The Nebraska National Guard and Rwanda began a new partnership during a signing ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda, on 12 December as part of the National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program.
“State partnerships are integral to strengthening alliances, providing mutually beneficial training opportunities and enhancing defense security in Africa,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven deMilliano, U.S. Africa Command deputy director for strategy, engagement & programs. “Today’s signing ceremony is a strong symbol of our continued commitment to growing and strengthening our African partnerships with nations like Rwanda; and to the enhanced stability operations those partnerships bring to the region.”
In fiscal year 2019, the National Guard conducted more than 200 State Partnership Program events in support of U.S. Africa Command’s security cooperation objectives, involving more than 3,400 partner-nation personnel.
“Rwanda is a strong partner with shared values for human rights equality, protection of civilians and commitment to peacekeeping operations,” deMilliano said. “As such this partnership will focus on engineering, logistics, medical readiness and aviation to enhance the Rwanda Defense Force’s capability to prepare, deploy and sustain peacekeeping forces.”
The State Partnership Program is a long-term security cooperation program that pairs National Guard states, territories, and the District of Columbia with partner nations in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship. Typical engagements include: disaster response/emergency management; leader, staff, officer and non-commissioned development; aviation operations, maintenance and safety; cyber defense and communications security; infantry tactics; engineer activities; counter-terrorism; and military medical.
With the addition of Nebraska and Rwanda, there are now 15 African nations partnered with 12 National Guard states and the District of Columbia.
Other partnerships in Africa 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; Burkina Faso and the District of Columbia.