The General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) represented by military affairs participated in the meeting held in Dammam, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia, from 23 December to 27 December 2018, in order to finalize planning for the 10th Joint Peninsula Shield exercise.
The meeting was attended by delegations of the armed forces of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Joint Peninsula Shield Command, the Air Operations Center, the United Air Force and the United Marine Center, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The Saudi Defense Ministry is organizing the month-long military exercise to enhance combat readiness, upgrade joint security and military agencies and bolster defense cooperation.
The Joint Peninsula Shield is considered the largest defense drill in the Middle East in terms of participating countries and weaponry.
In April 2018, ground, naval and air forces from 23 Arab and Islamic states joined the Saudi army, including four countries which ranked among the top ten strongest armies in the world.
Security forces affiliated with the Saudi Ministries of Interior and National Guard also took part in the military exercise.
According to the Saudi Ministry of Defense’s website, the military cooperation between the GCC member states has been characterized by a serious approach in building up and establishing the Peninsula Shield Joint Forces, whether it is in terms of quantity or quality.
Since its foundation, the Peninsula Shield Force has completed the following phases:
- Planning Phase (1981-1984)
- Formation Phase (1985-1989)
- Assessment Phase (1990-2004)
- Development Phase (2005-2015)
On 19 December 2005, GCC leaders gave their blessings to the recommendation made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to develop the Joint Peninsula Shield Force in order to strengthen and develop the Force and improve combat efficiency, the Saudi Ministry of Defense’s website added.
Considering the importance of Joint Planning and the practice of military exercises, it has been agreed that joint military exercises will be conducted by the Peninsula Shield Force on a permanent basis in cooperation with all armed forces of the GCC member states. In addition to these four-year rotational exercises, annual exercises will be held for the command centers.
On 19 September 2012, a unified military command was approved for the GCC states to plan and manage joint military operations and support and enhance defense capabilities of GCC member states to defend their land, airspace and sea. Works are currently being conducted to develop and operate this command.