil Aviation, CEO and Chairman of The Emirates Group and Chairman of Dubai World on behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Defense and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness stated that diplomacy and peaceful political solutions have been the UAE’s preferred approach to solving any problems with its neighbors and it is the formula that encourages other nations to pursue in settling their differences. He also mentioned that the UAE believes in partnerships to enhance stability and fulfill progress and prosperity. Accordingly, establishing a strong deterrent through a modern and powerful military is the best means to maintain peace and stability with our neighbors in the region. His Highness noted that the UAE plays a productive role in the international arena by contributing to UN peacekeeping operations and to rescue missions in areas hit by natural disasters. UAE pilots flew tons of aid material and supplies to disaster-stricken areas worldwide and also helped enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, and have subsequently gained valuable experience in air warfare and support operations. He ended his speech by stating “the UAE has come a long way in such a brief time, and our ambitions remain huge.”
The opening session was concluded by Major General Staff Pilot Mohammed Bin Suwaidan Saeed Al-Qamzi, Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defence, who argued what while the UAE faces no armed conflicts, civil wars or internal instability, the UAE must remain vigilant to deter conflicts that are occurring regionally. “We at the UAE AF & AD are committed to excellence and will continue to a) maintain and improve our defensive capabilities, b) streamline the training process to make it current, agile and compatible in order to retain interoperability with other regional and coalition partners, c) conduct exercises that focus on Integrating Command and Control (C2), Integrated Air Defenses (IADs), Early Warning (EW), Special Operation Force (SOF), and d) establish a Gulf Training Center of Excellence that provides an opportunity to focus on integration and interoperability of regional and coalition capabilities.”
First Session on “Facing the Regional Challenges: Matching the Ends, Ways, and Means”
The first session was moderated by Major General (Ret.) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu-Ainnain, President of INEGMA and Former Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense, featuring two speakers. The first speaker, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Chief of the Air Staff, UK Royal Air Force, presented on the topic of “Global Partnerships: Operational Benefits of Integration and Cooperation.” He addressed the evolution of joint and coalition operations and reviewed developments in the use of coercive force to achieve air dominance. Sir Pulford highlighted the growing integration of the UK Royal Air Force with GCC Air Forces noting great advances in interoperability. Finally, he emphasized the unpredictability of adversaries who will, in the future, possess more advanced technologies, complicating future air environments and strategies.
The second speaker Brigadier General Staff Mohammed Murad Hasan Al-Baloushi, Air Support Commander at the UAE Air Force and Air Defence, lectured on the topic of “Building a Robust Regional Integrated Air & Missile Defense: Setting the Stage for a Coordinated and Integrated Regional Force.” He asserted that the continuing threat from ballistic and cruise missiles requires the continued development of an Integrated Air Missile Defense (IAMD). Sensors and intelligence data must be used to enhance and improve situational awareness. The ultimate goal, he proposes, is to move to a net-centric “system of systems” for a fully operational defense shield against future airborne missile threats.
Second Session on “Connecting the Future Battle-space: Achieving Cross-Domain Synergy”
Jeffrey B. Kohler, Vice President of the International Business Development at Boeing Defense, chaired this session that featured four speakers. Lieutenant General John W. Hesterman, Commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command, and Vice Admiral John W. Miller, Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. Fifth Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces, held a dual discussion on “Combined Air and Maritime Operations” Lieutenant General Hesterman argued that cross command service operations are now influenced by cyber and advanced conventional weapon threats. The addition of A2/AD concept is now simultaneous with permissive and contested space. He added that there is a need to expand across the services and a need for nodal relays to accomplish all missions. Finally, he stated that a Gulf Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) is in the making and is a strong investment for the future. As part of the dual presentation, Vice Admiral John W. Miller stated that joint Command and Control (C2) in both maritime and land-based targeting is evolving and merging in order to create a seamless air and land environment.
The second presentation was delivered by General Denis Mercier, Chief of Staff of the French Air Force on “Air Power in Recent Operations”. He reviewed French air operations in Libya and Mali. He emphasized that Libya, compared to Mali, seemed to be a fairly straight forward air operation while Mali operations were more complicated. He noted the critical role of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) in the Mali operations due to the challenging geography and air operations supported by at least eight French air bases.
Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Pakistani Air Staff, concluded the second session with a presentation on “Integrating the Sensor Network for Sustained Joint COIN Operations.” He reviewed the origins of terrorism in Pakistan and the innovation of terrorist tactics emanating from the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) with a large number of losses for Pakistan in terms of Counter-Terrorism Operations. He illuminated that ISR for irregular warfare is more complicated because of the time, technology and analysis required to coordinate and attack necessary targets with minimal collateral damage. He added that sometimes data processing to targeting takes around 24 to 36 hours. Clearly, Pakistan is moving towards Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) for a Common Operation Picture (COP) that is being based on U.S. concepts of full spectrum awareness.
Third Session on “Preparing Future joint & Coalition Ready Airmen: Training and Equipping the Force”
The last session was moderated by Steve Goldfein, Sector Vice President, Business Development, Electronic Systems Sector at Northrop Grumman Corporation and featured three speakers. The first speaker, Lieutenant General Pasquale Preziosa, Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, delivered a lecture on “Coalition Burden Sharing: Examining NATO’s Smart Defense Strategy.” He argued that members of NATO need to be “smart” in the defense integration of member nations, within the European Union (EU) itself, as well as additional multi-national cooperation as necessary. Lt. Gen. Preziosa asserted that there needs to be a renewal of culture and mindset in NATO that recognizes the need to avoid duplication in the defense sphere yet still requires the need for individual country interests. He stated that there are difficulties in the supply, specialization, national defense industry, etc. that needs to be coordinated and requires the movement forward to technological innovation and a new mind-set within NATO of interoperability across a number of military and defense commercial sectors across the EU.
Following to his presentation, General Akin Ozturk, Commander of the Turkish Air Force addressed “Multinational Training: Raising Airmen to Meet Future Airpower Requirements for Collective Response.” He argued that, in the future, air and space power will be the most challenging aspect of aerospace military missions with future security environments. Thus, establishing an international cooperation environment will help reduce costs and create synergies that will increase the efficiency and quality of training. In order to create that synergy, Turkey is ready for international cooperation with allies and partner countries. Turkey is willing to teach and learn from other countries and does so through a multitude of exercises including Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT), Red Flag and Maple Flag exercises, NATO Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) and other various multinational exercises.
The concluding session of the day was given by Major General Henrik Dam, Chief of Tactical Air Command at the Royal Danish Air Force. He delivered a presentation on “Response Force Readiness: Preparing Airmen for Future Joint & Coalition Operations.” He stated that the prediction of future conflicts is not possible and that preparation must be continuous. Finally, “Air Forces must be flexible and expeditionary in terms of their mind-set; the best way to test this type of thinking is to conduct multinational exercises on a regular basis.”
DIAC 2013 sponsors included: Platinum Sponsor: Boeing; Gold Sponsor: Northrop Grumman; Silver Sponsors: MBDA Missile Systems, SAAB Group, TEXTRON Systems, UTC Aerospace Systems and BAE Systems.
DIAC 2013 media sponsors included: International Media Partner: Janes; Official Media Partner: Nation Shield; Arabic e-Media Partner: Security and Defense Arabia; and Media Partners: Al Defaiya, Defence21, Arabian Aerospace, 999 Magazine, Arab Defence Journal, Al Jundi Journal and The Security Review.
The conference concluded with enormous success.