SABAH AL AHMADI COAST GUARD BASE, Kuwait – To increase the emergency response readiness of the Kuwait Coast Guard, leadership within the agency are partnering with soldiers from U.S. Army Central to construct a new continuity of operations plan.
If successful, the new plan would help leadership limit or circumvent disruption to the Coast Guard mission while ensuring minimal loss of life or property and continued maritime security for the Kuwaiti territorial waters.
“We received an order from our command to evaluate our coast guard evacuation plan. We needed a plan that reflected our capabilities, our new equipment and the roles and responsibilities which were added to the Coast Guard mission,” said Cmdr. Mubarak Ali Al-Sabah, chief of Maritime Operations. “We asked our friends, the Americans, to help us with a new plan.”
The plan, currently under construction, would address a variety of emergency scenarios to include terrorist attacks, oil or radioactive material spills and fires. The likelihood of the scenarios is ranked accordingly.
On March 21, ARCENT soldiers and the Kuwaiti Coast Guard visited Coast Guard 50, a vessel in the Arabian Gulf responsible for customs inspections of incoming watercraft. The goal of the visit was to get a better idea of available space for supplies or personnel.
While addressing the progress and partnership aspect of the planning, Al-Sabah was pleased.
“We are working at a very fast pace. We’re almost ahead of the plan,” he said. “We trust the [American] procedures. We trust how they work. Our higher command appreciates that ARCENT gave us their best to work with this on us.”
U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Richard Cote, a civil military operations officer with ARCENT, said these types of missions are beneficial to officer development for the Army. In order to execute a plan of this type, it requires critical thinking skills from the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP); however, the biggest benefit, he said, is in developing partnerships with the Kuwaiti agencies.
“Being able to partner with another military entity, in this case the Kuwaiti Coast Guard, to see how their planning process goes is important,” said Cote. “It helps us, ARCENT, to understand how they plan and how they come about their courses of action – so when we’re trying to plan together, we understand what their processes are and how they see end-states and objectives.”
While discussing elements of the plan, he said they were able to identify both the strength and weaknesses of the Kuwaiti Coast Guard emergency response. Should a large-scale catastrophe occur, the U.S. government would be better prepared to assist their Kuwaiti partners. Cote’s experience as a former firefighter and working with the U.S. State Department, has helped him be an asset to the coast guard.
Once the plan is finalized, the Kuwait Coast Guard will execute an exercise to test the effectiveness of the plan. It scheduled to take place later this year.