Security Partners: The Evolution of U.S.-Saudi Arabian Military Relations

  • Lt Col Christopher T Lay

The 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, U.S. policy in the Middle East emphasizes security through collaboration with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The United States and Saudi Arabia have had a long-standing relationship focused on regional stability and shared security interests. The closeness and strength of the U.S.-Saudi relationship stems from a long relationship based on common interests in oil, strategic regional stability, and Saudi security. The United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) to Saudi Arabia remains a foundational part of this relationship, focusing on “training, advising, and assisting” Saudi Arabian defense services. This military relationship remains intact today because of common interests and strategic objectives; however, it was not born overnight. Rather, the relationship required sixty tumultuous years to mature into what it is today. This is the story of that relationship’s evolution.