December 6, 2017

UAE Security Forum 2017: Defense Industry and Economic Diversification

UAESF 2017

UAESF 2017_coverDecember 6, 2017

The past half century has seen unprecedented modernization and growth among the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which today rank among the world leaders in per capita income. However, GCC leaders recognize that oil resources alone cannot sustain economic prosperity over the long term, and so are seeking to create a diversified private sector that generates income from a variety of thriving industries. The transformation of Gulf economies requires a restructuring from existing patterns of state-led industrialization and dependency on government expenditure, to new policies that promote economic inclusion of men and women, citizens and non-nationals, in these dynamic and youthful societies.

To further our understanding of how the GCC countries, especially the United Arab Emirates, can achieve this ambitious goal, UAESF 2017 outlined the major challenges for and roadblocks to economic transformation, as well as opportunities for success.

Under the patronage of H.E. Sultan Al Mansoori, the minister of economy of the United Arab Emirates, the second annual UAE Security Forum brought together decision makers and business leaders to identify promising opportunities for private sector growth and innovation with special attention to the security sector, as an engine of economic growth, job opportunities, and technological advancement.

Read Karen E. Young and Michael Elleman’s backgrounder on the current defense industry market and production capacity in the Gulf Arab states as well as Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba’s commentary on economic transformation in the Gulf.

Opening Remarks
Thomas A. Kennedy, Chairman and CEO, Raytheon Company
Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba, President, AGSIW

Session 1: Economic Inclusion Builds Regional Security: Challenges for the UAE and GCC Countries
Adel Abdellatif, Senior Strategic Advisor, Regional Bureau for Arab States, United Nations Development Programme
Mohammed Baharoon, Director General, b’huth
Nasser Saidi, Founder and President, Nasser Saidi & Associates; Former Chief Economist and Head of External Relations, DIFC Authority
Karen E. Young, Senior Resident Scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (Moderator)

Session 2: Partnership with the Private Sector for Growth and Innovation
Rabea Ataya, CEO,, Inc.
Hoda Al Khzaimi, Director, Center for Cyber Security, New York University Abu Dhabi
Dalya Al Muthanna, President and CEO, GE Gulf
Sharief Fahmy, CEO, Middle East General Enterprises; Chairman, American Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi (Moderator)

Keynote Remarks
Stephen J. Hadley, Principal of RiceHadleyGates LLC; Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba, President, AGSIW (Moderator)

Session 3: U.S.-UAE Cooperation: How Can the U.S. Defense Industry Assist UAE Diversification Efforts
David Des Roches, Associate Professor and Senior Military Fellow, National Defense University
John D. Harris II, CEO, Raytheon International, Inc.
Fahad Saif Harhara Al Yafei, Chief Programs Officer, Tawazun Economic Council
Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (Moderator)

Photos from UAE Security Forum 2017

UAE Security Forum 2017: Defense Industry and Economic Diversification