NGAUS Washington Report
(March 19, 2013) The National Guard State Partnership Program is an extraordinarily effective, enduring, low-cost tool to advance the national security objective of building partnership capacity, two veteran combatant commanders told Congress Friday.
“You probably have the co-chairs of the State Partnership Program fan club seated here,” Gen. Carter Ham, the U.S. Africa Command commander, told the House Armed Services Committee, speaking for himself and Adm. James Stavridis, the U.S. European Command commander and Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, who also testified.
Ham and Stavridis testified at a hearing on the posture of their commands related to the nation’s defense budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins in October.
The 20-year-old partnership program has paired the National Guard in U.S. states and territories with more than one-third of the countries worldwide. It is the subject of a story in this month’s issue of NATIONAL GUARD.
Stavridis has seen the SPP in assignments in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
“They are, bang for the buck, one of the best things going,” he said. “Anything that enhances state partnership is money in the bank for the regional combatant commanders.”
AFRICOM has eight SPP pairings and Ham testified that the command is seeking to expand.
“The real benefit in the State Partnership Program is the enduring nature of the relationship, that sergeants and lieutenants and captains grow up together and have multiple engagements,” he said.