QATAR - More than 100 service members with U.S. and Qatari forces opened the Eastern Action exercise Oct. 31.

During the ceremony, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Steven T. King, deputy commanding general, 38th Infantry Division, Indiana National Guard, and Qatar Brig. Gen. Mubarak Mubarak Al-Shayeq received the mission brief from Qatari company grade officers.

"The United States partnership with the Qatari Emiri Land Forces is an important component of deterring aggression from regional adversaries," said King, a Task Force Spartan deputy commanding general. "The ability to engage with our partners in exercises like Eastern Action is a key component to ensuring interoperability and standing strong together in support of regional security."

Eastern Action is an annual command post exercise with U.S. and Qatari battalion staff to execute defensive command and control and is designed to then transition to an offensive operation with situational training exercise lanes as mechanized infantry troops of the two nation's forces work together, learning from one another.

"Working side-by-side presents a unique opportunity to learn from our Qatari Emiri Land Forces partners as we share our tactics, techniques and procedures with them," said King. "The interaction makes for a rich learning environment."

The goal is to strengthen relationships between the U.S. Army and Qatari Emiri Land Forces while assessing capabilities.

King said he gained personal and professional satisfaction from the exercise.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the opening ceremony and the mission brief," said King. "It is important to embrace the dynamics of partnership, in order to learn from one another and gain a shared understanding."

Through Operation Spartan Shield, approximately 11,000 Task Force Spartan service members maintain a U.S. military posture in southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen defense relationships and build partner capacity.

Units supporting Spartan Shield provide capabilities such as aviation, logistics, force protection and information management, and facilitate theater security cooperation such as key leader engagements, joint exercises, conferences, humanitarian assistance planning and disaster response planning.