US Army, Kuwaiti partners inaugurate five warehouses

By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: The US Army and Kuwait partners celebrated on Wednesday the completion of five logistics warehouses at a cost of $27 million at Camp Arifjan. On the sidelines of the Army Prepositioned Stock (APS)-500 series warehouses’ ribbon-cutting ceremony, Col Naval Staff Abdullah Waleed Al-Zawawi stressed Kuwait’s keenness to follow up on military events and be fully prepared for all threats at the regional or global level.

Zawawi revealed the logistics warehouses project was co-financed by the Kuwaiti and US sides according to the DCA agreement, noting this is not the first co-financed project. “There are continuous exercises between the Kuwaiti and US armies and joint coordination for annual training from September to April. The last exercise was the “Al Tahreer” exercise with the participation of the Kuwait land force with the US army, and there are future exercises planned. The Kuwaiti army is always present and efforts are exerted by Kuwaiti soldiers and officers,” he added.

“It is very important to be here for the opening of APS-500 series warehouses that symbolize our partnership commitment with Kuwait. We are investing in such facilities to have our equipment ready to support our Kuwaiti partners and others around the region,” US Charge d’Affaires James Holtsnider said.

Charge d’Affaires James Holtsnider signs on the ribbon of the opening ceremony.

“The weather can be difficult outside, so it is important to protect our equipment. That is why the warehouses are important. Both US and Kuwait governments worked together and partnered in their funding. This facilities are air-conditioned and climate controlled to protect more than 500 pieces of equipment, trucks and tanks,” he said.

Holtsnider pointed out the US will continue to invest in the region to improve and upgrade its presence, revealing the US army has more warehouses in the pipeline. “If you look around the region, you will continue to see challenges in several places; that is why we continue to work with our partners including Kuwait on combining training exercises and making sure we have the needed ability,” he said.

He noted the US army recently held an exercise with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to be able to respond to future problems. “The warehouses also support the humanitarian side, where they allow us and Kuwaiti partners to store humanitarian supplies to respond to events like the earthquake in Turkey,” he said.

Commander Colonel Thomas Boland gives a speech during the ceremony.

During his opening remarks, TAE USACE Commander Lt Col Richard Childers said: “We keenly understand the opportunities available to us and our Kuwaiti partners to help find solutions to the region’s most complex challenges to help build the capacity needed to deter and respond to regional threats and promote lasting stability for generations to come.”

He added: “These five warehouses are more than just storage facilities. They are a symbol of security and demonstrate achievable military integration and bilateral security cooperation. These warehouses are the product of close collaboration between the Kuwaiti armed forces, the ministry of defense and the US Army Corps of Engineers. When you choose the corps of engineers, you are getting quality sustainable infrastructure and you are getting a faithful, reliable partner committed to delivering winning engineering solutions.”

Childers indicated that these warehouses will provide critical environmental protection for the equipment needed to rapidly respond to contingencies and will allow for the support of integrated training to occur at a higher frequency during medium and large-scale exercises with regional partners.

401st AFSB Commander Col Thomas Boland explained the importance of the warehouses. “These warehouses will provide indoor protective storage from environmental elements to over 500 pieces of army preposition rolling stock and materiel, increasing the army’s ability to rapidly project combat power and deliver readiness to warfighters globally. These new warehouses are the new benchmark and a clear improvement to storing equipment outside in the desert-like environment,” he said.

Charge d’Affaires James Holtsnider speaks with military personnel at the ceremony.

He revealed the project of the warehouses started as a vision to provide greater responsiveness to the geographical combatant commander (GCC) and increase readiness at the tactical point of need within the theater. “Construction of the 320,000 square feet of useable space began in January 2020 at a price tag of $27 million that our host nation partners graciously provided as part of our DCA. Without the commitment of our reliable and steadfast partners, we would not be here today. The Kuwaitis have graciously supported American forces in this country going 32 years now,” Boland said.

Boland noted the shared interest and mission with partners – while APS is a cornerstone to project power in the Middle East, ensuring that US forces deployed in support of operations in Southwest Asia have what they need when needed, as well as sending a clear signal of the US’ unwavering commitment to the collective security interests of partners in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

The construction of the five warehouses was approved by the chief of staff of the Kuwait armed forces and the Kuwait ministry of defense. The US APS program is part of the US army’s strategy to maintain combat-ready equipment in strategic locations around the world.

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