"OPM-SANG (Office of the Program Manager, Saudi Arabian National Guard) has set the bar for all other programs to emulate," Col. Jim Jensen, deputy program manager, OPM-SANG, said.

Jensen joined OPM-SANG six months ago, but he hit the ground running.

"Having done capacity building twice previously has really given me a lot of tools for my kit bag, especially with relationship building, which is the bedrock to being an effective adviser," he said.

Jensen's role requires hands-on involvement, working program management daily with OPM-SANG's Program Management Division, Contracting, Washington Field Office and Training Advisers. The importance of the mission in supporting Army priorities and the Combatant Command's requirements in the region are what drives him to make the organization the best it can be.

"OPM-SANG advises and assists the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through a modernization program, building capacity with the Ministry of the National Guard while enhancing their ability to defend the KSA, and continuing to improve the enduring US/KSA partnership," he said.

Planning for future requirements and ensuring the organization continues to get the best personnel possible are Jensen's focus. He is "building the next umbrella which will lay out what we want to accomplish with our partners from 2009-2023." This requires extensive one-on-one meetings with MNG leaders to establish the trust that is essential to making agreements in that culture.

According to Jensen, this is just one of the many things that make working in Saudi Arabia unique.
"If you are looking for a different but challenging assignment, OPM-SANG is the place to come. A lot of us call it the hidden gem of the Army -- nothing like it."

Jensen especially emphasizes the high quality of the living conditions, which include furnished villas, vehicles and access for all to the commissary and post exchange.

But most importantly, he said, is the professional satisfaction employees receive.

"OPM-SANG is 43 years in the making and one of the most successful programs --it truly sets the bar. We are working with a critical strategic partner that is pivotal to the stability in the Middle East."

Jensen urges anyone interested in joining the OPM-SANG team to visit their website at www.army.mil/opm-sang or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/opm.sang.

"We are upping our game with Facebook," he said. "We want to show everyone the family atmosphere and outstanding accommodations we have at Eskan Village, while allowing friends and family back home to follow their loved ones."

Jensen's expectations for the workforce are simple: "To give 100 percent every day, work as a team and enjoy it!"

And Jensen's only regret about his assignment at OPM-SANG?

"Not enough time in the day to accomplish everything."