Superiority is not for the country which owns or manufactures the heaviest military equipment, anymore. Rather, the strongest country in today’s world is the one with the highest intelligence expertise and cyber war capabilities. That is the most important note that I have taken after visiting Egypt’s first Defense and Security Exhibition (EDEX), earlier this week.
EDEX, as an exhibition is not a novel event to the world, it has been there for twenty years. However, it is a whole new event for Egyptians. This is the first time the Egyptian government organizes EDEX inside the capital city of Cairo, with over 370 state and corporate exhibitors from all over the globe. This is also the first time for Egyptian civilian journalists, researchers and scholars to get such a close access to that massive amount of information and updates on the defense industry in Egypt and abroad.
Defense industry and security issues, including military-related information, have always been a big taboo and a minefield to explore by journalists and researchers in Egypt. But, fortunately, this is not the case anymore.
When I received the invitation to EDEX, I expected to see pamphlets, photos, videos, and perhaps some cartoon samples of the real equipment. But, to my biggest surprise, the exhibiting companies and military institutions were present with the real uniforms, equipment, and ammunition.
The floor of the exhibition was similar to a world war scene, a quieter one though, where every country is showing off its military muscles. Unlike actual world war, the show of military power was not meant to offend other nations, but to explore ways of cooperation and integration. I believe this says a lot about how civilized our world has become.
I have, also, noticed that the majority of the defense systems in the world has not yet adapted, equipment-wise and personnel-wise, to managing wars against non-state actors. Terrorist groups are the actual enemy of the world, today. Terrorists’ real power lies in the fact that they are more random than all the highly organized and hierarchical traditional military systems operating worldwide. The high technology and most advanced heavy military equipment that I have seen at EDEX are not definitely the right gear to fight this new enemy. I believe that world military institutions need to change their perception about procurement in adaptation to this new non-traditional war.
A final thought that crossed my mind while walking down the aisles of EDEX was how proud I am of my country and my military. God bless Egypt!