According to a deal recently brokered by the Trump administration, the United Arab Emirates and Israel are establishing full diplomatic relations, which could mean inroads for tourism, direct flights and embassies.
Kodiak’s own Jay Baldwin became a diplomat of sorts when he visited the UAE capital of Dubai in December of last year.
Baldwin didn’t visit the city as a tourist or ambassador, but as a student of security tactics.
Baldwin’s business, J’Sound, added a security component, A-TAC (Alaska, Threat-Security, Alarms and Consulting), which provides video security and other security needs to home and business owners and various agencies.
Baldwin said that changes and advances in security scenarios and systems require ongoing education, which he received in Dubai.
Baldwin has also attended classes in Oxford, England, New York and Las Vegas.
Baldwin was mentored by a certified instructor who also helped him become vetted. This process made it possible for him to become a security professional.
“That (vetting process) took about nine months. The Security Institute had to do background checks on me,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin will be going to England, where he will receive official certification as a vetted security professional.
Baldwin gained knowledge of security through his experience as a National Guard sergeant in Iraq.
He and his troops were involved in mounted and dismounted patrols, such as clearing buildings.
Following his time in Iraq, Baldwin participated in U.N. peacekeeping training in Mongolia. His work included protecting food distribution points and conducting riot control.
Baldwin has been attending classes in Dubai and other places so that he can “keep up on current events and technology that’s on the market,” he said.
“I wanted to be educated on the civilian sector of security to complement the military training.”
Baldwin said his most recent trip to the Middle East, in Dubai, was much different than his previous tour as a National Guardsman.
In Dubai, Baldwin stayed in a plush hotel.
“I was very blessed. I splurged a little bit,” he said.
But Baldwin had little time to relax in his hotel. He attended classes daily, some lasting 11 hours or more.
“Two of my classmates were Arabs. They were just swell people,” said Baldwin. One of his classmates was from Malaysia and another was a former KGB agent from Russia.
This was Baldwin’s first trip to the UAE.
“There’s so many different cultures, all together, and no issues. It’s amazing,” he said.
In his discussions with locals, Baldwin learned that Dubai is a relatively safe place.
“They have no problem with crime. People of different cultures accept each other. We had a mosque right outside the hotel,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin, who is fascinated by people from different cultures, is considering attending a security course in South America.
The main purpose of his travels is not related to culture, but safety. He wants to keep up with the latest security equipment and strategies.
‘Times are changing. Kodiak, as well as the rest of the world, needs to stay updated on security and strategies,” Baldwin said.
“I think (Kodiak is) metamorphosing in that direction. More people are looking at security systems. People are getting an education not just in security but liability.”
Baldwin always welcomes new opportunities to learn about effective security. Besides providing security systems as a business, he serves as first sergeant of the Alaska State Defense Force, an all-volunteer organization with origins in the Alaska Territorial Guard founded by Maj. Marvin “Muktuk” Marston.
Consisting of first responders, the Alaska Defense Force is an augmentation to the National Guard. Its primary mission is disaster response and homeland security.
Baldwin, who served in the National Guard for 27 years and was in charge of the Kodiak National Guard Armory for 24 years, was the first to sign on with the Defense Force. He inducted friends from the guard to beef up the numbers.
It’s obvious from Baldwin’s experiences in the military and private sector that security is his business.