Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ministerial leaders are seen during the 34th summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Kuwait City on Dec. 10. (Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBAI — The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will have a force of 100,000 members under the newly announced and US-backed Joint Military Command, according to Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of the National Guard .
“There will be a unified command of around 100,000 members, God willing. I hope it will happen soon, and the National Guard is ready for anything that is asked of it,” Prince Miteb was quoted as saying by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) earlier this week.
The announcement by Prince Miteb comes less than one week after US President Barack Obama issued a directive to Congress to facilitate for the GCC defense article sales and defense services under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act.
The joint command, according to a high-level GCC official quoted in Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, has been agreed to be headquartered in Riyadh.
The new command's implementation has been mandated to the GCC Military Committee, an advisory committee to the secretary general. According to a paper by US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Glenn Kuffel published by the Naval War College, the GCC Military Committee is the closest organization the GCC has to a Joint Staff. "Although not empowered in any way similar to the U.S. Joint Staff, it has standardized 90 to 95 percent of the GCC country's army doctrine," the report read.
The committee, now working on the set up of the command, is compromised of approximately 100 officers from throughout the GCC.
Currently the GCC has a 40,000-strong Peninsula Shield Force commanded by Maj. Gen. Mutlaq Bin Salem Al Azima in its permanent base at King Khalid Military City in Hafar Al Batin, Saudi Arabia.
A second headquarters was announced in April this year to be established in Bahrain.
Fahd Al-Shulaimi, president of Gulf Security and Peace Forum, emphasized the significance of the joint military command and said it would strengthen GCC military cooperation.
“There is a difference between the Peninsula Shield and the joint command, as the latter will coordinate joint efforts and set out plans to confront threats. Its main goal is to bolster the defense of GCC states,” he told Al-Arabiya news channel