A CENTCOM Coalition in the Making

In addition to exercising with allies bilaterally, US Central Command is working to increase multilateral ties between allies in the Middle East, something that has been historically challenging. Brig. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, CENTCOM’s director of operations, said the command’s Eager Lion franchise in Jordan is an example of success in this regard. In an Aug, 6 interview, Harrigian said he anticipates that CENTCOM’s efforts to build bilateral ties into multilateral ones would grow in Fiscal 2015 and beyond. “Even if a country sends a small element [to an exercise], such as observers, that’s a huge win and step in the right direction,” he told the Daily Report. CENTCOM put together the largest yet countermine exercise in the Arabian Gulf in May, he noted. That event, the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2013, featured participants from more than 40 nations, with activities ranging from maritime surveillance to escort procedures and de-mining. Multilateral engagement among the Gulf Cooperation Council nations and others in the region has grown in the last few years in the aftermath of Operation Unified Protector, the NATO-led air campaign in Libya in 2011, where Qatar and the United Arab Emirates played prominent roles. (For more coverage of Harrigian’s interview, see Iraq’s Evolving Role, Access and Denial in the Arabian Gulf, and Rebalancing Engagement in CENTCOM’s Area.)