Hardening Overseas Presence: Force Protection
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Attacks on the Office of the Program ManagerSaudi Arabia National Guard OPMSANG in November 1995 and on the Khobar Towers living compound in June 1996 forever changed the way in which the Armed Forces will regard terrorism in the Persian Gulf. Both bombings also served to prove that regional security dynamics can have an impact on U.S. forces deployed in the area. To deter and prevent hostile acts, air activities were moved from King Abd Al-Aziz air base in Dhahran and Riyadh air base to Prince Sultan air base adjacent to the city of Al Kharj, south of Riyadh. The rationale for this shift was to move forces from populated areas, where perpetrators of terrorist acts could easily disappear, to locales where space and terrain could be used to advantage. The relocation to Prince Sultan air base means that many American personnel have traded in their furnished villas for tents and trailers which eventually will be replaced by modular housing. Similar security precautions took place in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait as U.S. personnel moved from the Sahara Residency in downtown Abu Dhabi onto Al Dhafra air base outside the city and from the international airport at Kuwait City onto Ahmed Al Jabber air base in the desert. It should be noted, however, that space and terrain are not always viable force protection options and that various measures must be implemented in different locations, contingent upon the mission and its requirements. U.S. personnel who remain located in urban areas have attempted to disperse into the local environment such as hotels and residential areas to provide a more difficult target while simultaneously integrating and becoming better acquainted with local populations.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare