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Feature Stories

NEWS | Nov. 23, 2020

WVNG joins SPP partner Qatar in virtual exercise

By Edwin Wriston West Virginia National Guard

KINGWOOD, W.Va. – The West Virginia National Guard participated in a virtual seminar with members of the Qatari Emiri Land Forces (QELF) as part of the Eastern Action joint operations staff exercise between the Qatari military and the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) Operation Spartan Shield and Task Force Spartan.

Eastern Action is an annual exercise that allows for continued coalition-building between U.S. and Qatari militaries, including joint operational movement and integration. It is designed to improve the defense capabilities of the Qatari military.

The two-day seminar was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by Lt. Col. Jason Diaz, the WVNG team included Majs. Steve Moore, Joe Ward and Chuck Naumann, and Capts. Charles Thomas and Nicholas Plocar.

Topics covered during the seminar included the military decision-making process (MDMP) and offensive, defensive and engineering operations, including breaching techniques.

The exercise goals were “to promote regional stability, increase joint capability among our friends and allies in the region, and to continue a long-standing partnership between the United States and Qatar,” Diaz said. “The WVNG brings a variety of subject matter expertise to the field with us, which the Qataris are eager and willing to learn about, including our combat engineering experience.”

“This allows the WVNG to play an important role in Operation Spartan Shield, strengthening our defense relationships in the Middle East,” he added.

Since 2018, the WVNG has worked closely with Qatar as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. The SPP, established in 1993, seeks to conduct military-to-military engagements in support of national defense strategic goals while leveraging whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres between the U.S. and partner nations.

The WVNG-Qatar SPP relationship continues to grow, increasing military and diplomatic cooperation, developing and expanding defense capabilities, and disrupting criminal and terrorist activities.