U.S. Security Cooperation With Bahrain
Bahrain plays an important role in the security architecture of the Gulf region and is a vital U.S. partner on a number of major defense initiatives. A founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet and supports U.S.-led military coalitions, including the current international effort against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. As follow up to the May 14, 2015 Camp David summit, we are working with Bahrain and its GCC partners to increase cooperation on maritime security, military preparedness, arms transfers, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism. U.S. assistance enables Bahrain to continue obtaining the equipment and training it needs to provide for its own defense and to operate alongside U.S. air and naval forces. U.S. assistance also strengthens Bahrain’s interoperability for regional security and counterterrorism cooperation, boosts Bahrain’s maritime defenses against smuggling and terrorism, and improves Bahrain’s ability to deny terrorist sponsorship, support, and sanctuary in a manner that respects the human rights of its residents.
On June 29, 2015, the United States lifted restrictions on security assistance to the Bahrain Defense Force and National Guard that were implemented following Bahrain’s crackdown on demonstrations in 2011. Restrictions on assistance to the Ministry of Interior remain in place.
In August 2015, the U.S. announced an upcoming foreign military sale to Bahrain for F-16 follow-on support. This support will include equipment, ammunition, training, spare and repair parts, documentation, and the Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program, as well as other logistical and support services.
Through Foreign Military Financing, the United States allocated a total of $7.5 million in FY2015 in support of the development of Bahrain’s security assistance program.
The United States used nearly $600,000 of FY2015 resources for the International Military Education and Training program to train 100 Bahraini students. The FMF and IMET programs provide opportunities for members of the Bahraini armed forces to study alongside U.S. military personnel at U.S. educational institutions.
- Bahrain is an important and long-standing ally on regional security issues, working closely with the United States on the counter-ISIL campaign. Bahrain is also providing logistical and operational support for countering terrorism and maintaining freedom of navigation in the Gulf region. Bahrain has been a leader on efforts to counter ISIL’s financial network and also participates in the Coalition’s Strategic Communications Working Group, which seeks to counter ISIL propaganda and communications. Bahrain’s logistical and operational support through its hosting of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command enables the United States to lead a 30-nation military coalition that counters piracy and terrorism, and helps maintain the free flow of commerce and energy resources through the Strait of Hormuz.