The actual value of US arms sales to Riyadh since Trump took office is $14.5bn, the report says. Even that figure refers to “letters of offer and acceptance” for new weaponry and support equipment, which is just one step in a longer process involved in arms transactions. It does not represent actual signed contracts.
The report’s author, William Hartung, said it was difficult to pin a precise number of jobs to that volume of sales.
“If we take a generous approach and include all jobs created in direct assembly and production of components, along with the jobs induced by the spending of wages by workers employed in assembly or component production, the $2.5bn in annual arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia would create 17,500 jobs in any given year,” Hartung wrote, pointing out that it was a tiny fraction of 1% of the 160 million US workforce.
Trump has suggested that other arms suppliers like Russia or China would quickly take any business turned down by the US. But Hartung argued that Saudi armed forces are so dependent on US hardware it would be very hard for them to change suppliers selling totally incompatible equipment.
“The preponderance of US equipment used by Saudi forces also makes it difficult for another supplier like Russia or China to replace the United States as a major supplier to Riyadh,” the report said. “It would take decades for the Kingdom to wean itself from dependence on US equipment, training and support, and new equipment might not be easily interoperable with US-supplied systems.”