Kuwait hosted visits by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Joseph Votel in December 2017 amid continued cooperation between U.S. and Kuwaiti military units on the ground.
Mattis, who met with Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and Minister of Defense Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, praised the role Kuwait has played since its liberation in 1991.
“It’s a very open, transparent, honest relationship,” the U.S. defense secretary said. “They’ll tell you what they think right up front about any issue if asked, and we do ask them. Routinely, I’ll go to them for advice.”
A visit by Gen. Votel a few days later included discussions with Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti Army Lt. Gen. Mohammad Khaled Al-Khadher. Defense cooperation was on the agenda.
Meanwhile, forces from both countries spent much of the fall of 2017 engaged in joint training. Kuwait sent 34 military police and 14 members of the Amiri Guard to train with U.S. counterparts for five weeks through October 30.
Soldiers improved skills such as controlling riots, applying first aid, operating convoys and detaining suspects.
During the same period, U.S. Army troops and Kuwaiti Land Forces shared operational methods and enhanced interoperability during artillery training in the desert. One of the highlights was a demonstration of the firepower of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
HIMARS consists of anti-personnel rocket batteries mounted on heavy trucks for extra mobility.
“This was my first opportunity to view the HIMARS. I was impressed by the teamwork, smooth flow, and coordination between the tent and launcher,” said Kuwaiti Col. Salem A. Al-Hosenan, commander of the 23rd Multi-Launch Rocket System field artillery battalion. “This crew operates with safety in mind.”