On December 1st, the US State Department approved a possible $350 million deal to continue providing security support services to Saudi Arabia.
According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has asked that U.S. Security Assistance Office continue to provide support services for five more years.
The State Department gave the green light for a five-year extension of the programme which includes salaries for “U.S. Military, U.S. Government, and Foreign National staff members”.
It also covers administrative costs, logistical support, and taxes, as well as “future transition costs to move USMTM” to a new location in the kingdom.
US Central Command, on its website, describes the mission as a “unique security assistance (SA) and security cooperation (SC) organization under the authority of the chief of the U.S. diplomatic mission”.
Its aim is to “train, advise and assist” Saudi Arabia’s military, one of the best-funded in the world and a significant buyer of US arms.
“Our mission is to enhance U.S. national security through building the capability and capacity of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces (SAAF) to defend our common interests in the Middle East region,” it adds.
“This proposed sale will continue to improve Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by utilizing USMTM’s continued efforts to train, advise, and assist the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces to build defense capacity and capability through military exercises and professional military education. USMTM conducts non-combat, institutional advising that assists the MOD in developing, training, and sustaining a capable deterrent to regional threats,” the DSCA said.
Implementation of the proposed sale will continue to require the permanent assignment of approximately 330 U.S. Military, U.S. Government, and Foreign National USMTM staff members to Saudi Arabia.
Additional Training Advisory Field Teams (TAFT) and Support teams will travel to the country on a temporary basis as required.
Also, the sale will not be so significant as to alter the military balance in the region, meaning that Saudi Arabia will still likely continue losing the fight against Yemen’s Houthi.
“The proposed sale of this support and services will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
There is no prime contractor associated with this proposed sale. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.”
This is not final, as it must pass a vote:
“This notice of a potential sale is required by law. The description and dollar value is for the highest estimated quantity and dollar value based on initial requirements. Actual dollar value will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.”
In February 2016 the State Department approved a $200 million deal for military technical support services to Saudi Arabia.
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