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State Partnership Program (SPP)

The National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program (SPP) provides unique partnership capacity-building capabilities to combatant commanders and US ambassadors through partnerships between US states, territories and the District of Columbia, and foreign countries. The SPP supports US national interests and security cooperation goals by engaging partner nations via military, socio-political and economic conduits at the local, state and national level.

The SPP's goals reflect an evolving international affairs mission for the National Guard to interact with both the active and reserve forces of foreign nations, interagency partners, and international non-governmental organizations, emphasizing the National Guards unique state and federal characteristics. Program partners engage in a broad range of security cooperation activities to include homeland defense/security, disaster response/mitigation, consequence/crisis management, interagency cooperation, border/port/aviation security, combat medical, fellowship-style internships, and bilateral familiarization events that lead to training and exercise opportunities. Activities are coordinated through the Combatant Commanders, US Ambassadors' country teams, and other agencies as appropriate to ensure National Guard cooperation is tailored to meet US and international partners' objectives.

The SPP was a by-product of a 1991 US European Command (EUCOM) decision to set up the Joint Contact Team Program (JCTP). With the end of the Cold War, the security situation in Europe and elsewhere had changed dramatically. The US looked to posture itself to be able to provide security assistance to former Warsaw Pact nations and others. A decision was subsequently made to staff military liaison teams in the Baltic Region, the former Warsaw Pact nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, with Reserve component soldiers and airmen. This was done to prevent any concerns by Russia about the deployment of Active component EUCOM forces to that region.

A subsequent National Guard Bureau proposal paired US states with the 3 Baltic nations and the SPP was born in 1993, becoming a key US security cooperation tool, facilitating cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level. The state of Maryland and the country of Estonia were the first state and country to establish the SPP relationship.

The SPP became a US Department of Defense "program of record" in 2008 under the auspices of the National Guard Bureau. By 2011, the SPP was overseeing 65 partnerships worldwide.

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Page last modified: 26-04-2012 18:21:42 ZULU