Secretary of the Army John McHugh observed a battalion-level staff exercise and met with Mongolian defense officials during Exercise Khaan Quest 2012, Aug. 15 near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. A regularly scheduled, multinational exercise in its 10th year, KQ12 is sponsored by the U.S. Army, Pacific, and hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces. The Mongolian Armed Forces are highly regarded by American Soldiers who have served with them in Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, approximately 700 troops conduct base security in Afghanistan and train the Afghan National Army artillery. In March, Mongolia was designated as the first NATO "partner" under the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Program.