"It is important to our national interests that we continue to engage
broadly with the Saudi military and to strengthen our cooperation in such
vital areas as air and missile defense, ballistic missile early warning,
critical infrastructure protection, and our efforts to degrade and disrupt
extremist elements in the region," Centcom said in a report.
On Oct. 20, President Barack Obama formally approved a $60 billion
military deal with Saudi Arabia. Officials said the aircraft
project contains numerous options for training and would significantly
expand the U.S. military presence in the GCC state.
The report, submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee, said
Centcom has established a program management office to develop Saudi
security forces. Centcom said the two countries have also been engaged in
"The scale of Saudi Arabian capacity provides significant opportunity
for large-scale combined exercises like Red Flag and the Friendship series
as well as large numbers of other bilateral engagements," the report said.
"The Saudis have expended great effort in expanding participation in
regional military exercises and programs such as the annual Eagle Resolve
and Bright Star exercises."
Riyad and Washington were said to have been cooperating against the Al
Qaida threat. Centcom also cited U.S. military cooperation with other Gulf
Cooperation Council states.
"We also have a strong security relationship with the United Arab
Emirates, and we have expanded our partnerships with Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar
and Oman," the report said. "Kuwait is a pivotal partner that has been
instrumental in supporting our efforts in Iraq. Bahrain, as well, has been a
gracious host of the U.S. fleet for decades, while at the same time Qatar
has been host to one of our largest bases in the region and our forward
headquarters. Oman has continued to be a valuable partner in preserving
stability in the region."