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US Holds Computerized Military Exercises in Qatar

High-tech U.S. war games in Qatar, which start Monday, will use computerized exercises to test the efficiency of a $100 million mobile command center assembled in the Gulf state.

The simulated maneuver is called "Internal Look," and it will not involve combat troops. Held at Qatar's As Sayliyah army base, near the capital, Doha, it is designed to check military readiness, communication, coordination and reaction to possible battle scenarios.

The exercise will test new communications-and-control technology designed to give senior officers at the base the ability to coordinate military units. Central Command officials say the mobile center can be moved to any one of the 25 areas that fall under its control. But officials have remained tight-lipped on details of the exercise. They have said that roughly 1,000 senior military participants will be involved, and hundreds of Americans will be flown in from the Florida command headquarters. There will also be participants from around the world bringing the total personnel involved into the thousands, according to a Central Command briefing.

U.S. Central Command chief General Tommy Franks will oversee the war games. He would command any U.S. military action against Iraq.

The state-of-the-art center is made up of portable buildings, tents, and a high tech communications system. It has 20 climate-controlled warehouses to shelter hardware, including tanks and armored vehicles.

Practice exercises have been held regularly by U.S. military commanders in the past, but the Qatar operation represents the first time the exercise has been held outside the United States.