CENTCOM leaders visit Saudi Royal Armed Forces

22 July 2022
TAMPA, Fla. - Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, along with Vice Adm. Charles “Brad” Cooper, commander of U.S. Navy Central, and Lt. Gen. Pat Frank, commander of U.S. Army Central, visited the Saudi Royal Armed Forces in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia July 20-21.

The visit is part of an ongoing multi-country trip to the CENTCOM area of responsibility. 

The Saudi Royal Armed Forces, who have had a codified security cooperation with the United States since 1951 and fought alongside the U.S. military during Operation Desert Storm, is a critical partner in the Middle East. This visit, the second by Gen. Kurilla to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and fifth to the region since taking command of CENTCOM in April, underscores the importance of that partnership.

While in Saudi Arabia, Gen. Kurilla engaged with Chief of General Staff, Gen. Fayyadh al-Ruwaili and other Saudi senior military leaders.

The leaders discussed matters of importance to both militaries and to the region, including opportunities to strengthen regional cooperation across an expanded network of security partners and ways to enhance security through employment of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology.

Gen. Kurilla visited multiple military sites including port operations along the Red Sea and a

Saudi Patriot battery defending Jeddah from missiles, rockets, and unmanned aerial systems. The Patriot crew members relayed their experience from multiple intercepts of Houthi attacks.

The American and Saudi military leaders also visited the US-Saudi Combined Expeditionary – Robotics Operations Center (CE-ROC) where they discussed cutting-edge maritime initiatives involving Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and unmanned surface and undersea vessels.

“The Saudis are all-in on partnering for innovation,” said Kurilla. “They understand the technology, the application of that technology, and they are leaning forward on its implementation. The Kingdom is poised for the future, and I look forward to a continued military partnership.”


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