By Capt. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National GuardApril 19, 2018
CHARLESTON, W. Va. - The West Virginia National Guard has been notified of its selection to partner with Qatar as a part of the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program, expanding its successful program to a second partner nation.
Gov. Jim Justice met with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani last week to discuss myriad opportunities between the state, the WVNG, and Qatar for future military, economic development, agricultural and cultural endeavors, among other things. The governor and the emir immediately developed a relationship and recognized the significant opportunity for a partnership together.
Justice looks forward to the West Virginia National Guard taking a lead role in West Virginia developing a long and enduring partnership with Qatar.
Justice said, "We will leverage our National Guard's extensive military capabilities to expand upon military to military, military to civilian, and civilian to civilian engagements that create mutually beneficial outcomes for Qatar and West Virginia. There are tremendous opportunities to utilize West Virginia's proud military heritage and expertise toward regional challenges facing Qatar."
"The West Virginia National Guard is honored to have been selected as a partner to Qatar," said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard. "We are excited to work together with such a strong U.S. partner and friend."
Through the partnership with Qatar, the WVNG will seek to increase military and diplomatic cooperation, develop and expand defense capabilities and mutually beneficial training interactions. In addition, the two entities will work to increase interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the region.
Mike Hall, Justice's chief of staff, said of the announcement, "We fully expect the Qatar-West Virginia partnership to play a major role in promoting peace and stability in the region."
The NGB State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships for over 20 years that includes 73 unique security partnerships involving 79 nations around the globe. SPP links a unique component of the Department of Defense -- a state's National Guard -- with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
The WVNG has partnered with Peru since 1996 though the SPP. In just over 20 years, Peru and West Virginia have partnered together for more than 120 interactions between the forces providing insight into regional challenges facing the Andean Ridge, especially in the areas of counter-insurgency, anti-terrorism, emergency preparedness, risk mitigation, disaster response and recovery.