The Middle East Military Technology Conference (MEMTEC) was held alongside the Bahrain International Defence Exhibition from October 29th – 30th, 2019.

Sessions discussed matters such as the current status and future of military technology, cyber defence strategies, the impact of artificial intelligence on the functions of armed forces, the use of military technology to develop simulation models of war and the future of military industries in Middle East. MEMTEC showcased how global developments and advancements in the defence sector can reshape conflicts in the Middle East. In the pre-event press release, Dr Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Chairman of DERASAT and Chairman of MEMTEC, spoke about the importance of using technology to find solutions and create closer ties, “Bahrain is a force for peace and global understanding. We have understood well the importance of military alliances to establish security and stability in the world in cooperation with friendly countries. The importance of military technology in the development of armed forces and in responding to threats to national security as well as its role in minimising post-conflict impact is undoubted. MEMTEC will examine the challenges facing this technology.”

Concept Note

In light of the tremendous advances in the defence sector, the military power of nations is no longer measured solely by the size of their armed forces, but rather their optimisation through modern technological solutions. MEMTEC will showcase how these global developments will reshape regional conflicts in the Middle East.

During the last few decades, military technology has been a key focus for many countries, especially in the West, as reflected in the volume of investments in this field. Technology does not only enhance the capabilities of armed forces, but also significantly impacts the quality and effectiveness in preparation for national defence. Technology also impacts the military doctrine of countries, a clear example seen in the number of countries that have established cyber warfare units within their armed forces or intelligence agencies.

Given the importance of military technology to the development of armed forces in response to the rapid fluctuations in threats to the national security of states, and given the role of technology in minimizing post-conflict impacts, there are five challenges facing this technology:

First, issues related to the adoption of military technology by foreign states or non-state groups that may seek to target the vital installations, especially oil facilities, of other countries.

Second, despite the fact that a number of western countries are the recognized leaders in the field of acquiring and developing military technology, there are other countries that are in the process of becoming serious competitors to these western countries, especially in the area of cyberspace. Furthermore, highly expensive military technologies can be targeted by low-cost military technology and weaponry.

Third, although sanctions have been imposed on certain countries that have sought to use technology to develop weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, such as long-range missiles, such countries continue to attempt circumventing those sanctions, which represents a challenge to both regional and global security.

Fourth, several countries in conflict-ridden regions seek to obtain advanced missile systems. This could lead to the exacerbation of the imbalance of power and thus prolong conflicts.

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