oversight

Perspectives on Military Sales to Saudi Arabia (Unclassified Digest of a Classified Report)

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-10-11.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                          DCCUMENT   RESUME
 03684 - [B2854099]

 Perspectives on Military Sales to Saudi Arabia (Unclassified
 Digest of a Classified Report). ID-77- 19; B-165731. October 11,
 1977.

Report to Sen. William Proxmire, Chairman, Joint Economic
Committee: Priorities and Economy in Government Subcommittee;   by
Elmer B. Staats, Comptroller General.
Issue Area: International Economic and Military Programs (600);
    International Economic and Military Programs: Foreign
    Military Sales (605).
Contact: International Div.
Budget Function: International Affairs: Conduct of Foreign
    Affairs (152).
Organization Concerned: Department of Defense; Department of
    State.
Congressional Relevance: Joint Economic Committee: Priorities
    and Economy in Government Subccmmittee.

          From fiscal year 1950 thr:ugh September 30, 1976,
 military sales agreements with Saudi Arabia totaled over $12.1
 billion. Sales began increasing in fiscal year 1972, and from
 1972 through September 1976 they amounted to &Bout $8.3 billion.
 Findings/Conclusions: The economic and political interests of
 the United States are directly related to Saudi Arabia's oil.
 The United States has assisted Saudi Arabia in defining its
defense needs, which are to protect its borders and oil fields,
and is helping the Saudis to develop their armed forces to meet
these needs through the sale of construction eguipment and
expertise and through training and management. The lack of Saudi
personnel has impeded the progress of some modernization
programs. This increases the probability that U.S. personnel
will be involved in Saudi Arab-a lcnger than originally planned.
Recommendations: In reviewing future Saudi Arabian requests for
additional aircraft, the Congress should request the Secretary
of Defense to provide information cn Saudi Arabia's progress
toward self-sufficiency in operating and maintaining its present
aircraft. The Congress should be aware that it could control, at
the time the basic agreement i proposed, th, sle of munitions
needed by fighter aircraft and tanks to Sbdi A:-bia. The
Secretary of State should furnish the Congress information on
agreements and implications related to future sales f
munitions. To effectively assess the Saudis' overall defense
needs and capabilities, the Secretary of Defense should have the
U.S. military services include the national guard forces in
future surveys of defense needs. The Secretary of Defense should
notify the Congress of the estimated number of U.S. military
personnel needed to carry out the proposed sale in the foreign
country and the impact on the military preparedness of the
United States of assigning such personnel. (Author/SC)
              This is an unclassified digest furnished in lieu of
              a report containing classified security information


           COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S           PERSPECTIVES ON MILITARY
           REPORT TO THE CONGRESS          SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA
                                           Departments of State and
brs                                          Defense

                   DIGEST
      (*           ~From fiscal year 1950 through September 30,
                  1976, military sales agreements with Saudi
                  Arabia totaled over $12.1 billion. Sales
                  began increasing in fiscal year 1972, and
                  from 1972 through September 1976 they
                  amounted to about $8.3 billion.

                  Saudi Arabia is important to the United
                  States for economic, political, and
                  geographic reasons. The economic and
                  political interests are directly related
                  to Saudi Arabia's oil. Over the years,
                  the two countries have enjoyed a good
                  relationship, and indications are that
                  the Saudis want this to continue. Con-
                  sequently, military sales must be viewed
                  in context with total U.S. interests in
                  Saudi Arabia,  (See p. 4.)
                  In the early 1970s, at the time of the
                 ~British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf,
                  Saudi Arabia began to modernize its armed
                  forces, which has led to increased U.S.
                  military sales and military involvement
                  in that country. This is expected to
                  continue for the foreseeable future.   (See
                  pp. 8, 9, and 13.)
                  The United States has assisted Saudi Arabia
                  i;,defining its defense needs, which, in
                  the absence of an imminent threat, appear
                  to be to protect its borders and oil fields;
                  it is helping the Saudis to develop their
                  armed forces to meet these needs through
                  sales of construction expertise, equipment,
                  training, and management. The Department
                     "fense   in defining Saudi Arabia's de-
                        z      :ments, did not explicitly in-
                                bilities of all Saudi forces,
                  paL.          ts national guard, for which
                  $1.8 big      f construction, equipment, and
                  trainin       cts are planned. Tc the extent

                       0 Allm   0i                                ID-77-19
that these forces were not considered, Saudi
Arabia's overall defense needs, as defined
by the Department of Defense, could have been
overstated. Tese forces should be considered
in future Department of Defense evaluations.
(See pp. 9, 10, 35, 37, and 40.)

About $42 million in military sales equipment
for the Saudi national guard modernization
program was being procured by the United
States from foreign sources. (See p. 37.)

Construction accounts for over 60 percent of
the value of U.S. military sales orders to
Saudi Arabia, and is managed by the U.S.
Army orps of Engineers. Indications are
that the Corps role will expand ane  ontinue
for several years. Such involvement can
increase U.S. influence in Saudi Arabia and
provide increased opportunities to U.S. con-
tractors and businessmen. (See pp. !A and
49.)
As of March 1977, S12 Department of Defense
personnel and approximately 2,961 contractor
personnel were involved in providing manage-
ment, training, and services for Saudi Arabia
under military sales agreements or commercial
contracts. Increases are planned for the
near future.   (See p. 19.)

The lack of Saudi personnel has impeded the
progress of some modernization programs,
thereby increasing the probability that
U.S. personnel will be involved in Saudi
Arabia longer than originally planned.
Though the number is presently small, de-
mands for skilled U.S. military people
to provide technical training to Saudi
Arabia for operating sophisticated equip-
ment purchased through the military sales
program are increasing. Nonetheless, the
continued U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia
could e important to the attainment of
U.S. security objectives.   (See pp. 27 and
41-42.)
Physical controls to prevent the unauthorized
use of mlitary..sales equipment and services
in Saudi Arabia appear to be difficult, if
                     .ii
not impossible, to achieve. An alternative
to pysical control of. equipment may be to
limit the amount of munitions sold in sup-
port of an equipment item, thereby limiting
the potential impact of an arms transfer.
(See pp. 51 t 53.)

RECOMMENDATIONS
In reviewing future Saudi Arabian requests for
additional aircraft, the Congress should re-
quest the Secretary of Defense to provide in-
formation on Saudi Arabia's progress toward
self-sufficiency in operating and maintaining
its present aircraft.  (See p.* 3A.)
The-Congress should be aware that it could
control, at the time .the basic agreement is
proposed, the sale of munitions needed by
fighter aircraft and tanks to Saudi Arabia.
The Secretary of State should furnish the
Congress information on agreements and im-
plications related to the future sale of
munitions such as air-to-air missiles, air-
to-surface missiles, ammunition for tank
guns, and so on. This information should
be furnished to the Congress at the time a
proposal for sale of the relevant hardware
is submitted to the Congress, to include the
estimated days of sustained combat that the
ammunition would permit. (See p. 53.)
To effectively assess the Saudis' overall
defense needs and capabilities; the Secre-
tary of Defense should have the U.S. mili-
tary services include the national guard
forces in future surveys of defense needs.
(See p. 40.)
The Secretary uf Defense should notify the
Congress of the estimated number of U.S.
military personnel needed to carry out the
proposed sale in the foreign country and the
impact on the military preparedness of the
United States of assigning such personnel.
(See p. 42.)




                    iii
Defense found the report to be objective and
factual but does not believe the recommenda-
tion relating to Saudi Arabia's progress in
operating and maintaining aircraft is viable.
Also, it believes the capability of national
guard forces have been adequately considered
in recent surveys of defense needs.

The Department of State and the Arms Control
and Disarmament Agency generally agreed with
this report. The agencies' specific comments
are addressed in the classified text.

GAO plans to issue an unclassified.version
of the report (ID-77-19A) which will be
available for general distribution.




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