Impact Stories

CRDF Global and EXBS Partnership Aims to Strengthen Regional Security in MENA 

With over two decades of experience operating in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, CRDF Global has developed long-standing and trusted relationships with local governmental bodies and broad networks of subject matter experts which inform the design, delivery and efficacy of its integrated service offerings. Over the past several years, working in support of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation Office of Export Control Cooperation (ISN/ECC) Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program, CRDF Global has helped to significantly strengthen regional security across aviation, maritime, border and cyber domains. Operating from its MENA regional hub in Amman, Jordan, CRDF Global has drawn from its deep understanding of local governing bodies, region-specific threats and vulnerabilities, as well as its international portfolio of leading experts, to create customized solutions designed to build capacity in specialized areas and support local authorities in protecting their communities and borders, meeting international security standards, and opening pathways for increased economic development throughout the MENA region. 

Increasing Aviation Security in Iraq  

In 2021, CRDF Global began a partnership with EXBS to enhance the security of airport passengers, cargo and facilities in Iraq, as a means of supporting the overall safety and security of these countries and their borders. Beginning with a thorough assessment, CRDF Global helped identify gaps in security that could be exploited to smuggle weapons, conduct illicit activities, and threaten civil aviation, and then provided tailored training and workshops at the Baghdad International Airport and Erbil International Airport Alongside these personnel trainings, CRDF Global re-initiated an effort that began in 2018 to develop an updated National Civil Aviation Security Program (NCASP) that would align Iraq’s program with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. With this successful update and the adoption of a whole-of-government approach to aviation security, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) successfully passed the ICAO audit in February 2023, which has led to increased interest from international airlines to operate in Iraqi airports and has elevated Iraq’s position as a gateway between Southeast Asia and Europe. With enhanced security infrastructure, trained and empowered security forces, and standing security protocols that bring Iraq in line with international standards, CRDF Global is hopeful to for increased safety, economic development and investment in the region. 

Strengthening Maritime Security in Jordan  

Concurrent with its EXBS project in Iraq and Lebanon, CRDF Global embarked upon a separate project to enhance maritime security in Jordan, specifically focused supporting the Port of Aqaba. Through an on-site assessment, CRDF Global identified areas for improvement and mapped out a training program that would support the Jordan Maritime Commission (JMC) in establishing strategic trade and border control systems that would meet international standards. Employing its signature local-led approach, CRDF Global engaged with key stakeholders and government officials responsible for implementing the International Ship & Port Facility Security (ISPS) program and developed an appropriate training program to facilitate its implementation. CRDF Global ultimately trained both Port Facility Security Officers and senior leaders within the JMC, who participated in train-the-trainer activities, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the training process and domestic capacity to train future officers. These activities significantly contributed to the successful passage of the U.S. Coast Guard’s annual assessment of the Port of Aqaba in September 2023; an achievement that underscores the project’s effectiveness as well as CRDF Global’s commitment to promoting maritime security and fostering economic development while ensuring compliance with international standards. 

Enhancing Maritime Domain Awareness in Lebanon and Cyprus 

Leveraging its maritime security expertise and experience throughout MENA, CRDF Global organized a stakeholder meeting and a series of remote trainings for maritime security personnel in Cyprus and Lebanon. Throughout the course of the project, CRDF Global organized and offered expert discussions, live exercises, and development of action plans to advance an integrated Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) system. CRDF Global also finalized the procurement of Incident Command System (ICS) software for the Cyprus Centre for Land, Open Seas, and Port Security (CYCLOPS) and conducted a five-day Incident Command workshop for maritime officials from both Cyprus and Lebanon on how to operate under the ICS during various events. Working alongside local governing bodies and their security forces, CRDF Global was proud to leverage its regional relationships and specialized digital resilience capabilities to deliver a full-spectrum MDA solution that will support long-term security goals. 

Bolstering National Border Security in Iraq and Jordan through CBP Border Guard Training  

Through the collaborative International Border Guard Training Program (IBGT), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency partners with the U.S. Department of State EXBS program to train key border security personnel and increase the security of the national borders of Iraq and Jordan. With its deep knowledge of the area and network of local resources, CRDF Global supported this mission by providing on-the-ground planning, equipment, logistical and administrative support for intensive training sessions and the production of training videos. The two iterations of the two-week training course taught skills in desert patrolling, tracking, vehicle interdiction, tactical combat casualty care, marksmanship, and close-quarters combat, among other tactical elements of border security that enable guard forces to effectively secure national borders and prevent the smuggling of weapons and CBRNE materials.  

In addition to the technical skills imparted to the Iraq’s Border Guard Forces and the Jordanian Armed Forces and Public Security Directorate, the training courses fostered a collaborative environment for knowledge exchange and experience sharing, strengthening the sense of international cooperation and investment in long-term border security efforts. CRDF Global is proud to support the IBGT in enhancing the security of the MENA region, and in demonstrating the effectiveness of targeted training and international cooperation in addressing global security challenges. 

>> Next Steps in Supporting Strategic Trade in MENA >> 

With its demonstrated ability to design and implement programs that successfully address short-term security needs as well as build regional capacity to fulfill long-term security goals, CRDF Global is proud to have been recently selected for additional EXBS programs that further strategic trade goals in the MENA region. “Our team is deeply committed to strengthening security throughout MENA across all domains,” said Nour Anis, Director of CRDF Global’s MENA Hub, “It’s our honor to contribute to the short and long-term stability of this region and create avenues for economic development that will benefit future generations.”  

Supporting Jordan’s Strategic Trade Licensing and SEZ Outreach 

In partnership with EXBS, CRDF Global will help operationalize the newly codified Jordanian laws that govern the trade of dangerous and dual-use goods and will assist the Government of Jordan in conducting outreach to stakeholders within the private industry and the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to address proliferation risks. Beginning with an assessment of how the Licensing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been applied, CRDF Global will conduct a Strategic Trade Control (STC) licensing workshop and train participants on the implementation of SOPs applicable to customs control law for dangerous and dual-use goods. A second series of workshops will focus on private industry and SEZ outreach and Internal Compliance Programs (ICP), to facilitate the education of private industry and SEZ stakeholders on the requirements and procedures of dual use and dangerous goods licensing regulations. CRDF Global will conclude its engagement by conducting a final consultation and delivering an outreach plan to support ongoing compliance training and outreach efforts to the private industry and SEZs, designed to support economic development within the legal and regulatory trade framework that protects against proliferation.  

Strengthening Strategic Trade Control in North Africa 

Building upon its extensive experience supporting strategic trade control (STC) in the MENA region, CRDF Global has been selected to build and maintain effective dual-use control licensing and enforcement systems in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. By conducting in-person workshops and virtual follow-up engagements, CRDF Global will maintain regular contact with local stakeholders to enhance regional cooperation and address security challenges in these countries. Through its mentorship of government stakeholders in these three countries, CRDF Global will provide customized guidance on the practical implementation of STCs and ensure that individuals are empowered and prepared to meet international standards and best practices. With the shared goal of building and maintaining effective dual-use control licensing and enforcement systems in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, CRDF Global is honored to support the EXBS mission to strengthen trade controls in the region, enhance counterproliferation finance measures and build local security capacity.  

Global Capability and Readiness to Support Future Missions 

In support of EXBS objectives in the MENA region, CRDF Global has applied its signature approach of empowering individuals, building relationships and working in collaboration with partners to make our world a safer place. With one of its six regional hubs located in Amman, our team is able to quickly convene regional resources and know-how, and draw from its knowledgeable staff and international network of experts to customize integrated solutions for a broad range of security missions in the MENA region, including those of the Department of State’s Offices of Cooperative Threat Reduction, Nonproliferation & Disarmament Fund, Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs; as well as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration. With its continued focus on the nexus of global security and development opportunities and increased capabilities in digital resilience, CRDF Global is ideally positioned to support EXBS in future projects that address the evolving nature of trade and border security vulnerabilities around the world.