The Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) numbers about 9,000 (July 2004 est.) personnel and consists of army, navy, air force, air defense, and royal guard units. The public security forces and the coast guard are separate from the BDF and report to the Ministry of the Interior. Bahrain's defense spending since 1999 has been steady. The government spends around $440 million annually on their military, about 20% of current expenditures. The reconstituted parliamentary process has produced spirited debate over government spending, particularly defense spending, but no actual reductions.
With the help of the U.S. and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain has made significant efforts to upgrade its defense systems and increase the modernity of its armed forces over the last 20 years. In 1982, the GCC gave Bahrain $1.7 billion for this purpose. Since the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. has provided military and defense technical assistance and training to Bahrain from foreign military sales (FMS), commercial sources, excess defense article sales (EDA) and under the International Military and Education Training (IMET) program. The U.S. Office of Military Cooperation in Bahrain is attached to the U.S. Embassy and manages the security assistance mission. U.S. military sales to Bahrain currently total $1.6 billion. Principal U.S. military systems purchased by the BDF include eight Apache helicopters, 54 M60A3 tanks, 12 F-16C/D aircraft, 14 Cobra helicopters, and the TPS-59 radar system. Bahrain has received $200 million in U.S. EDA since 1995.
Joint air and ground exercises have been planned and executed to increase readiness throughout the Gulf.
An Overview :
|Military branches||Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF): Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Navy, Air Force, National Guard|
|Military service age and obligation||18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)|
|Manpower available for military service||males age 18-49: 202,126 (2005 est.)|
|Manpower fit for military service||males age 18-49: 161,372 (2005 est.)|
|Manpower reaching military service age annually||males: 6,013 (2005 est.)|
|Military expenditures - dollar figure||$628.9 million (2004)|
|Military expenditures - percent of GDP||6.3% (2004)|