Forces: September 28, 1999


The British Army formed the 16th Air Assault Brigade on 1 Sept to replace the 5th Airborne Brigade as its "spearhead" force. The Brigade includes an Apache helicopter battalion and three light infantry battalions. Two regiments of helicopters (Gazelle, Lynx) and the Royal Air Force helicopter force provide tactical mobility.--Stephen V Cole

The New Zealand government has rejected a report by the parliamentary committee on defense and foreign affairs that would have reduced the Air Force and Navy to build up the Army. The government said that the plan was isolationist. The committee is controlled by the opposition party.--Stephen V Cole

While Russia continues to boycott cooperation with NATO's military command, it has sent Colonel-General Viktor Zavarzin to NATO HQ to coordinate interactions between NATO and Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo.--Stephen V Cole

Bulgaria has drafted a new defense plan that will cut its military in half
(to 45,000) by 2004.--Stephen V Cole

September 19; Saudi Arabia, making the most of it's rapidly growing, and younger, population, is expanding its armed forces. Both of them. The original Saudi armed forces were tribal levies organized by Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia, in the 1920s. Knowing this tribal coalition to be fragile, a regular armed forces was set up. But since this more technically oriented force drew much of it's manpower from the less tribally oriented people in the towns and cities, the tribal troops were retained as a separate National Guard. With growing threats from Iraq and Iran, Saudi Arabia has expanded both forces and upgraded their equipment. Until the late 1980s, the Saudis still employed foreign mercenaries. No more. Except for trainers from the United States and a few other nations, the armed forces are all Saudi. And the armed forces is seen as a well paid, respected career by Saudi youth.


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