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By Edwin Wriston
West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs
Members of the West Virginia National Guard recently participated in an virtual seminar with members of the Qatari Emiri Land Forces (QELF) as a part of the Eastern Action joint operations staff exercise between elements of the Qatari military and the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) Operation Spartan Shield and Task Force Spartan.
Eastern Action is an annual exercise with U.S. and Qatari militaries that engages participants from both nations in the planning and execution of both defensive and offensive military operations. It allows for continued coalition-building between the two partner nations including joint operational movement and integration, and is designed to improve the self-defense capabilities of the Qatari military.
Due to travel restrictions and concerns regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the two-day seminar was held virtually.
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 between the WVNG and QELF during the seminar included the military decision-making process (MDMP), both offensive and defensive operations, and engineering operations including breaching techniques.
“The goals of Eastern Action is 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,” stated Diaz. “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.”
“At the end of the day, 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.