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News | July 1, 2021

West Virginia, Qatar formalize military partnership

By Maj. Holli Nelson West Virginia National Guard

Brig. Gen. William Crane, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, and Staff Brigadier Khalid Al-Khayareen, Director of the International Forces Affairs Directory for Qatar’s International Military Cooperation Authority, officially signed an Expression of Cooperation June 21, 2021, between the State of West Virginia and the State of Qatar in Doha, Qatar.

The Expression of Cooperation document formally affirms and recognizes the WVNG’s cooperation and partnership with Qatar through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.

“I’m extremely pleased to be able to officially commemorate the West Virginia National Guard’s ongoing partnership with Qatar,” said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. “In West Virginia, we’re patriotic and loving people. We’re incredibly proud to help America’s allies around the world strengthen their military capabilities to safeguard against potential future threats because we always have our friends’ backs.”

“I’m also proud that this partnership will put yet another national spotlight on West Virginia and continue our efforts to show to the outside world just how good we truly are,” Justice added.

The Ministry of Defense for the State of Qatar formally requested a partnership through the SPP in 2016, and in 2018, West Virginia was selected to be partners with Qatar. Since that time, West Virginia has maintained active engagements to facilitate unique training opportunities between the two nations.

The West Virginia Guard has worked extensively with Qatar to increase interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the Middle East region, as well as provide training and exposure to multiple facets of Special Forces operations, domestic response, civil support, emergency response and contingency operations.

“Our partnership with Qatar continues to grow and strengthen, and we couldn’t be more excited for the future,” Crane said. “Qatar is a key ally to the United States and is no stranger to supporting global peace and stability. Our strategic alliance helps further advance U.S. and Middle East national security and peace objectives in the region and there is much that we can learn from our allies in Qatar. I look forward to building upon our shared values as a people and creating a lasting relationship between West Virginia and Qatar.”

Currently, the WVNG continues to support Qatar with their efforts in preparation to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament involving 32 national soccer teams and tens of thousands of fans from around the world. To prepare for the event, WVNG specialists are working alongside Qatar’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Defense Unit and the Qatari Emiri Air Force Airlift Wing, as well as U.S. Army Central Command, to assist in the defense and security of the World Cup. Efforts include joint operations planning, stadium security protocols and procedures, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Explosives (CBRNE) response and incident prevention efforts, military police operations including riot control, and aeromedical evacuation missions.

Administered by the National Guard Bureau, the SPP helps coordinate and conduct military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals while leveraging whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres. Guided by State Department foreign policy goals and executed by the state adjutants general, the program helps build and strengthen cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encourages people-to-people ties at the state level.

SPP has been successfully building relationships for more than 25 years and now includes 82 partnerships with 89 nations around the globe.

“It has truly been an honor to visit our partner nation and see the beauty of their country and meet face to face with our many key leaders,” Crane said. “Again, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of our partnership with Qatar and the positive impacts we can have both at home and abroad by working together.”