WINCHESTER, Va. –
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been Building Strong
across the Middle East for nearly 70 years, partnering with allied nations to build civil and defense infrastructure in a dynamic, challenging construction environment. These partnerships and the projects they execute are not just necessary for our success - but also for the success of our nation’s global priorities and our allied mission partners’ continued security and stability.
Over the years, not only has the Army Corps of Engineers met the challenges inherent in large scale construction projects in the region but worked with those nations to build their own capacity to take on those missions and projects themselves.
One of those allied nations, the State of Qatar, is moving full speed ahead to make that a reality with its own Corps of Engineers nested within the Qatari Land Forces.
Modeled after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers leads planning, design, and construction for military projects for Qatar and are working to expand their ability to help their nation by preparing for a larger role in emergencies and other areas similar to the Army Corps of Engineers’ mission scope.
Throughout the years, the Army Corps of Engineers has sought to assist the expansion of the Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers’ capabilities through a close partnership. This is done primarily through the Army Corps of Engineers’ Transatlantic Division and its two districts, the Middle East District and the Expeditionary District, which are responsible for projects throughout the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.
It’s a partnership that not only includes defense infrastructure such as the recently completed Shield 5 missile defense program, but also close engagement and education between the engineers.
In many cases, those relationships and the trust that goes with them are built over years, or even decades, of working together. One of the officers who visited the Transatlantic Division in 2013 is now the head of the Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers, Maj. Gen. Essa al Kubaisi.
Bryton Johnson, the Transatlantic Division’s deputy for Interagency and International Services, said those partnerships are as much as part of the Division’s mission as the projects built.
“Within the Transatlantic Division, we like to say we’re a ‘Team of Teams,’ when we refer to our districts. But we also consider our mission partners throughout the Middle East a part of that team.”
Members of the Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers will continue that partnership on an upcoming visit to the United States as they study the way the U.S. military conducts operations and maintenance.
“The Army Corps of Engineers builds some of the best facilities in the world,” said Johnson, “but even the best facilities need to be maintained and that’s something that’s often overlooked in initial planning. The Qataris are extremely interested in how the U.S. military puts the mechanisms in place to do this, so we’ve arranged for them to visit a variety of projects across the U.S. to learn about this.”
Much the same as USACE, the QECE also partners with various other organizations to respond to meet mission requirements including several critical projects with United States Air Force Central.
"We recently (in May 2022) celebrated the 50th anniversary of our U.S., Qatar partnership. The strong and deep-rooted relations between Qatar and the US are showcased through our two nation's operating out of Al Udeid Air Base since 2001,” said Lt. Col. Matt Orlowsky, the Deputy Director of the AFCENT program office. “Today the partnership continues to be evidenced through day-to-day operations as well as through 38 ongoing QECE-led construction projects, and a joint strategic master plan which is the result of collaboration between QECE and AFCENT PMO. A joint visit to the U.S. will only further our ongoing partnership to provide future stability in the region.”
Facilities visited will include Tyndall and Nellis Air Force bases, Joint Base San Antonio and Naval Base San Diego. Additionally, Kubaisi will meet with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, the 55th Chief of Engineers and the commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.