U.S. navy should lead anti-ISIS fight, says Lockheed UAE chief

U.S. Navy aircrewmen Aaron Hutchinson, right, and Joseph Esposito fly over the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in the Arab Gulf.

U.S. Navy aircrewmen Aaron Hutchinson, right, and Joseph Esposito fly over the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in the Arab Gulf.


The U.S. navy “is very well positioned” to lead the fight against non-state actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the chief executive of defense company Lockheed Martin UAE said on Monday.

“In the last 14 years,” the navy has been “the supporting entity, when they could be the command and control,” Bob Howard said during a panel discussion at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi.

Howard, a retired vice admiral, said the navy’s role was “critical.”

Fellow panellist Colonel Stephen Lewallen, deputy commander of U.S. Marine Forces, stressed the importance of knowing the environment during irregular combat.

Instead of delving straight into security discussions with Iraqi troops during his tenure as an adviser to the 7th Iraqi army, Lewallen said he would first talk personally to them.

With some “chai [tea], I’d ask him how his family was doing, about his perspective, listen to his analysis of the situation,” he said.

Lewallen also stressed the importance of not alienating the local population. For example, his division had set up a barricade in the Iraqi town of Ramadi, which stopped children from going to school. The barricade was later removed.

Forces ought to “adjust their own operations to stop alienating, and continue to bid on these relationships,” he said.


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