An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The United States and Kuwait are working collectively towards the common goal of a stable, secure, and prosperous Middle East. Kuwait is also a vital U.S. partner on a wide range of regional security issues and a leader in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The United States works with Kuwait and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to increase cooperation on border security, maritime security, arms transfers, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism. The access, basing, and overflight privileges granted by Kuwait facilitate U.S. and Global Coalition  partners in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as operations against al-Qa’ida, and their regional and global affiliates.

In 1991, as part of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, U.S. military forces led a multinational coalition to expel the forces of the former Iraqi regime from Kuwait. Kuwait subsequently served as the major logistics base for U.S. and Coalition operations in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing up to 60 percent of its territory for coalition use. Kuwait also assisted with the drawdown of U.S. combat forces and equipment from Iraq that was completed in 2011.

Kuwait and the United States have a formal Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA). Approximately 13,500 U.S. forces are based in Kuwait, primarily at Camp Arifjan and Ali alSalem Air Base. Only Germany, Japan, and South Korea host more U.S. forces than Kuwait does. The United States currently maintains 2,200 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles in Kuwait. The majority of these vehicles are prepositioned for any necessary U.S. Army operations, and the remainder are contracted for distribution to partners throughout the region.

Since 2004, Kuwait has been designated as a Major Non-NATO Ally, which provides a number of benefits reserved to North Atlantic Treaty Organization and allied nations, including potential participation in cooperative Research and Development, priority delivery for Excess Defense Articles, and reciprocally-funded cooperative training.

The U.S. has $19.3 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with Kuwait under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. FMS sales notified to Congress are listed here,  and recent and significant prior sales include: M88A2 Recovery Vehicles, up to 28 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft, 218 M1A2 tanks, 15 Fast Patrol Boats, sustainment and contractor logistics support for AH-64D Apache Helicopters, and MIM-104E Patriot, AGM-114R Hellfire and AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles.

Since 2014, the U.S. has also authorized the permanent export of over $2.2 million in defense articles to Kuwait via the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) process. The top categories of DCS to Kuwait include: military electronics, fire control/night vision, and aircraft. In addition, Kuwait has been a reliable recipient of DCS as evidenced by their 100% favorable rate on Blue Lantern end use monitoring checks, well above the global average of 75%.

These defense sales have substantially developed the capacity of the Kuwait military to defend itself, combat terrorism, and promote regional security and stability.

The Ministry of Interior and the Kuwait National Guard have also partnered with the Embassy’s Office of Military Cooperation through the Joint and Combined Exchange Training program. This program works with local counterterrorism units via training and bilateral exercises to increase Kuwait’s counterterrorism capacity.

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. 

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future