State Partnership Program

The State Partnership Program is a key U.S. security cooperation tool that facilitates cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encourages people-to-people ties at the state level.

The State Partnership Program is a key U.S. security cooperation tool that facilitates cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encourages people-to-people ties at the state level. The SPP directly supports DOD objectives and theater campaign plans by building relationships that enhance global security, understanding and cooperation.

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.

There are currently 15 State Partnerships between the United States and African nations: Benin, Ghana, and Togo are partnered with North Dakota; Botswana and North Carolina; Burkina Faso and D.C.Djibouti and Kentucky; Kenya and Massachusetts; Liberia and Michigan; Morocco and Utah; Niger and Indiana; Nigeria and California; Senegal and VermontSouth Africa and New YorkTunisia and Wyoming; and Rwanda and Nebraska.



On February 1, 2019, Burkina Faso became the 76th nation to join the State Partnership Program. At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Defense in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general, District of Columbia National Guard and Brigade General Moses Miningou, chief of general staff, Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, signed the historic partnership agreement.

Together, they agreed to build a mutually rewarding relationship of cooperation, which will be founded on the preservation of mutual interests, to share their cultural diversity and strengthen their capabilities by integrating investment in human capital within the exchanges, and to embark upon a lasting relationship between the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso and the National Guard of the District of Columbia, in the best interests of security and development.



The Kentucky National Guard and Djibouti began State Partnership Program cooperation in 2015, in support of the US AFRICOM Theater Security Cooperation Strategy.

Through cooperative training exercises and key leadership engagements, National Guard and partner-nation service members are learning from each other and forming lasting relationships to enhance each other’s forces for the future. The program increases strength in peacetime, which will improve capabilities and interoperability in times of conflict.

The SPP allows National Guard to partner with allied nations, like Djibouti to strengthen relationships and interoperability, enhance military capabilities, and increase cultural awareness and professional skills among U.S. military personnel and their counterparts.

The program is based on a full-spectrum exchange philosophy partnering service members from every rank with their allied-nation counterpart. For example, a Kentucky Infantry squad will train alongside a military police type unit from Djibouti. With these exchanges, privates, junior NCOs and junior officers gain the opportunity to focus on their skillset. At the same time, our commanding generals and senior enlisted leaders spend time working alongside their counterparts in Djibouti, building the relationship from the bottom to the top.

The partnership is sustained by conducting exchanges focusing on military and civilian best practices in such areas as air and land forces interoperability, disaster management and professional development. On average between 5-10 exchanges take place between the Kentucky National Guard and Djiboutian Armed Forces each year, both in their home country and throughout Kentucky’s commonwealth.



Since becoming partners in 2003,  the Utah National Guard and Kingdom of Morocco, the partners have participated in more than one hundred bilateral engagements and exchanges encompassing a colossal range of military competencies to include aviation operations, aviation maintenance, aviation safety, special operations, military law, medical casualty care, engineering, cyber security, communications, disaster response, CBRNE operations, de-mining, leadership development, headquarters operations, border security and humanitarian assistance. 

Currently the State Partnership Program is focused on enhancing emergency response capabilities, counter-threat activities & border security, Joint Messaging Center operations & communications interoperability and military intelligence programs.

The partnership aims to support Morocco in order to become an exporter of security and stability in North Africa through global combatant command security cooperation objectives.



The relationship between the Vermont National guard and the Republic of Senegal was established in 2008. Senegalese President Wade visited Vermont in 2008, Senegalese President Sall visited in 2014 and President Obama visited Senegal in 2013. Numerous medical, engineer, and aviation exercises have occurred during this partnership.

In 2015, the Vermont National Guard and engineers with the Senegalese Armed Forces constructed a humanitarian land mine detection training range at Camp Moussa Diom, Bargny, Senegal. The Vermont National Guard and Republic of Senegal continue to work together in Humanitarian Mine Action programs.

The Vermont National Guard's skilled medical staff partnered with Senegalese counterparts to enhance medical skills by providing real-world medical services to people in Senegal. In 2018, the Vermont National Guard performed a medical training exercise with Senegalese medical teams as part of MEDRETE-18.



New York State and South African forces have engaged in partnership events together since 2003.

The New York National Guard State Partnership Program executes bilateral events, including military and civilian engagements, with the Republic of South Africa to increase partner capacity and capability to promote regional stability in Africa.

The New York National Guard posts a bi-lateral exchange officer in the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria to coordinate and support the partnership program.

New York National Guard leadership conducts regular visits to South Africa for discussions with representatives of the South African National Defense Force. Since 2003, the two partners have conducted more than 70 joint training events and exchanges.

A significant highlight of the state partnership is the regular participation of the New York Air National Guard in the bi-Annual African Aerospace and Defense Air Show held at Air Force Base Waterkloof.

Other engagements include New York Army and Air National Guard participation in the South African National Defense Force Combat Rifle and Soldier Skills Competitions, New York Army National Guard Military Police officers visiting the South African military police training center, firefighter exchanges and specialty staff, chaplaincy and family readiness engagements.



The Wyoming National Guard’s  partnership with Tunisia, which began in 2004, has resulted in numerous military-to-military exchanges capitalizing on mutual capabilities in aviation (C-130 and UH-60), medical (ground and aeromedical evacuation), infantry training, and staff officer professional development.

Engagement between the two countries is steadily growing. In 2017 the program executed 15 exchanges, conducted 22 in 2018, and 33 are planned for next year. The Wyoming National Guard has worked diligently to increase engagements between Tunisia and other Wyoming state government and civilian agencies.

In 2019 Wyoming hosted the 33rd Joint Military Commission – the first time it was held outside of one of the national capitals – between the US and Tunisia. Among the dignitaries in attendance were the Tunisian Minister of Defense, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, US Ambassador to Tunisia and the Tunisian Ambassador to the United States.

The University of Wyoming is developing an extensive engagement strategy with Tunisia, to include student and faculty exchanges and academic programs. It sent its first summer work study student to Tunis this year. That student happens to also be a Wyoming Army National Guard member.



The Nebraska National Guard and Rwanda signed the framework to become the Department of Defense’s 15th state partnership in Africa following a ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda, Dec. 12, 2019.

The partnership will focus on sharing expertise in emergency and disaster response as well as strengthening cooperation in peacekeeping operations and readiness for the Rwanda Defence Force, which contributes more troops each year to United Nations peacekeeping missions than all but a few much larger countries.

Rwanda is the Nebraska National Guard’s second state partnership. Since that partnership began in 1993, the Nebraska National Guard has completed over 100 exchanges with its Czech partners, ranging from cyber defense and firefighting to leadership development and improving interoperability of air and ground systems.


To learn more, click here to see the National Guard Bureau's information about the State Partnership Program.