The District of Columbia National Guard and Burkina Faso began a new partnership on 1 February as part of the National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program.
During a signing ceremony in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Burkinabe and D.C. National Guard officials formalized the partnership, making it the 14th state partnership in Africa. The State Partnership Program is a long-term security cooperation program that pairs National Guard units with partner nations in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
“Since the first partnership in Africa in 2013, the National Guard State Partnership Program has served as an invaluable asset in supporting the U.S. Africa Command mission of promoting regional stability and prosperity on the continent,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven deMilliano, USAFRICOM Deputy Director for Strategy, Engagement & Programs (J5). “The experience gained and long-term relationships developed through these partnerships have a positive impact on the partnered nations and National Guard units. We are thrilled to have Burkina Faso and D.C. as the newest partnership.”
In fiscal year 2018, the National Guard conducted more than 100 State Partnership Program events in support of USAFRICOM’s security cooperation objectives. These events involved more than 3,000 partner nation personnel.
Typical engagements between National Guard units and African militaries include officer and non-commissioned officer development training, cooperative training and exercises, senior leader visits, exchange programs, and planning exchanges.
The State Partnership Program began in 1993 and currently there are 76 partnerships around the world. With the addition of D.C. and Burkina Faso, there are now 14 African nations partnered with 12 National Guard units. Other partnerships include Botswana and North Carolina; Djibouti and Kentucky; Ghana, Togo, Benin and North Dakota; Kenya and Massachusetts; Liberia and Michigan; Morocco and Utah; Niger and Indiana; Nigeria and California; Senegal and Vermont; South Africa and New York; Tunisia and Wyoming.