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The Guard in Asia

Agreement brings state closer to Malaysia

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander, Washington National Guard, signs agreement. Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kriess

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The Washington National Guard continues to move forward in Asia.

Last week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, leaders of the Guard and the Malaysian Armed Forces signed an agreement to build and further sustained cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander, Washington National Guard, and Gen. Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi bin Raga Mohamed Noor, Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces, inked the pact.

The agreement stems from the National Guard's State Partnership Program, or SPP.

Begun more than 20 years ago, the SPP is a Department of Defense joint security cooperation program administered by the National Guard Bureau that links a state's National Guard with the armed forces of a partner country in order to strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with American allies around the world.

"I'm hopeful that our partnership will grow over time to areas beyond just the military," commented Daugherty. "Areas like commerce, education, healthcare and energy ... are just a few areas that I think Malaysians and people from the state of Washington can explore together."

The SPP has successfully built relationships around the globe, and this agreement is the 73rd partnership under the SPP and the second for the Washington National Guard.

Thailand is Washington's other partner nation.

"What we have signed today will move us forward, not by an inch but leapfrog us forward for better cooperation," said Affandi. "This partnership will open the gateway for more dedicated cooperation and commits us to work collectively toward our common goals."

Daugherty hopes to leverage the close proximity between Thailand and Malaysia.

"It's a really unique opportunity for us to be able to not only work just with Thailand or just with Malaysia, but to do some trilateral work between all three of us at some point in the future."

Credits: Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kriess, Washington National Guard, contributed to this story.

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