The comprehensive security drill encompasses military and civil agencies in a readiness test.
Residents of Qatar received a public service alert on Monday evening to announce the launch of the ‘Watan Exercise 2023’, a significant yearly national security exercise being held between 6-8 November.
The Public Service Alert system, designed to manage emergencies, crises, disasters, or other critical situations, was launched by the Ministry of Interior and is capable of sending messages to the general public or to specific areas as needed.
The warning messages are delivered in both Arabic and English and include vibration and ringtone alerts to ensure they capture the recipients’ attention. It comes as part of the country’s efforts to enhance its emergency and crisis management capabilities.
The system was tested to announce the annual Watan 2023 exercise, which involves more than 30 military and civilian agencies, and is designed to evaluate their preparedness and the effectiveness of inter-agency coordination in managing routine and crisis situations alike.
“Dear audience, we would like to note that the Watan 2023 exercise began today and will continue until November 8 with the participation of military and civilian entities
and includes several activities in different regions of the country,” the message sent last night read.
“This notification is part of the general emergency alert system experience and does not require you to take any action. We ask you to cooperate with the security forces to ensure that the desired objectives of the exercise are achieved,” it added.
Watan Exercise 2023
The collaborative effort between key security entities in the Watan Exercise is a key preparatory step when hosting large-scale events and ensuring robust response mechanisms are in place for any potential incidents.
The significance of such exercises was previously proven during the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, in which the experience gained from prior drills was instrumental in the seamless coordination between security and civil authorities.
Qatar’s military overlook
Qatar’s military, ranked 65th globally, is underpinned by a comprehensive military personnel structure and a substantial investment in defence capabilities. The nation’s total military personnel is estimated at 86,550, including active, reserve, and paramilitary forces. The active personnel count stands at 66,550, with an additional 15,000 in the reserves and 5,000 paramilitary personnel.
In terms of airpower, Qatar’s air force is estimated to have a stock of 198 aircraft, with a readiness level that ensures a significant percentage is available for deployment. This includes 68 fighters and 24 attack helicopters, underscoring its aerial combat and support capabilities.
Qatar’s naval forces consist of 86 total assets, including 4 corvettes and 20 patrol vessels, which provide a vital role in safeguarding maritime interests despite the absence of larger warships like destroyers or aircraft carriers.
These military assets are backed by Qatar’s substantial financial capacity, with a defence budget of $5.856 billion USD, and its status as a top global producer of natural gas, which is a critical natural resource.
The Lekhwiya Force, an internal security force, is integral to this security apparatus, responsible for law enforcement and counterterrorism within the country.