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Gov. Katie Hobbs Travels To Middle East To Officiate National Guard Pact

March 15, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

 This week, Gov. Katie Hobbs departed for Oman to officiate a pact made under the former administration with the Middle Eastern country.

In a press release, Hobbs said that the partnership provided greater readiness for Arizonan forces. Oman has a population of nearly four million people, bordering Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The partnership formed under former Gov. Doug Ducey last October.

“This partnership is grounded in our Arizona National Guard military relationship but expands to other sectors of the government bringing valuable interoperability opportunities for both countries,” said Hobbs.

Kerry Muehlenbeck, Arizona National Guard adjutant general and Department of Emergency and Military Affairs director, added that the partnership would strengthen both country’s forces.

The Arizona National Guard established the partnership last October through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. The program partners states with nations in order to bridge international civil-military affairs; over 90 nations have a match in the states. This year marks the program’s 30th anniversary. 

Arizona partners with one other country through the program, the Republic of Kazakhstan, a relationship it has held since 1993. 

Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said that the program also allows soldiers to visit other countries and understand problem-solving skills from foreign soldiers.

“To look at the environment that they operate in, and to really see, in many cases, the same problems — just approached from a different angle,” said Hokanson. “We learn a lot in those countries and in those interactions that we bring back to make our organizations better, and I like to think vice versa.”

Several days after announcing the partnership, the University of Arizona (UArizona) Eller Executive Education announced a partnership with the Royal Academy of Management in Oman for a program, “Developing Leaders and Future Foresight.” Although the press release was issued several days after the state announced the National Guard partnership, UArizona’s initial press release was dated for the same day as the state’s announcement.

UArizona’s partner program with Oman is designed to develop and equip national leaders to fulfill Oman’s “Vision 2040,” a plan to become a developed country by 2040.

Oman is one of the top oil exporters. They also export liquified natural gas.

Hobbs attended the formal signing ceremony on Monday, and is scheduled to depart from Oman on Wednesday. Oman leadership is scheduled to visit Arizona in May.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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