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04ABUDHABI286 2004-01-28 13:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
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1. (C) Summary: The opening of the Gulf Air Warfare Center
(GAWC) at the Al Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi marks an
important milestone in our efforts to broaden and deepen
our military cooperation with the UAE and other GCC
countries. A three-year undertaking, the GAWC is an
unprecedented achievement, bringing together bright young
air force officers from different cultural and religious
backgrounds for joint training and opportunities to
exchange ideas and experiences. This type of enriching
collaboration should open doors for future cooperation with
our partners in the Gulf and even beyond. The UAE is open
to admitting both Jordan and Egypt as paying members. The
makeup of the current GAWC membership includes the UAE and
the GCC countries, the U.S., the UK, and France. The U.S.
holds a deputy commandant position. End Summary.

2. (C) The first exercise at the newly opened Gulf Air
Warfare Center (GAWC) is under way at Al Dhafra Air Base.
The Ambassador, CENTAF Commander Lt. General Buchanan, UAE
Air Force and Air Defense Commander Major General Khaled Al
Buainnan, and diplomats from the UK, France, and Saudi
Arabia attended an inaugural ceremony on January 25.

3. (C) The GAWC has tremendous potential for multilateral
training, defense cooperation, and interoperability in the
region. It features a range that rivals the USAF Air
Warfare Center Nellis training range and complex in Nevada
with its size and virtually unconstrained access and
training opportunities. The GAWC will provide an excellent
opportunity for CENTCOM pilots and instructors to hone
their skills in theater. Moreover, the GAWC directly
supports our deployed units by providing long-term access
to ranges and training exercises otherwise not available in
the region.

4. (C) The vision of UAE Air Force Chief of Staff Major
General Khaled was to offer an ideal setting for our U.S.
Air Force officers to build long-term relationships with
their Arab and European counterparts. In his remarks at
the inaugural ceremony, MG Khaled acknowledged that the
GAWC could not have been accomplished without the active
participation of the U.S. Air Force. It has taken at least
three years to set up the center. MG Khaled also talked
about the importance of intellectual interoperability among
the air forces of different countries being just as
important as the training and encouraged the intellectual
exchange that will take place among cooperating nations as
they plan and carry out future exercises. Officers taking
part in the inaugural class include six Emiratis, two
Britons, and three Americans.

5. (C) The USAF is providing six F-16's from Cannon Air
Force Base in New Mexico. The British are providing three
GR-4s and the UAE six Mirage-2000s. The first class is
scheduled to graduate on February 18. In subsequent
exercises, the U.S., UAE, and Britain will be joined by the
other GCC countries, as well as France. The UAE Air Force
is considering opening participation to Jordan and Egypt in
the future but on a full paid basis. A USAF officer and a
RAF officer currently serve as deputy commandants at the
GAWC on a temporary basis. We are using the NSDD-38
process to place a permanent deputy commandant and three
staffers ll USAF officers nder Chief of Mission

6. (C) Comment: The opening of the GAWC in Abu Dhabi
illustrates the expanding nature of our bilateral military
relationship with the UAE. Our two air forces have worked
together for at least three years to bring this project to
fruition. Our bilateral and regional interests also are
served by broadening our presence and access at Al Dhafra
Air Base, an important strategic facility in the Gulf. We
also benefit by having a state-of-the-art air warfare
center that will draw expertise and promising young
military officers from the Gulf and beyond nd from
different cultures and religions - to work side-by-side
with some of our own officers during air warfare exercises.