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The Role of United Arab Emirates Civil Defense in Homeland Security Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 16th, 2021


National security is a critical issue that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government takes seriously. The country has been keen to invest in this area in an attempt to safeguard the lives of many citizens and visitors widely. With the UAE situated in a very sensitive geographical region, its leaders remain concerned about numerous challenges, including Islamic extremism and terrorist. The country boasts of numerous assets and public spaces that support the current economic growth.

For example, Dubai Airport remains one of the busiest airports in the world. This is a clear indication that security is something that all departments and emirates in the country should put into consideration. Modern global challenges range from chemical attacks, fire outbreaks, destruction of critical infrastructures, damage to property, and terrorism. A coordinated approach is always necessary if a specific country is to mitigate these predicaments. At the center of this objective is the UAE Civil Defense. The paper presented below gives a detailed background and examination of the roles and services of this agency. It goes further to give powerful recommendations that different policymakers and leaders can consider in order to support this agency and achieve the targeted homeland security aims.

The UAE Civil Defense: Background Information


The idea that led to the establishment of the UAE Civil Defense emerged in 1976 following a ruling made by the Federal Supreme Council (law no. 4). The main goal was to create a powerful department that focused on the country’s homeland security. The government was also keen to implement powerful initiatives and practices to protect lives and empower many people to achieve their potential.

During the same year, most of the emirates across the UAE had managed to develop their own departments with clearly defined objectives and visions (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.). Over the years, all departments in every emirate collaborate, exchange ideas, and share resources in an attempt to improve security in this country. In an attempt to make the UAE Civil Defense efficient, the UAE implements powerful regulations and presents adequate material and human resources.

Organizational Structure

The UAE Civil Defense has a simple structure that ensures that it achieves most of its objectives and goals. The leader of this agency is the Directorate General. He or she is deputized by assistant directors for smart services, resources and support services, fire and rescue, and safety and protection affairs. The role of each assistant director’s office depends on the specific field or service (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.).

The Directorate General usually collaborates with four departments in order to deliver positive results. These include policies and decision support, inspection and control, government communication, and strategy and future (see Chart 1). A simple decision-making process is considered in order to deliver positive results and respond to emerging disasters in a timely manner. The developed structure empowers different departments to work synergistically, solve emerging issues, and deliver the outlined homeland security goals.

UAE civil defense organizational structure.
Chart 1: UAE civil defense organizational structure.

Another important issue to note is that each emirate has its unique civil defense department. Generally, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) is the source of general command for this agency. The government presents adequate funds and resources in order to safeguard lives, the environment, and property. Chandrasekaran (2014) believes that the nature of this structure explains why the country has continued to record positive commercial and industrial performances. The future is also expected to deliver meaningful results and empower many people to achieve their potential.

Goals and Objectives

The objectives of the UAE Civil Defense can be understood by analyzing its vision. Currently, the agency strives to make the country one of the safest across the world. With this kind of knowledge, it is evident that the organization embraces the most appropriate strategies to provide adequate protection to all citizens, government assets, and private property. Whenever pursuing these objectives, this agency complies with existing international guidelines, procedures, and norms. The key areas targeted include environmental protection and conservation, firefighting, rescue operations, disaster mitigation, and disaster response (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.).

Another unique objective is to ensure the UAE attains its transportation and communication goals by maintaining the highest level of safety. It also implements appropriate strategies and measures to protect both public and private facilities across the country (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.). It has always been involved in the establishment, management, and prediction of the UAE’s wealth status whenever there is a regional war, public disaster, or emergency. These initiatives make it possible for the government to identify or implement evidence-based measures to ensure that the country is on the right path.

Duties and Services: Summary

  • Predicting and responding to disasters.
  • Preparing and implementing efficient protection programs.
  • Preparing and implementing evacuation strategies.
  • Training citizens and preparing preventative programs.
  • Approving drawings, plans, systems, and transport vehicles.
  • Approving vehicles that transport hazardous materials.
  • Providing awareness programs focusing on firefighting, rescue efforts, and personal safety.

UAE Civil Defense’s Roles in Homeland Security

The UAE government understands that the country faces numerous threats from different sources. Such predicaments can disorient its economy and make it impossible for various departments and agencies to provide exemplary services to the citizens they serve. The establishment or creation of the UAE Civil Defense was informed by these issues affecting every country across the Middle East (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.).

This move would result in a powerful agency that works across the clock to promote security, respond to emergencies, and inspect facilities. Any attack on a public resource or facility can affect numerous processes and make it impossible for many people to achieve their potential (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d). The wide-ranging roles, objectives, and duties of the UAE Civil Defense are mainly aimed at keeping the country safe.

Several initiatives have been put into consideration in order to ensure that the intended homeland security objectives are met. The first one is that the government initiated powerful mechanisms to ensure that each emirate had its civil defense department. Such an approach would make it easier for the agencies to collaborate and work synergistically to deliver positive results. The creation of different sub-departments in each emirate’s Civil Defense is something that has resulted in improved response mechanisms (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.).

Such departments assist in a wide range of operations, including restoring life after a disaster, supporting rescue missions or efforts, establishing volunteer teams whenever needed, and providing adequate resources to achieve every outlined objective. In the wake of modern technological developments, the UAE Civil Defense has considered the need for new departments or units that can focus on the current problem of cyber-terrorism and implement appropriate mechanisms (Imranuddin, 2017). These achievements can make it possible for the government to pursue its economic goals and empower all citizens to pursue their objectives. The major services and duties the UAE Civil Defense pursues are described in the sections below.


The UAE Civil Defense undertakes a wide range of roles that are aimed at supporting the goals of the MoI. The first outstanding responsibility is that of protecting lives, the leading sources of national wealth, property, and critical infrastructure during war or emergency situations. This organization focuses on this role by ensuring that all the departments and agencies within the country’s internal or homeland security work synergistically (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.).

This unit or organization coordinates various activities and actions that can deliver desirable outcomes. During war times, the UAE Civil Defense liaises with the relevant ministries and organizations in an attempt to safeguard most of the resources and assets that support economic performance and development. Alqassim and Daeid (2014) indicate that the successful protection of lives and property is something that can secure the country’s competitiveness in the region and across the globe. This is the reason why the government offers adequate support to the agency.

Disasters are usually unpredictable in most of the regions facing the threats of terrorism and extreme weather conditions. Ibish (2017) indicates that an occurrence such as a bomb explosion can destabilize operations and make it impossible for different agencies or government organizations to provide high-quality services to most of the citizens they serve. This issue is what informs the second role the UAE Civil Defense takes seriously. Since the 1980s, this bureau has been keen to predict potential disasters and crises in every emirate in the UAE. It goes further to formulate appropriate plans for managing, mitigating, and responding to every unpredicted occurrence.

The organization goes further to establish and support a number of outfit emergency response and management centers. These units work synergistically and collaborate with the others departments in the affected region (Ibish, 2017). For example, a collapsed building in one of the busiest cities in the country, such as Dubai, can attract police departments, firefighters, and health professionals to respond to the disaster. The existence of emergency management centers is an evidence-based initiative that ensures that positive results are realized in a short time, thereby protecting the greatest number of lives.

Another important role that the UAE Civil Defense undertakes is that of preparing and implementing appropriate disaster protection programs. Past case studies from different parts of the world have revealed that many tragedies claim the lives of many citizens (Ibish, 2017). The number of casualties is usually high when the affected region or facility lacks an effective crisis response mechanism (Alqassim & Daeid, 2014).

This observation continues to encourage all leaders and managers in this agency to predict potential disasters and prepare appropriate protection programs. Although such measures do not make different regions or cities immune to potential tragedies, the outstanding fact is that they reduce damages and empower many people to respond effectively. For example, this agency sets general alarm systems for residents and visitors whenever there is a predicted emergency situation. Ibish (2017) believes that this approach makes it possible for every Civil Defense in each of the emirate to move closer to its vision. Consequently, many cities in the country are safe and capable of supporting people’s goals. They also continue to host many tourists and citizens every day.

The occurrence of an artificial or natural disaster can disorient the lives of many people, affect the effectiveness of different critical infrastructures, destroy property, and disorient communication and transport operations. This means that every city or region in the UAE should have a powerful agency that can coordinate rescue operations and promote the most appropriate response mechanisms. The UAE Civil Defense is known to form superior teams to carry out the most appropriate relief and response operations after a given disaster. The ultimate objective is to support all the affected persons and ensure that more casualties are not recorded.

Homeless victims and those who lack adequate food tend to benefit significantly from such teams (Ibish, 2017). The established groups collaborate with different units and organizations throughout the period in order to achieve the intended goals. This agency also ensures that every team gets adequate support and resources to deliver the intended services. The organization requires that such teams participate in restoration efforts. This agency pursues such an initiative to ensure that life is back to normal.

Dubai is a leading destination in the Middle East and across the continent. Over the years, the number of people visiting the region for business, recreation, tourism, and medical purposes has increased significantly. This development has made Dubai a favorite target for terrorists, arsonists, and criminals (Ibish, 2017). A single disaster in this city can affect the lives of many people and bring numerous operations and activities to a stop. This explains why there is an active Civil Defense department in Dubai. This organization prepares appropriate shelters and evacuations for all residents in the city whenever a tragedy strikes. Such initiatives can make it possible for many citizens to overcome the negative effects of disasters and pursue their economic goals.

The survival and effective performance of the UAE Civil Defense are crucial goals the agency’s topmost leaders take into consideration. The law requires that such individuals identify and prepare the right procedures and strategies that can make the organization successful. In order to achieve these aims, all managers focus on the most appropriate initiatives to manufacture or purchase equipment and tools that the agency needs (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.).

They examine existing homeland security demands and match them with the available resources. The individuals go further to communicate with different stakeholders in order to acquire the right materials or tools (Ibish, 2017). The top management takes the concept of continuous improvement seriously. The reason for doing so is to improve the operations of this agency and support its objectives. The information is then shared with the other units in each emirate in order to improve the country’s internal security. These initiatives have continued to sustain the operations and activities of the UAE Civil Defense.

The Civil Defense prepares evidence-based joint evacuation training programs for different regions and communities. It achieves such a goal by monitoring and predicting some of the potential risks and threats many people face. This knowledge results in educational programs that can meet the needs of both the targeted volunteers and civilians. It informs members of society about the best strategies to protect themselves against injuries and damages.

This agency examines past case studies in an attempt to prepare evidence-based evacuation programs that can support its vision and mission (Alqassim & Daeid, 2014). Different stakeholders are involved throughout the process to produce superior programs, including non-governmental organizations, police departments and units, public corporations, and government-sponsored institutions. Leaders at the agency encourage volunteers to engage in desirable practices and train more people to protect themselves whenever there is an attack or disaster.

Prevention is another area that the UAE Civil Defense does not take lightly. Many professionals in the field of homeland security acknowledge that governments should consider appropriate mechanisms to protect lives and property from potential disasters or threats (Doro-on, 2014).

The use of preventative measures is something that can encourage and guide many people to predict calamities or attacks. A good example is that this organization prepares appropriate educational programs that can create awareness and empower many citizens in different communities to safeguard themselves from possible disasters. Individuals are guided, trained, and empowered to respond effectively to fire outbreaks, accidents, or threats from terrorist groups. Such preventive awareness programs have continued to meet the changing needs of many citizens in different parts of the country.

Finally, the UAE Civil Defense coordinates and monitors the operations of various regional or emirate departments. This central main body understands that all units should collaborate to identify and mitigate disasters and threats. All leaders offer assistance and continuous support to every department. This initiative ensures that the units achieve the targeted objectives in a timely manner (Alqassim & Daeid, 2014). The UAE Civil Defense ensures that such departments share emerging programs and ideas and communicate the same to the intended beneficiaries. These measures create the best environment for implementing coordinated efforts and responding efficiently to occurrences that might have far-reaching security impacts on this country.


On top of the above roles and responsibilities, the UAE Civil Defense offers numerous services that are important to the integrity of the country’s homeland security. Most of the procedures are usually aimed at supporting the existing systems and frameworks that can result in improved security. This agency must also collaborate with different organizations, institutions, utility firms, and security organs (Katzman, 2018). Such a practice encourages different stakeholders to meet the stipulated minimum requirements and ensure that potential threats are identified.

The first service the UAE Civil Defense undertakes is approving executive drawings for prevention and safety systems. This is usually intended to promote the implementation of plans that can support the country’s homeland security agenda. According to this agency, systems and drawings should fulfill the required specifications in order to be approved. Inappropriate ones are censured because they can jeopardize buildings and facilities by making them vulnerable (Katzman, 2018). The approval process also makes it possible for the agency to conduct its operations effectively because it informs different workers about the plans.

Gas cylinder transport vehicles can become prime targets for terrorists and criminals planning to destroy property, damage infrastructure, and disorient operations in a given region. Every truck involved in this business has to meet the outlined requirements if it is to be safe for different users. This is the reason why the second service this agency offers is to approve such vehicles. The expectation is that such trucks should conform to the provided guidelines (“Dubai Civil Defense,” n.d.).

This initiative is necessary because it is capable of protecting human life. Similarly, there are vehicles whose main role is to transport hazardous chemicals and materials from region A to B. Such tanks most of the companies in this industry use should meet the outlined specifications in order to minimize chances of injury and environmental degradation (Doro-on, 2014). The UAE Civil Defense takes this issue seriously. As part of the internal security objectives, this agency approves such tanks and provides the required documentation. This service has continued to support the goals of many stakeholders in the transport industry while at the same time protecting the lives of many citizens, natural habitats, and assets.

Another service associated with the UAE Civil Defense is that of approving the application for gas and décor drawings designs. This is an area that different departments consider because of the dangers associated with it. Appropriate drawings should be able to minimize the chances of attacks. The designs should be presented in such a way that they do not disorient rescue efforts and procedures whenever there is a disaster (Ibish, 2017). This service makes it possible for the country’s critical agencies and departments to respond effectively to various disasters.

This agency also scrutinizes engineering plans and drawings before implementation. These are usually known as preliminary plans and drawings. The approval procedures focus on aspects such as integrity, professionalism, sustainability, budget, and potential impacts on the natural environment. Engineers and experts working for the Civil Defense examine how every proposed structure can hinder or support rescue operations (Doro-on, 2014). Unaddressed issues or concerns are highlighted whenever the agency fails to approve a given preliminary drawing or plan.

The agency has been on the frontline to commend all vehicles transporting hazardous materials across the country. This practice ensures that various companies or investors in the sector comply with the requirements for licensing. This initiative is aimed at ensuring that all hazardous materials are disposed of properly in an attempt to minimize the chances of environmental pollution and injuries (Alqassim & Daeid, 2014). This service is in accordance with the agency’s goals and objectives. This means that it focuses on appropriate transportation and handling procedures for these materials in order to protect more lives. The agency also provides establishments licensing. This is done to make sure all structures adhere to the stipulated guidelines.

The UAE Civil Defense offers educational programs to guide, empower, and encourage more citizens to take the issue of homeland security seriously. For example, different regional departments have been providing awareness campaigns and lectures to citizens in the country. Most of these programs have been focusing on the best approaches and procedures to fight fire outbreaks, rescue people, and deliver aid (Katzman, 2018). Beneficiaries learn how to respond to disasters, protect themselves from injury, and support other people’s demands. These successful services have made it possible for the country to improve its internal security.

This agency provides lectures on preventive safety practices. For example, the Dubai Civil Defense has partnered with different institutions and organizations in the emirate to provide adequate instructions to many citizens. Such an initiative continues to train individuals on how to protect themselves from potential disasters or threats. This means that the practice has made it possible for the UAE Civil Defense to safeguard the lives of many citizens and make it possible for them to pursue their goals in life (Ibish, 2017). From this analysis, it is notable that most of the above services and roles improve or support the country’s homeland security agenda.


The activities and responsibilities associated with the UAE Civil Defense have made it possible for this nation to achieve its economic goals. The coordinated efforts of every department ensure that the agency addresses emerging issues within the shortest time possible.

However, modern technological changes and developments continue to pose numerous challenges that this organization should take into consideration. This means that there is a need for the agency to introduce new procedures or initiatives, transform its operational model, and embrace the power of new technologies. With this kind of information, the first proposal is for this organization to embrace the power of emerging innovations or computer systems (Imranuddin, 2017). Such a strategy will empower it to protect more citizens from threats, such as bioterrorism and chemical attacks.

The second proposal is for this agency to introduce an emergency operations center (EOC) to manage all the major challenges that might disorient life in every emirate. Additionally, all departments can be merged or connected using M2M technology (Imranuddin, 2017). This new model will improve the levels of coordination, response, and performance. It will also be possible for the organization to solve emerging challenges that might affect performance.

There is also a need for the organization to improve its firefighting services by making them more proactive. Alqassim and Daeid (2014) indicate that a reactive approach exists whereby the agency responds to fire outbreaks in an attempt to safeguard lives. The introduction of preventative measures will make it possible for the UAE to deal with incidents before they occur. The introduction of modern firefighting equipment and technologies will also support this proposal, improve surveillance and monitoring systems, and eventually maximize safety.

The example of the Dubai Civil Defense is appropriate since it is currently using modern technologies to monitor potential fire outbreaks. This approach will ensure that firefighters are dispatched immediately whenever there is an emergency (Chandrasekaran, 2014). This state-of-the-art technology is capable of supporting the agency, thereby being in a position to achieve most of its objectives.

Finally, it would be necessary for this agency to present superior guidelines that will require all buildings to have appropriate fire safety devices or equipment. Such systems should also be connected to the Civil Defense’s relevant department (Katzman, 2018). This means that an automated message will always be received by the control room whenever there is a disaster. This agency can introduce similar ideas in different assets to ensure that it responds swiftly to possible threats or attacks that might threaten the country’s homeland security.


The above research paper has revealed that the UAE Civil Defense is a government-sponsored agency that undertakes numerous roles and activities to protect the lives of all citizens, public and private property, critical infrastructures, and industries. It partners with different organizations in an attempt to tackle a wide range of emergencies, including fire outbreaks, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. It also provides different services that are aimed at maximizing the level of internal security in the UAE. The introduction of superior procedures, technologies, and models will transform this agency and make it easier for it to support the United Arab Emirates’ homeland security agenda.


Alqassim, M. A., & Daeid, N. N. (2014). Fires and related incidents in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2006-2013). Case Studies in Fire Safety, 2, 28-36. Web.

Chandrasekaran, R. (2014). . The Washington Post. Web.

Doro-on, A. M. (2014). Risk assessment and security for pipelines, tunnels, and underground rail and transit operations. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Dubai Civil Defense. (n.d.). Web.

Ibish, H. (2017). . Web.

Imranuddin, M. (2017). A study of cyber laws in the United Arab Emirates. Web.

Katzman, K. (2018).. Web.

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"The Role of United Arab Emirates Civil Defense in Homeland Security." IvyPanda, 16 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-united-arab-emirates-civil-defense-in-homeland-security/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Role of United Arab Emirates Civil Defense in Homeland Security'. 16 July.

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