What is OPM-SANG?

The mission of the Office of the Program Manager (OPM) is to manage the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) Modernization Program under the terms of a memoranda of understanding between the US Government and the Saudi Arabian Government, and other pertinent agreements and regulations. The mission goal is to develop within the SANG the capability to unilaterally initiate, sustain and operate modern military organizations and systems in conjunction with other Kingdom defense forces. These capabilities include force expansion and sustainment, medical services, and light armored vehicle (LAV) fielding, as well as a robust construction program that is jointly managed by OPM and SANG personnel.


SANG National Headquarters, Regional Headquarters (east and west), Signal Corps, Health Services Command, Joint Engineer Office, an Information Center, and a Logistics Base.

SANG Training Base

National Guard Military Schools, Regional Training Centers in Riyadh, Jeddah, Damman and in the near future Hofuf, SANG Signal School, Allied Health Science Military School, and King Khalid Military Academy.


Currently, SANG forces include five Mechanized Brigades; five Infantry Brigades; three separate battalions (soon to merge under a sixth new light infantry brigade headquarted in Al Qasseem (NW of Riyadh 200 miles); Security Force to include a Special Brigade, Riyadh Military Police Command, Military Police Battalions and two Guard Battalions; Headquarters and Regional Signal Units; Regional Logistics Base Commands; one Engineer Battalion; Medical to include Military Field Medical Command, King Fahad Hospital in Riyadh, King Faisal Specialist and Ghassan N. Pharaon General Hospitals in Jeddah and King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Hofuf, SAAD Medical Center Hospital in Dhahran, and Regional Medical Units.

The SANG continues to look to the U.S. Army for support in this critical modernization effort to ensure a capable and ready National Guard, prepared to deal with any security contingency within the confines of the Kingdom. The Modernization Program is a security assistance success story, in large part due to the close working relationship between OPM SANG and the SANG at all levels of leadership. The personal relationships built over years based upon friendship, trust and competency of advisors have stood the test of time. With the continued support of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense and the Department of State, the SANG modernization program will continue to build upon its past progress and success.


In 1963, then Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud became the commander of the National Guard. In 1982, he became the Crown Prince and also the First Deputy Prime Minister. After the death of King Fahad in 2005, he became the King.


The SANG is a prestigious entity in the Saudi Arabian governmental hierarchy. Its mission is to provide an armed force capable of conducting conventional operations throughout the Kingdom as well as ensuring security and stability within the Kingdom. The objective of the modernization program remains to create a combat-ready strike force capable of deploying anywhere in the Kingdom and conducting full spectrum operations. Prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the SANG had a strength of about 35,000 active duty personnel and about the same number of irregulars. Active duty personnel were organized into two mechanized brigades and four light infantry brigades, supporting units, and schools.Since then, SANG has embarked on an ambitious force expansion initiative that will eventually create a nearly 100,000 man modernized force. This force includes 11 brigades (5 Mechanized Infantry, 5 Light Infantry and 1 Special Security Brigade). The Mechanized brigades are stationed in Riyadh and in Hofuf. In Riyadh, three brigades have been equipped with modern Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs), similar to those used by the USMC. A fourth brigade in Hofuf has been designated to be the next brigade to transition to the LAV family of vehicles. These mechanized brigades are formed as combined arms teams, similar in concept to the current U.S. Army concept of brigade combat teams. These brigades have a full compliment of heavy weapons to facilitate combined arms operations. Other active duty units are more lightly equipped and armed and are stationed near population centers, and eastern shore oil fields. Additionally, SANG has an irregular force (Fowj), primarily Bedouin tribal volunteers, organized into 27 battalions with a total strength of approximately 27,000 men.

Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) Mission

The missions of the SANG are:
  • Support the Ministry of Defense and Aviation (MODA) in border defense
  • Support the Ministry of Interior (MOI) in Security and Stability Operations.
  • Support the MOI in defending vital sites such as holy sites, oil facilities, utilities, and communications centers.
  • Provide nation building initiatives. For example the National Guard sponsors, each year, a national festival titled Janadriyah. The festival is like a Worlds Fair for the country, showcasing the cultural history and diversity of the regions of the country in a pavilion atmosphere. This festival provides a forum for regional and international cultural exchanges.

The Program Manager (PM) is the principal U.S. military advisor to the Commander of the National Guard. The PM is also a member of the U.S. Ambassador’s country team. OPM-SANG personnel provide advice and assistance to virtually all levels of SANG operations and leadership through counterpart relationships. This advice and assistance runs the full range of military command, control, communications, training, construction, health affairs and logistics functions of the SANG, from the platoon level on up to the National Headquarters level. Whether in the office or in the field, the primary OPM-SANG emphasis is to ensure their SANG counterparts master all the skills necessary for success in combat.