The United States has added urgency to its long-term plans to move air command operation for the broader Middle East to the mainland from its base in Qatar, Washington Post reported.
To test its ability to control all U.S. air force flights of bombers, fighters and drones from a base in the United States, operations were moved to Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina for a 24-hour period on September 28.
The test could prove that the Pentagon has the ability of mobility in the sense of moving operations quickly to a safe geographic location if needed.
U.S. commanders admitted that the urgency is at least partly due to constant Iranian threats of targeting U.S. bases in the region in case of any military conflict. In addition, they said that recent effective attacks on Saudi oil installations attributed to Iran has also played a role in expediting the plan.
It seems that technological advances have also played a role in enabling to move a complicated air operations command center to thousands of miles away from the main theater.
The Washington Post quotes analysts as saying that if a conflict with Iran breaks out there is “little guarantee” that the Al Udeid base in Qatar could be defended.
Qatar has also had a political fall-out in recent years with the main U.S. Arab allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E