West Virginia Guard, Qatar Conduct Key Leader SPP Exchange Published March 21, 2023 By Maj. Holli Nelson, West Virginia National Guard DOHA, Qatar - West Virginia National Guard and Qatari military leaders met in Doha March 14-16 in a State Partnership Program engagement. Participants included Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, adjutant general; Command Sgt. Maj. Dusty Jones, senior enlisted leader; Col. Brian Abraham, chief of the joint staff; the SPP team and U.S. Embassy-Qatar personnel and high-ranking officials in the Qatar Armed Forces and Qatar National Service Academy. They discussed priorities and opportunities to share information and collaborate in future bilateral exchanges. There were meetings between the WVNG and Timothy Davis, the U.S. ambassador to Qatar, as well as Qatar Emiri Land Forces, Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers, Qatar Joint Special Forces and National Service Academy commanding generals, operations officers and other leaders of the service branches, joint force, and U.S. Embassy-Qatar team. West Virginia and Qatar have been partners in the SPP since 2018. The Department of Defense National Guard Bureau program began 30 years ago and has grown to include 100 nations. “Since the onset of our partnership, Qatar has been a valuable and trusted ally to the West Virginia National Guard, and one that brings significant experience and expertise in their various fields,” Crane said. “This visit was a great opportunity to further deepen our ties with one another and see the remarkable work of their military and National Service Academy while additionally finding new ways we can strengthen our partnership in the years to come.” In addition to introductory meetings, WVNG leaders saw how Qatar’s armed forces prepare, using training modules and simulation to ensure a ready force. “It’s our belief that the tremendous work the Qataris are doing through the NSA is similar to programs we have in the United States and West Virginia specifically and that there are many ways we can partner with one another to enhance readiness and demonstrate pride in our collective organizations,” Jones said. “The facilities and expertise of staff at the NSA is second to none. I’m looking forward to opportunities to further exchange ideas for mutually beneficial engagements between West Virginia and the NSA, as well as their Emiri Land Forces and JSF.” West Virginia leaders also met with U.S. Embassy-Qatar staff and leadership to develop plans and discuss strategic efforts to support the partnership and U.S. Central Command. Abraham, who serves part time in the National Guard, helped bridge military and state government understanding between the two partners. “An overarching goal of the partnership is to ensure a whole-of-society approach to deepen ties and support security cooperation,” he said. “I believe that the opportunity to meet face to face with our Qatari partners and further understanding of how our state works was extremely beneficial and will allow our relationship to flourish even more.” This key leader engagement marked the second visit for Crane since taking the role as adjutant general of West Virginia. Through the partnership with Qatar, the WVNG seeks to increase military and diplomatic cooperation and develop and expand defense capabilities and mutually beneficial training. The two entities work closely together to improve the interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the region.