President George H.W. Bush ordered U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia beginning Aug. 7, 1990. "Our nation," he said, "now imports nearly half the oil it consumes and could face a major threat to its economic independence" if Saudi Arabia was attacked. The military build-up of Operation Desert Shield would eventually reach 500,000 troops.
Operation Desert Shield ended on Jan. 17, 1991, when, at 3 a.m. Saudi Arabian time, it was replaced by Operation Desert Storm, the military offensive against Iraq's forces in Kuwait and thousands of targets in Iraq proper.