Army intelligence officers hold conference to discuss the region’s top threats
LT. COL. QUENTIN MCCART, DEPUTY DIRECTOR,
INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT DIVISION, THIRD ARMY/U.S. ARMY CENTRAL
Building on the success of the 2020 Virtual Land Forces Intelligence Conference (VLFIC), United States Army Central (USARCENT) has made the online forum a permanent pillar of its partnership program.
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the first VLFIC in October 2020, but its success encouraged participants to repeat the experiment six months later.
Attendees at the March 2021 conference included regional intelligence professionals from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, France, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Yemen.
Its theme was “Recent Threat Trends Impacting Land Forces in the Region.” The 2021 conference covered more topics and allocated extra time for each country to share its views.
As a result of the longer conference and extended agenda, the number of attendees from partner nations doubled, with more than 120 participants representing 42 intelligence organizations. The detailed agenda generated interest from partners and allowed them to discuss commonalities of regional threats.
Commonly identified threats included unmanned aerial systems, environmental degradation and violent extremist organizations, and these concerns will define future VLFIC topics. The next conference will focus more deeply on the enemy’s use of unmanned aerial systems.
The March 2021 conference drew several senior operational and intelligence professionals. Australian Maj. Gen. Chris Field, USARCENT deputy commander for operations, provided opening remarks from an operational standpoint for participants.
“Maintaining our valued relationships and unifying to tackle emerging challenges remains fundamental to U.S. Army Central’s approach to working with our partners for security in the Middle East,” Maj. Gen. Field said. “The VFLIC remains a prime example of how we can continually enhance partner information sharing and joint learning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Subsequent speakers included U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Brig. Gen. Dimitri Henry, director of intelligence for U.S. Central Command. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Terry Wolff, director of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, paid a return visit to the conference.
USARCENT’s intelligence directorate, known as the G2, discovered significant interest in virtual forums from partner nations and remains available to assist these partners in leading online events on topics of their choice.
In the future, USARCENT intends to host both in-person Regional Land Forces Intelligence Symposiums and Virtual Land Forces Intelligence Conferences to demonstrate its commitment to the region and its partners.