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Immediate Release

​Joint Statement: U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Defense Working Groups on Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Maritime Security

The United States and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held a meeting of U.S.-GCC Defense Working Groups on Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) and Maritime Security in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 22, 2024. 

Assistant Secretary General for Military Affairs Major General Eisa Al Mohannadi chaired the GCC delegation and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East Daniel Shapiro chaired the U.S. side. All GCC members attended the discussion, along with U.S. senior representatives from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Joint Staff, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

In the IAMD Working Group, attendees concurred on urgent and shared assessments of air threats in the region, including missiles and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that threaten regional stability of the GCC. The working group discussed multilateral efforts to counter shared threats in light of unprecedented destabilizing activities by malign actors in the Middle East. The Department of Defense and U.S. Central Command briefed on efforts to further strengthen and expand the successful integration of air and missile defense and early warning systems across the region. The United States and the GCC committed to prioritize IAMD and to work through multilateral mechanisms to develop IAMD capability in response to shared threats. All attendees are looking forward to the kick-off meeting for the GCC Early Warning Study, in cooperation with the MDA and DSCA, later this summer and agreed that the implementation of the Early Warning Study is accelerating laying the foundation for an eventual GCC integrated air and missile defense system.

In the Maritime Security Working Group, the group reiterated the importance of freedom of navigation and adherence to international law in regional waters. The United States and the GCC concurred on the importance of multilateral efforts to bolster information sharing and counter proliferation and to increase the effectiveness of combined interdictions. The working groups discussed the malign activities of the Houthi militias on maritime security, emphasizing the importance of international efforts that support maritime security in the region to maintain the flow of trade and energy to the world, and to review the current duties of the Combined Maritime Force (CMF) to include counter smuggling and strengthen intelligence cooperation for all participating states.

Both working groups advanced strategic cooperation between attendees, building on discussions at the 2023 round of Working Groups. The United States and GCC member states affirmed the importance of continuing periodic working groups to discuss IAMD and Maritime Security.