The United States and Bahrain are working collectively toward the common goal of a stable, secure, and prosperous Middle East. Bahrain also is a vital U.S. partner on a wide range of regional security initiatives and a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The United States works with Bahrain and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to increase cooperation on border security, maritime security, military preparedness, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism. The access, basing, and overflight privileges granted by Bahrain facilitate U.S. operations against al Qa’ida and its regional and global affiliates.
Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and its logistical and operational support enables the United States to lead both the 34-nation Combined Maritime Forces coalition to counter piracy and terrorism and the multinational International Maritime Security Construct to support freedom of navigation and the unrestricted flow of commerce and energy resources through the Strait of Hormuz.
The U.S. has $6.08 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with Bahrain under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. FMS sales notified to Congress are listed here, and recent and significant prior sales include: Refurbishment of the Oliver Hazard Perry Class Ship, the former Robert G. Bradley; Patriot missile defense systems; F-16 aircraft upgrades and support; AH-1Z attack helicopters; guided multiple-launch rocket systems; 35-meter fast patrol boats, and TOW missiles.
Since 2016, the United States has also authorized the permanent export of over $389 million in defense articles to Bahrain via the direct commercial sales (DCS) process. The top categories of DCS to Bahrain include gas turbine engines, surface vessels of war, and fire control/night vision devices.
Since 2002, Bahrain has been designated a Major Non-NATO Ally, which provides a number of benefits reserved to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and allied nations, including potential participation in cooperative research and development, priority delivery for excess defense articles (EDA), and reciprocally-funded cooperative training. Since 2014, Bahrain has received the following via the EDA program: The Oliver Hazard Perry Class Ship Robert G. Bradley, M198 Howitzers, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, and the Mark V Special Operations Craft.
Since 2014, the U.S. has provided Bahrain with $22.5 million in Foreign Military Financing and $28.423 million in DoD military grant assistance to supply Bahrain with the equipment and training it needs to provide for its own defense and to operate effectively alongside U.S. air and naval forces. U.S. assistance has also strengthened Bahrain’s interoperability to enhance regional security and counterterrorism cooperation, boosted its maritime defenses against smuggling and terrorism, and improved its ability to deny terrorist sponsorship, support, and sanctuary in a manner that respects the human rights of its citizens.
Since 2014, the Department of State has provided Bahrain with $2.432 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET). Over 866 members of the Bahrain Armed Forces have received training in the United States, including 30 members in FY 2018. IMET provides professional military education and training to military students and is key to establishing lasting relationships with future leaders. IMET courses increase military professionalization, enhance interoperability with U.S. forces, offer instruction on the law of armed conflict and human rights, provide technical and operational training, and create a deeper understanding of the United States.
The United States Interagency Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Task Force provides training on MANPADS recognition and threats to aviation security to border security, aviation security, and defense personnel working on the front lines to fight illicit weapons proliferation. Since 2019, the MANPADS Task Force has provided MANPADS recognition and interdiction training to 33 Bahraini security officials.
The United States and Bahrain have a 1988 General Security of Military Information Agreement and a 2004 Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.