Organized by Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) in collaboration with the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, the Defense Technology and Security Conference concluded its sessions with the participation of more than a dozen high-profile speakers and over 100 industry leaders, advisors, regulators, and influencers who came to discuss and learn more about Saudi Arabia’s vision and strategic outlook in developing its defense industry with a special focus on technology and security as the two main components of the program.
As Saudi Arabia advances its historic Vision 2030 initiative to create a stronger, more stable business environment and greater opportunities for corporate partnerships, the Kingdom will experience transformational economic and social reform designed to unlock the potential of the Saudi people and ensure a prosperous future for both the country and region.
Comprising three panel discussions and held under the theme ‘Reinforcing Partnerships, Creating Value,’ the conference comes as part of the visit of H.R.H. Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia to the United States, which aims to further cement the U.S.-Saudi historical partnership and open up new vistas of opportunities.
H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb, Chairman of SAMI, welcomed the guests and underscored the importance of the conference theme to embody the depth of the historic and robust relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia – a relationship based on mutual commitment, trust, drive, and value.
Titled ‘Realizing the Vision, Developing the Defense Ecosystem,’ the second panel featured a stellar lineup of speakers, including H.E. Dr. Majid AlKassabi, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment; H.E. Eng. Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources; and H.E. Mr. Ahmed Al-Khateeb. The discussion outlined how Saudi Arabia is developing the defense ecosystem in the Kingdom and how this will ultimately realize the Saudi Vision 2030.
Featuring Dr. Andreas Schwer, CEO of SAMI; Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space, and Security; Kurt Amend, CEO of Raytheon Saudi Arabia; and Colin Mahoney, Senior Vice President of International and Service Solutions at Rockwell Collins, the second panel addressed how to create a value chain for a sustainable future, citing the tremendous progress Saudi Arabia has been witnessing and building on the historical U.S.-Saudi ties.
Moderated by John Hamre, CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the third and final panel explored ‘The Strategic Outlook and the Road Ahead’ and featured a prominent lineup of panelists, including Mohammed Al-Athel, Secretary General of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI); The Honorable Kenneth J. Krieg, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L); and Maj. Gen. Arnold L. Punaro, Immediate Past Chair and Nominating & Governance Committee Chair of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
SAMI is a state-owned military company launched in May 2017 by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). SAMI was established to provide military products and services and to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign purchases of military products. SAMI’s reported targets include the contribution of $3.7 billion to the Saudi economy by 2030, $1.6 billion investment in research and development and the creation of 40,000 jobs.