External Strategic Pressures
Saudi national security must respond to a wide range of external strategic pressures in addition to potential threats. Saudi Arabia must respond to strategic pressures from its Gulf allies and the United States, the impact of regional conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian war, and a wide range of other problems. In many ways, the problem of alliances is as difficult for Saudi Arabia as the problem of potential threats.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
The Kingdom must deal with the result of a decades-long failure to create effective regional security structures. There have been token forces and token exercises, many meetings, and many speeches, reports, and documents. However, there has been little progress in integrating the security efforts of the South Gulf states and in making their forces more interoperable. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors may not have committed self-inflicted wounds, but they have certainly created self-inflicted vulnerabilities.
The most serious self-inflicted military vulnerability is the failure to create a better integrated approach to defense planning and operations through the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Although the GCC was formed in 1980, in reaction to the Iran-Iraq War and the fall of the shah, there has been a consistent failure to develop proper mission specialization and interoperability and a continuing tendency on the part of many individual states to buy weapons and technology for their "glitter factor." Member states have underfunded manpower quality, readiness, sustainability, and projection/maneuver capability.
PROGRESS WITHOUT PROGRESS. The problem has not been that there is no progress; it is rather the rate of progress and the resulting ineffectiveness and waste. Every development in military cooperation between the GCC members