Tying Together GCC Missile Defense

Even though several of the United States’ Gulf Cooperation Council partners have invested in “tremendous” missile defense capabilities, the US is advancing initiatives that aim to “better stitch together” those capabilities in a more coordinated and holistic manner, the State Department’s assistant secretary for arms control, verification, and compliance said July 24. Speaking at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies breakfast on Capitol Hill, Frank Rose said the United Arab Emirates will soon receive its first Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile battery, the first of two on order, and has already fielded PATRIOT PAC-3 missiles that provide lower tier point defense. Saudi Arabia and Qatar also have PATRIOTs, he noted. After the US-GCC summit in May at Camp David, Md., the US and its Gulf partners committed to several initiatives to build up a regional capability, develop a multilateral missile early warning system, and conduct a senior leader “tabletop exercise” on missile defense in the Gulf region later this year, Rose said. The US is also helping with a study for the GCC states to identify requirements, threats, and existing capabilities in the region and determine how to fill gaps. “We are seeking to … foster a culture of sharing of information,” Rose said, which will help US GCC allies recognize that their neighbors could enable better defense of their own territory from missile attack.