In the wake of the so-called Arab Spring of 2011, the political landscape has shifted dramatically in the Middle East and the wider Arab world. Many Arab countries — primarily Syria, Libya and Yemen — continue to face civil war, social unrest and governmental disarray. Even Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain still continue to face civil disobedience by organized groups using terror to achieve their objectives. Directly in the midst of this turmoil sits Saudi Arabia, internally immune to such chaos, yet facing a long and developing list of regional issues as it takes up the security mantle of responsibility for an Arab world that is staring into the abyss of war and destruction.

What is needed now is for the kingdom to establish a framework for a new Saudi Defense Doctrine (SDD) to assess how it can best fulfill and sustain its enhanced responsibilities in the coming years. Having recently published such a study through the Defense and Intelligence Projects at Harvard’s Kennedy School Belfer Center, I list the primary points of the SDD herein so as to foster a discussion that will no doubt be highly valuable in fine-tuning what should and can only be a long assessment process. The objective is to better understand and assess the kingdom’s current and coming predicaments, its present capabilities and its future needs as it sets out to serve as a major stabilizing force working for peace and order in the Middle East and beyond. […]