GCC defence ministers have been urged to speed up efforts to develop their joint defence force, known as the Peninsular Shield. At a meeting of GCC defence ministers in Riyadh on 12 November, GCC Secretary-General Fahim Bin Sultan al-Qasimi urged a quick implementation of resolutions to boost military co-operation between the six member states. This had been a theme of the GCC summit of heads of state, held in the Saudi capital last December.
The GCC is understood to be committed to raising its combined defence force to 25,000 personnel.
The present force, deployed in northern Saudi Arabia, is made up of elements from all six states. According to the latest estimates in the Military Balance published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies the force consists of one infantry brigade with a strength of 7,000. Analysts say that development of the force has been hindered by failure to agree on an acceptable command structure.