DUBAI — Despite a strong US push, development of an integrated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ballistic missile defense program has seen little progress over the past two years.
A specialist team of GCC ballistic missile defense representatives met Aug. 3-6 in Kuwait to coordinate the development of the program, according to a Kuwaiti Armed Forces statement.
“Such periodic meetings [are] aimed at achieving greater coordination and harmony, unifying efforts as well as experience sharing between the leaders of the air defense corps of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” said Kuwaiti Armed Forces Brig Gen Adel Hadrami, chairman of the meeting.
The meeting, according to the head of the GCC General Secretariat for Military Affairs, Lt. Col. Abdullah Al Tunaiji, was aimed at achieving a unified working system among GCC countries.
“These meetings contribute to strengthening the GCC joint action and work to achieve a unified working system for the GCC countries,” Al Tunaiji said, according to the statement released by the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.
Despite these efforts, a GCC source told Defense News that no agreement was reached among the representatives in Kuwait.
“A large part of the discussion was with regards to the establishment of a command-and-control center in Abu Dhabi,” the source said, on condition of anonymity
“The center was nominated to be operated by Saudi personnel, however, not all member states agreed to that and refused to submit control of their air defenses,” the source added.
Last year, GCC air defense commanders said at the Middle East Missile Defence Symposium that failure to implement the system has been blamed on international policies that have hampered integration by military commanders.
Brig. Gen. Majed Al Nuaimi, commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Missile Defence Brigade at the time, told audiences that interoperability restrictions between GCC countries, NATO countries and the US prevent data-sharing and limit training.
“Preventing partner countries from sharing data with friendly forces impacts the development of an integrated system,” Al Nuaimi said. “The current policies limit our training capabilities and foreign disclosure policies need to be reviewed to enhance our bilateral training needs.”
Interoperability policy changes will enable forces to practice the rules of engagement and develop coalition tactics, techniques and procedures, he added…