The joint military exercise Iron Union 14 between US and UAE land forces is well under way in the desert of Abu Dhabi.
For nearly 11 days, a combined land force of 200 Emirati and American soldiers will be training alongside each other to strengthen military interoperability – the ability to operate in conjunction with each other.
The war games further allow the forces to work together as a single element to practice communication and co-ordination.
The National was at Jebel Ali Port, south-west of Dubai, on Sunday to see the offloading of heavy equipment from a US military vessel in preparation for the military exercise, which was announced today by the UAE Ministry of Defence.
The US transport vessel was loaded with M1 Abram tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, assault breacher vehicles, heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks, wreckers, clearing devices and cargo vehicles.
"This is an opportunity for us to work together with our partners and we are committed to that, to face common enemies in the region," LTC Christopher L Jenkins, the US Army's Forward Strategic Transportation Officer for the United Arab Emirates, told The National ahead of the arrival of the military vessel in the harbour.
The US engages in extensive training and education of foreign militaries. Many countries in the region, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, are keen on taking part in recurrent joint military drills with the US, whose military has decades of "institutional memory".
The stated goal of the Pentagon’s training of foreign armies is regional stability through effective, mutually beneficial military-to-military relations that culminate in increased understanding and defence co-operation.
The Iron Union exercises take place twice a year. A larger UAE-US drill, Native Fury, is also held every year.
The Iron Union 14 is mainly aimed at enabling the participating forces to logistically get cargo and supplies wherever they need them and in a timely manner.
“Logistically we need to be able to move rapidly and expeditiously to wherever we have to get to or wherever we have to go to face a crisis,” said LTC Jenkins, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The decorated army officer says mobility and moving logistics on the battlefield is critical to the success of any military mission.
“Because if nothing moves to where we needed to go, then we are not going to be successful in that mission. We have a common saying that goes, nothing happens until something moves,” he said.