STUTTGART, Germany – The Nebraska National Guard and Rwanda formalized their commitment to the Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program during a signing ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda, Dec. 12, 2019.
The event marked the 15th state partnership between the U.S. and African nations, and 77th overall.
“The Rwanda Defence Force is eager to partner with Nebraska National Guard to exchange knowledge and experience in areas such as capacity building of our defence forces, disaster management and other areas of cooperation that will benefit our citizens,” said Lt. Col. Innocent Munyengango, RDF Spokesperson.
In Rwanda, where nearly 6,000 Rwanda Defence Force personnel are deployed annually for peacekeeping missions, the partnership will enhance capability to prepare, deploy and sustain those forces.
“The Nebraska National Guard is honored to have a new state partnership and build an even stronger relationship between the U.S. and Rwanda,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac, Nebraska National Guard adjutant general. “I know that the training opportunities, cultural experiences and professional exchange of ideas that the SPP makes possible will benefit both the Nebraska National Guard and Rwanda for years to come.”
Leaders attending the event included Air Force Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, Nebraska National Guard adjutant general; Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven deMilliano, U.S. Africa Command deputy director for strategy, engagement & programs; U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter H. Vrooman; Rwandan Gen. Jean-Bosco Kazura, RDF chief of defence staff, in addition to senior personnel within each organization.
Their visit included several cultural events and coordination meetings for future engagements and exchanges between the Nebraska National Guard and Rwanda.
“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.”
“I am proud to see the growing collaboration between Rwanda and Nebraska,” said U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter Vrooman. “This new state partnership, like the impressive investments that Nebraskans are making here in conservation agriculture, will be rewarding for the people of both countries.”
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, in addition to supporting theater campaign plans by building relationships that enhance global security, understanding and cooperation.
“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 administered by the National Guard Bureau and supports theater commanders’ security cooperation objectives. The program has been successfully building mutually beneficial relationships around the globe for more than 25 years. 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.
Find more on state partnerships in Africa: https://www.africom.mil/what-we-do/security-cooperation/state-partnership-program#Rwanda