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Improving missile defense cooperation with partners in the Middle East is a “strategic imperative” for the United States, said Frank Rose, deputy assistant secretary of state for arms control. Rose, who recently returned from Abu Dhabi where he attended the Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium, said his message to the region was clear. “The United States remains firmly committed to developing and deploying advanced missile defense capabilities around the world to protect our homeland, our deployed forces, as well as our friends and allies who depend on us for security,” said Rose during a May 14 breakfast event on Capitol Hill sponsored by AFA, the National Defense Industrial Association, and the Reserve Officers Association. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a similar message in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this week where he attended the first-ever US-GCC defense ministerial. By strengthening the GCC, “you will strengthen your ability to prevent and deter aggression,” Hagel told the other defense ministers, according to a May 14 DOD release. He added, “You will strengthen, not weaken, each of your nations’ sovereignty. And, you will expand your common interests—not just in defense, but in a more stable and prosperous future.” (Rose transcript.)