US, Kuwait Strengthen Defense Ties at 15th Joint Military Commission

The 15th U.S.-Kuwaiti Joint Military Commission (JMC) took place in Kuwait City from May 20-21, 2024. The event was led by Lt. Gen. Bander Salem Al Muzaien, Chief of Staff of the Kuwait Armed Forces, and Daniel Shapiro, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East, representing the U.S. side. This annual forum is the premier venue for senior defense officials from both nations to address strategic issues and enhance their defense partnership.

Both delegations reaffirmed the strong bilateral strategic partnership and emphasized the importance of expanding their defense relationship. Lt. Gen. Al Muzaien and DASD Shapiro discussed regional security challenges, including border threats, maritime security, ballistic missiles, and uncrewed aerial systems, underscoring the need for close coordination amid regional challenges. They also reviewed bilateral defense initiatives, regional integration, and strategic competition.

The leaders highlighted the critical role of U.S. forces in the region and the importance of deepening interoperability between U.S. and Kuwaiti forces. They reiterated their commitment to strengthening air and missile defense integration and early warning systems across the Middle East.

Maj. Gen. Sean Salene, Director (J5) of U.S. Central Command, co-chaired the Military Cooperation subcommittee with Maj. Gen. Mohammad Al Dhafairi, Kuwait’s Assistant Chief of Staff. They focused on enhancing interoperability, military construction, and participation in CENTCOM’s women, peace, and security initiatives.

In the Security Cooperation subcommittee, Maj. Gen. Salene and Brig. Gen. Fahad Al-Otaibi, Kuwait’s Director of Military Cooperation, discussed key security programs, synchronized Foreign Military Sales and Procurement efforts, and identified further cooperation opportunities.–News Desk