Saudi Arabia finally announced its much-hyped Saudi Vision 2030. According to its architect, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the strategy will eventually wean Saudi Arabia off of its “addiction” to oil. However, nestled in the plans to restructure Saudi Aramco, fundamentally alter the Kingdom’s subsidy program and create the largest Public Investment Fund on the planet are some surprising goals to develop a Saudi military industry. According to Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is the third largest purchaser of defense and military equipment but builds only 2% of that domestically.
How does the Kingdom plan to build a defense industry essentially from nothing? The same way Saudi Arabia built its successful oil industry and its successful construction industry: by investing in foreign technology and talent and bringing outsiders into the Kingdom to teach Saudis the skills they need to own and operate these industries in the future. This model has proven successful for the Saudis in the past and they clearly see no reason to deviate from it.
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