WASHINGTON – September 23, 2015 – The National Guard fights America’s wars, guards the homeland and builds partnerships – and the Army chief of staff praised the Guard’s emphasis on partnerships as part of the key to its success in all three pieces of this mission triad.
General Mark Milley singled out the 27-year-old National Guard State Partnership Program in remarks in Nashville on Sept. 11.
“Since 1991, America’s National Guard has been deterring aggression and building partnership capacity through the State Partnership Program,” General Milley said. The SPP, which pairs the National Guard in the states with foreign countries, started informally in 1991 before the first formal partnerships launched in 1993.
“This low-cost, high-yield program operates globally in 74 countries, synchronizing with all of our goals and all of our objectives, not only of the Department of Defense, but also the State Department and the [National] Guard Bureau, and it’s driven by the state adjutants general,” General Milley said. “It directly supports our combatant commands in their theater and security planning.”
Djibouti and Kenya have been added to the SPP in 2015 as engagement increases in Africa, General Milley noted.
The general also noted the National Guard’s domestic partnership building, including with homeland defense agencies, and cited the more than 2,000 Soldiers and Airmen supporting civil authorities fighting wildfires in five Western states even as he was speaking.
“Your ability to respond to these situations, both abroad and at home, is key to our overall national defense, and you have done that – all of you – with great personal courage and great personal sacrifice,” he said. “In every case, your response has been timely, and you have acted decisively.”