HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – During an official signing ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya Oct. 1, the Massachusetts National Guard became the U.S. partner for the Republic of Kenya as part of the Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program, which is managed by the National Guard. Through the State Partnership Program, the Massachusetts National Guard will conduct mutually beneficial engagements in support of defense security cooperation goals and work to strengthen its partner nation’s domestic response capabilities.
“The Massachusetts National Guard, under the leadership of Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, has done a superb job building the State Partnership Program and identifying mutually beneficial opportunities between our Commonwealth and the Republic of Kenya,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts is proud to have an enhanced role in securing our nation’s defense around the world. Our administration looks forward to enhancing this program by developing and strengthening this partnership with the Republic of Kenya.”
The State Partnership Program is administered by the National Guard Bureau, guided by U.S. Department of State foreign policy goals, and supports theater commanders’ security cooperation objectives. The State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships around the globe for the past 22 years; with the inclusion of the Republic of Kenya, the State Partnership Program will have a total of 70 state partnerships.
"What's great about this program is that is mutually beneficial," said Gen. David Rodriguez, commander, U.S. Africa Command. "It allows for an exchange of knowledge and facilitates the development of personal relationships between partner nations and their National Guard counterparts."
Kenya is Massachusetts’ second State Partner; the Paraguay-Massachusetts State Partnership was formalized in 2001. Since its inception, the Massachusetts National Guard has completed over 100 exchange with Paraguay, ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to maintenance, emergency management, engineering, and Army and Air Force aviation.
"National Guard states have been building enduring relationships for more than 20 years through the State Partnership Program," said Gen. Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau. "This partnership establishes Kenya as the National Guard's 76th partner nation and greatly enhances Combatant Commanders’ global security objectives."
The State Partnership Program helps partner nations build a skilled force capable of helping develop the host nation's defenses and security, disaster response, crisis management and interagency cooperation capabilities.
“Our service members will provide mutual benefits to this strategic partnership with the Republic of Kenya,” said Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “Our force will use their dynamic civilian and military skill sets and experiences to identify potential problems and offer effective solutions to cooperate with shared initiatives in Kenya. We are excited to exchange ideas and share knowledge to foster an enduring partnership.”
The Massachusetts National Guard’s nomination to partner with Kenya was supported by the Massachusetts Governor’s office and several Congressional delegates. Additional support came from academia and civic organizations with current Kenyan relationships.
The Massachusetts National Guard has loyal and dedicated Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen who are always ready to answer the call to duty anytime and anywhere in support of communities across the Commonwealth and the Nation, living the motto: “Always Ready, Always There!”