Another story of being an Intel officer in Qatar at the Air and Space Operations Center in charge of Central Command (Middle East). Julie job was focused on Target Development and she gives us a little peek into what it was like to be overseas.
Rank during deployment:
Current rank/current job if you have left the military:
Where did you deploy to?
Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
What was you or your team’s mission?
My team was focused on Target development.
What is Target Development?
Target development entails the systematic examination of potential target systems, their components and the elements which make up each component. Using this system, inn order to determine the importance, priority, weight of effort, and appropriate weapons selection for specific target systems. It identifies the critical components of a target system and their vulnerabilities to attack or other action. It includes five functions. The five functions are target analysis, target validation, documentation, nomination and collection and exploitation requirement.
What was your job?
I was the Officer-In-Charge of my section. Along with my daily duties of Target Development I was also in charge of the people who worked with my section.
What cultural differences do you remember between the country you went to and the United States?
Women’s dress; cultural hierarchy.
What sort of cultural hierarchy did you see? Were you affected by any of the hierarchy in your job or social interactions?
Patterns of rank and authority our well defined. It is a Muslim nation. Women are required to wear veils. Women have access to schooling and employment and have the right to travel outside of the country, but the culture is shaped by Islam and cultural history has made women feel uncomfortable among strangers in public. To provide women more services, some department stores, malls, parks and museums have “family days” where the only men who can enter must be with their family.
Different rules apply for foreign women and are accepted without veils provided they dress conservatively. They may go shopping and travel alone, but they need to remember to avoid all-male cafes, which are predominate.
What landscape differences do you remember between Qatar and the United States?
Not too different from Arizona, which is where I am currently stationed.
Were there any particular foods that you ate while in Qatar that was different from the United States?
Camel! Lots of hummus and pita.
What was the hardest thing you faced with the cultural difference in Qatar?
The uniformity and oppression of women’s clothing. Men were dressed in long white garments of light fabric. Women were covered head to toe in heavy black garments. Like a kid’s Disney movie where the villain is dark, evil, and untrustworthy while the hero is bright, beyond reproach and virtuous. The visual message was extremely strong about the place each sex held in society.
As a female, do you remember being treated differently because of your sex, explain?
Not overtly, but I saw the sidelong glances and tight faces of men as they passed me. I never went out without male colleagues and had them speak for me when I thought it would be better.
What challenges did you face?
Separation from husband, right as we started trying to start a family. I also had an adversarial relationship with lower-ranking female co-worker.
Did you have any regular frustrating situations or a frustrating situation you can share about?
I daily had to think of the best way to correct the mistakes and behavior of a lower-ranking female co-worker who did not want to be told she was wrong, particularly by me. Because her work quality was poor, bordering on dangerous to friendly and civilian lives it required something to be done. But since we worked in a large common area, where calling her out each time she made a mistake or gave me an attitude made it difficult. And it would have been unprofessional and counter-productive to continually attempt to council her.
What is the one thing you remember most from your deployment?
The deep professional satisfaction I experienced. Every day I was doing something I felt was significant and was making a difference.
What question do you get when people find out you deployed?
This is Day 23 of 31 Days of Deployment Stories. If you want to see the whole series click here. Yesterday I shared another experience of being an Intel Officer in Qatar and UAE. Tomorrow I will share an experience from South West Asia. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for my weekly newsletter here.