Visit the special State Partnership Program edition of the e-zine, "KeepINNG up with the Indiana National Guard"
Members of Slovak Armed Forces train with the 181st Intelligence Wing in Terre Haute, Ind., circa 2010. Photo courtesy of 181st Intelligence Wing, Public Affairs
Indiana Guardsmen complete training in Slovakia with members of Slovak Armed Forces, circa 2007. Contributed photo.
Content provided by State Partnership Program coordinator, 2008-2011, Major Jeff Coomler
The National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP) was established in 1993 in response to the radically changed political-military situation following the collapse of Communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
The Indiana National Guard State Partnership Program with Slovakia was initiated shortly thereafter and has continued to expand and grow over the past 17+ years.
Highlights of the program include:
· Established in 1994 with goal for Slovakia to become a full partner in NATO
· Executed over 200 bi-lateral events since partnership began
· Events have included:
Military Decision Making Process (MDMP)
AF Pilot Training
Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield
Fire Support Planning and Integration
The SPP was established following the National Guard Bureau's proposal in the spring of 1993 to pair State National Guards with the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The NGB proposal was prompted by CINCEUR's Jan 93 decision to staff the Military Liaison Teams (MLTs) in the Baltics with Reserve Component personnel, in order to avoid sending a provocative signal to the Russian Federation that could have occurred had active duty soldiers been assigned. The SPP thus began as a bilateral military-to-military contact program to engage the countries of central and Eastern Europe, and is a direct outgrowth of US European Command's Joint Contact Team Program (JCTP). This program has grown far beyond JCTP and is now a key security cooperation tool, facilitating interaction in all aspects of civil-military cooperation.
The program links U.S. states with partner countries for the purpose of supporting the security cooperation objectives of the Combatant Commander. The program's goals reflect an evolving international affairs mission for the National Guard using the unique civil-military nature of the Guard to interact with both active and reserve forces of foreign countries. The State Partners actively participate in a host of engagement activities ranging from bilateral familiarization and could lead to training exercises opportunities, fellowship-style internships, and civic leader visits and medical events. All activities are coordinated through the Theater Combatant Commander and the US Ambassadors' country teams, and other agencies as appropriate, to ensure that National Guard support is tailored to meet both US and country objectives.
The value of the SPP is its ability to focus the attention of a small part of the Department of Defense (DoD)—a State National Guard—with a single country or region in support of US Government policies. This concentrated focus allows for the development of long term personal relationships and a mechanism to catalyze support from outside the DoD which otherwise would not occur but nevertheless complements US policy. The optimum SPP partnership is one in which: the Host Nation professes genuine interest in Partnership; US and Theater engagement objectives are satisfied; the Force Protection risk is acceptable; a minimum of additional resources is required to execute engagement; and National Guard core engagement competencies, particularly military support to civil authority (MSCA), and national defense are heavily incorporated.
Today, 43 U.S. states, two territories, and the District of Columbia are partnered with more than 62 countries around the world developing comprehensive humanitarian aid and disaster relief projects of significant magnitude. Because of budgetary constraints in today's economy, there are "partnership opportunities" for service clubs, faith-based groups and non-governments organizations (NGO's), to provide logistical support and funding.
Latest update Wednesday, February 15, 2012