INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana National Guard and the Republic of Niger signed a state partnership agreement during a ceremony held in Niamey, Niger, Jan. 23, 2017.
Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, adjutant general, Indiana National Guard, and Gen. Seyni Garba, joint chief of staff of the Niger armed forces, made the state partnership official during a signing ceremony attended by representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Niger, the Indiana National Guard, Nigerien armed forces, U.S. Army Africa Command and Indiana University.
“The Indiana National Guard continues to develop relationships across the spectrum of Department of Defense agencies and civil authorities serving as a catalyst, joining communities to uniformed services,” said Carr.
The State Partnership Program is in its third decade of unique partnership building and contributes significantly to enduring relationships that enhance security cooperation and interoperability.
“For the Forces Armée Nigerien, it will build and strengthen its already impressive military training institutions and security operations,” said Eunice S. Reddick, U.S. ambassador to Niger. “For the Indiana National Guard, the partnership offers a chance to increase readiness, interoperability, and regional expertise.”
The Indiana contingent, led by Carr, traveled to Niger for the signing as part of the official delegation responsible for finalizing the agreement with Niger.
Prior to the official signing the Indiana delegation was led by personnel from the U.S. embassy throughout the area to visit numerous sites to include cultural and military locations. The Hoosier service members met with Niger officials for three days discussing unique service capabilities and program overviews.
The State Partnership Program links a unique component of the Department of Defense, a state’s National Guard, with the armed forces of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship by means of tailored, small footprint, high-impact security cooperation engagements that foster long-term enduring relationships with U.S. friends and allies around the world.
“The National Guard State Partnership Program is an innovative means to bring together a state’s National Guard with that of a partner country,” Carr said. “It enables the Indiana National Guard to leverage whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency engagements spanning the military, economic, education and socio-cultural realms.”
Carr also highlighted existing partnerships with several of Indiana’s prominent universities.
“We have a history of partnering with academia, and I’d like to thank Indiana University for joining us on this trip” said Carr. “The work your organization does at home and around the world is amazing, and we’re thankful for the interest you have shown in this new partnership.”
Niger is Indiana’s second state partner. The Slovak Republic and Indiana started their partnership in 1994. Since its inception, the Indiana National Guard has completed a variety of exchanges with Slovakia, ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to maintenance, emergency management, engineering and Army and Air Force aviation focusing on interoperability and security focused exercises.
The State Partnership Program helps partner nations leverage the full breadth and depth of U.S. defense and interagency capabilities from within the state-country relationship facilitating mutual cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs.
“State Partnerships, like here in Niger, demonstrate the relevance of the Indiana National Guard and have a positive, lasting impact on security cooperation, stability, and the future well-being of the U.S. and partnered nations,” said Carr.