As a small state, Qatar’s defense policy is focused on self-defense and the strategy of sheltering, both of which are achieved through major investments in its military and internal security. The State has allocated at least $6.5 billion in defense expenditures for 2019. Such investments have been a major contributing factor in securing Qatar as one of the safest countries in the world with the seventh-lowest crime rate, according to the World Economic Forum.
Historically, Qatar has been a major defense partner to the United States, starting most notably after Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when the US-Qatar Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was signed. DCA has since then been renewed twice, each time for 10 years in December 2002 and December 2013. The defense pact covers US arms sales to Qatar, US troop presence in Qatar, and the importance of interoperability. The US and Qatar also share a strong partnership through their involvement in the 33-nation Combined Maritime Force (CMF) Task Force-152. Qatar’s Navy and Coast Guard make up the largest maritime contribution to this task force, led by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet. In January 2019, the second annual “Strategic Dialogue” between the US and Qatar took place in which both parties reaffirmed their intent to combat international terrorism.
This report focuses on four strategic areas that have been identified as opportunities for Virginia companies:
- Equipment and infrastructure
- Border security
- Physical training and security
- Cyber security
This report further examines the current landscape of the Qatari Defense and Security sector, current military and defense projects, and provides insight into entering the market.
As Qatar continues to grow, prior to and after the 2022 FIFA World Cup, defense expenditures will continue to rise. Qatar will continue to procure mostly American-made defense articles over the coming years, and is seeking American training for its forces and personnel. Physical security on the ground in Qatar is also critical for the State, both for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and to prolong the growth of its private sector and the development of Doha as a regional economic hub. Thus, opportunities will continue to exist for American companies to provide security services and technologies.