Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has chaired the first meeting of the Defence Council in Riyadh. The purpose of the Council is essentially to have a strategic overview of Saudi Arabia and its defence capability.
The meeting created governance councils to monitor key areas. These are; The Project Review and Investment Board, the Council of Services and Business, the Appointments Board and the Joint Military Council.
The Defence Council has been encouraged to look at an upgrade of military equipment and weapons and allied to that to look for more local locations for manufacturing.
With global politics being so fluid currently, dependence on another power for arms manufacture is not ideal, especially from the Saudi Arabian point of view that it may bring cause possible undue pressure with regard to decisions they may wish to take.
There is also an economic benefit to the local production of military hardware. It was announced in a report from the US Saudi Arabian Business Council that they hoped that the defence sector would provide $61.6 billion to the national gross domestic product by 2020, and also 2.52 million in new posts in the sector over the next ten years.
All of this is in line with the hopes and aspirations of the country’s Vision 2030, and the more recent situation where Saudi Arabia has been a lucrative market for foreign defence contractors, especially from the United States.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been the Defence Minister for just over four years, and it has been quite a tough few years with the crisis in Yemen and also the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It is clear that one of the purposes of the council is to provide a clear and defined chain of command should similar situations arise again.