Approximately 200 personnel from the North Carolina and Alabama National Guards and over 300 Botswana Defence Force service members are participating in exercise Upward Minuteman 2019 between 7 and 21 July at Thebaphatswa Air Base in Botswana.
Upward Minuteman 2019 is a U.S. Africa Command exercise promoting the U.S. National Guard’s State Partnership Programs on the African Continent.
This is the first iteration of Upward Minuteman; an exercise established to strengthen security institutions, promote multilateral sharing of information, and develop interoperability among partner nations, Africa Command said.
There are currently 13 State Partnerships between the United States and African nations: North Carolina and Botswana; California and Nigeria; New York and South Africa; Michigan and Liberia; Utah and Morocco; Vermont and Senegal; Wyoming and Tunisia; Kentucky and Djibouti; Massachusetts and Kenya; and Indiana and Niger. The North Dakota Guard is partnered with three countries: Ghana, Togo and Benin.
The U.S. National Guard’s SPP began in 1993 with partnerships between the NG of designated US States and newly independent Eastern European countries.
SPP celebrated its 25 anniversary of forging enduring relationships in May 2018.