LATHAM, NY -- The New York National Guard's top officer is visiting South Africa this week to take part in a workshop being hosted by Major General Roy Andersen, the Chief of South African National Defence Force Reserves.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of New York, and Brig. Gen. Renwick Payne, the Director of Joint Staff for the New York National Guard , will represent the United States military at the event in Pretoria, South Africa which runs through Saturday, Feb. 18.

The two New York National Guard officers were invited to attend by the South African's because of the New York National Guard's experience in responding to domestic emergencies, augmenting federal, state and local enforcement agencies dealing with homeland security issues, and providing forces for combat duties overseas when necessary.

"We're happy to provide any information and assistance we can to our partners in the South African Reserve forces," Murphy said. " Through the National Guard's State Partnership Program the New York National Guard has had a vital and energetic relationship with the South African military since 2003 that is beneficial to both our countries."

In December 2010 the New York National Guard hosted Andersen and his staff to a three day visit in which the South African reservists learned about how the National Guard operates and visited Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia.

The National Guard's State Partnership Program initiative matches the 54 state and territorial National Guards with military forces in developing and former East Bloc nations to develop partnerships which enhance international security and build capacity on both military and civilian levels.

Since New York partnered with South Africa , the New York National Guard has hosted South African officers and noncommissioned at training events and sent National Guard officers, Soldiers and Airmen to South Africa on training exchanges, to participate in military skills competitions, and taken part in South African air shows with both Army and Air National Guard aircraft.