To boost security in the Arabian Gulf, the Bahrain Defense Force conducted three days of military drills with U.S Naval Forces Central Command in January 2021.
The Fire Fist exercise included joint combat training encompassing land, sea and air. The tactical displays were designed to deter malign actors in the region, whether they were state or nonstate supported.
“The Fire Fist exercise came within the framework of exchanging experiences and raising the competence of the participants,” a Bahrain Defense Force spokesperson said.
A week after the conclusion of Fire Fist, the U.S. reaffirmed its security relationship with Bahrain when Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, visited the country.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa received Gen. McKenzie at Gudaibiya Palace, and Field Marshal Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa hosted the general at Bahrain Defense Force headquarters.
The Bahraini crown prince stressed the importance of the strategic security partnership between his country and the United States, a partnership exemplified by the presence of U.S. Navy 5th Fleet headquarters in Manama.
The U.S. Navy and its partners have enhanced maritime security by interdicting smugglers, deterring piracy, defending energy installations and protecting strategic waterways such as the Strait of Hormuz. Tankers carrying a large percentage of the world’s oil and gas transit the strait.