U.S. Army Office of the Program Manager - Saudi Arabian National Guard


The Office of the Program Manager assists the Ministry of National Guard (MNG) Modernization efforts to develop a more capable, self-sufficient Defense Force while enhancing the vital partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.


  • Col. Michael J. Trotter
    Col. Michael J. Trotter
  • SGM Michael Behnkendorf
    SGM Michael Behnkendorf
  • Since 1973, the United States Army has been honored to participate in a cooperative program to modernize the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

    Initiated on 19 March 1973, with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement by then Crown Prince Abdullah and the American Ambassador, this Program has been widely recognized as perhaps the single most successful undertaking of its type.

    With the personal attention and guidance of King Abdullah, then Commander of the National Guard, assisted by Senior SANG Military and Civilian Officials, and under the direction of a series of U.S. Army Program Managers, the Program has supervised the training of the Saudi Arabian National Guard to form a professional fighting force.

    The initial phases of the Program focused on the formation of mechanized brigades and associated support organizations. In 1981, the Modernization Program expanded to encompass the National Guard's medical structure, including the management and operation of the King Fahd Hospital in Riyadh. OPM was privileged to work with the dedicated and prudent leadership of Health Affairs to revamp the Health Affairs organization and facilities. Together, we continue to develop a viable Military Field Medicine Command to care for SANG soldiers in garrison, field locations and all combat environments.

    In addition to basic and advanced training conducted in the Kingdom, approximately 1,600 SANG officers, soldiers, and civilians have completed military courses in the United States, to include the Army War College and Command & General Staff College.

    Desert Shield/Desert Storm provided the Modernization Program and SANG both their greatest challenge & greatest successes. Beginning with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, Saudi Arabian National Guard forces safeguarded the Kingdom as the first ground force to deploy and the first to fight. Working and fighting side-by-side with their SANG counterparts throughout the crisis, OPM advisors provided continual advice and assistance. This joint effort received recognition at the highest levels of both governments.

    During the 1990s, the National Guard embarked on a force expansion program that dramatically increased and strengthened its forces. The centerpiece of the initial phase of this program was the fielding of over 1,200 Light Armored Vehicles (LAV) for three mechanized brigades. In addition, OPM participated in contracting and overseeing new construction projects in excess of $600 million.

    In 2002, under guidance from HRH Prince Mit'eb bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, then Deputy Commander for Military Affairs, OPM and SANG cooperated in developing a vision for the National Guard for the next 10 years. That vision, approved by HRH Prince Mit'eb and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, continues.

    HRH Prince Mit'eb bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz assumed command of the Saudi Arabian National Guard on 17 November 2010 and now spearheads SANG's current modernization initiatives. On 27 May 2013 HRH Prince Mit'eb bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz was appointed Minister of the National Guard; thus formally changing the Saudi Arabian National Guard to the Ministry of the National Guard.

    In 2011, Ministry of the National Guard initiated an Aviation Program developing Aviation Brigades around the AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Blackhawk air frames. MNG responded with both air and ground forces to protect the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's southern border during the Yemen conflict and with air assets along the northern border in response to ISIS. In the past several years the Ground Modernization Program has transitioned from a LAV-25 acquisition program to a sustainment program and the Aviation Program has entered into its Phase II and III Acquisition Program. Looking to the future, OPM-SANG continues to advise its Ministry of the National Guard partners under all warfighting functions while becoming an aviation- and transformation-focused organization postured to advise and develop its partners.

    Since mid-2021, the Ministry of the National Guard has been focused on utilizing better business practices, budgetary projections, case management, new case development, and deliberate case closure which all aligns with their Vision 2030 initiatives.

    Specifically, the Ministry of the National Guard and OPM-SANG conducted a three-week Foreign Military Sales (FMS) training course, Program Management Review (PMR), and Requirements Development Workshop in February 2022. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) based team, with help from the CONUS Ops Division (Huntsville, Alabama) and Central Case Management Team (New Cumberland, Pennsylvania), trained 19 MNG Soldiers and Civilians in a focused FMS 101 course.

    The training was in response to MNG’s desire to stand up a robust FMS management cell to co-manage FMS cases. OPM-SANG and MNG also conducted and integrated Program Management Review to educate the newly trained partners on the status and require actions on 61 active FMS cases. The partnering forces also conducted a requirements workshop to develop requirements supporting maintenance and sustainment of Ministry of the National Guard's LAV fleet, access to U.S. Army professional military education, and LAV and infantry ammunition replenishment.

    The effort concluded with an out-brief to Ministry of the National Guard's senior leadership and the overall outcome demonstrated a stronger partnership and collaboration between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.