x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Graduation day for class of elite Amiri Guards

Country's top security force underwent same training as US Secret Service.

ABU DHABI // A class of the country's elite security force, the Amiri Guard, graduated yesterday. Brig Salim Helal Sorour al Ka'abi praised the new officers as knowledgeable, hard working and loyal to their country and its leadership, before presenting them with their certificates and awards, according to WAM, the state news agency. The force operates under the Ministry of Interior. Their numbers, the weapons they use and those they protect are all classified information.

Last autumn 21 members of the force travelled to the small town of Elk Garden, in West Virginia, to receive training in counter-sniper operations. For three months, they underwent intensive training by Storm Mountain, a non-governmental American company that trains the US Secret Service to protect the American president. Teri Ryan, the president of Storm Mountain, said at the time the UAE guards were among the most skilled agents he had seen.

"We hope that this is just the beginning of our association with the Amiri Guards," he said. During their visit, the guards took in a performance by a West Virginian folk music band and went sightseeing. They also made a donation to a local school project to thank the community for hosting them. Before the formation of the Amiri Guards, security for senior officials was conducted by military snipers working under the Royal Guards.

Bill Spalding, the president of the security and investigation firm Teal, has provided logistical training for the Amiri Guards for more than a decade, working with the US State Department in Abu Dhabi in 1986 and the Royal Guards in 1998. "I compare the guards to the falcon," Mr Spalding said. "They are the eye in the sky." @Email:myoussef@thenational.ae