April 18, 2018

Manchin Announces Job Growing Partnership Between West virginia Natinal Guard and Qatar

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) and Qatar have been approved to begin a State Partnership Program, beating out multiple other states for this coveted agreement. This partnership will lead to direct investment and job growth in West Virginia, and lays the groundwork for continued military and economic cooperation. Senator Manchin spoke directly with Secretary Mattis earlier this week to press him to approve the agreement for West Virginia instead of other states, and received written confirmation that the partnership will proceed from the Department of Defense.

“Last week, I met with the Emir of Qatar to discuss how our state and Qatar can work together to forge economic and military partnerships that benefit both our state and the nation of Qatar,” Senator Manchin. “I’m proud to announce that the West Virginia National Guard and Qatar State Partnership Program has been approved. Now West Virginia and Qatar can build military and economic partnerships that will be beneficial to both our state and Qatar. This partnership proves what we’ve been saying all along, that the West Virginia National Guard is the most skilled and professional force and is known as the best in the country. I look forward to working with Qatar and to this new partnership.”

The National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP) began in 1993 with partnerships between U.S. States and newly independent former Soviet republics, in coordination with U.S. European Command. SPP has grown significantly since then, with 70 current partnerships worldwide, two partnerships were added in 2015.  This is the first program to be established in the Near East.

This program will enable joint exchanges of forces to conduct training and partnership exercises, increasing the military capability of the two nations. There are several potential partnership opportunities for West Virginia and Qatar including training with the Qatari Special Forces and training C-17 and C-130 aircrews.  Qatar will be hosting the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in 2022. This is a promising opportunity for WVNG forces to partner with Qatar to aid in the development of critical infrastructure and train security forces in preparation for the event.

Beyond military cooperation, West Virginia and Qatar stand to benefit from the SPP both economically and culturally. Both are rich in natural resources and have unique cultures that will foster an enduring relationship that demonstrates the power of diplomacy. Qatar benefits from a diversified economy that provides economic resilience to withstand macroeconomic shocks, which will assist West Virginia in establishing similar diversification in its economy.