Contact Us Press Releases AFRICOM Portal
National Guard Partnerships Spread in Africa
During a visit to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, U.S. Air Force Major General Michael Dubie met with staff at U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and 17th Air Force to receive an update on Senegal, one of the African nations participating in the U.S.
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany  †U.S. Air Force Major General Michael Dubie, adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, sits in a briefing room awaiting an update on Senegal, the African nation partnering with Vermont in the U.S. Department of Defense's State Partnership Program. The program fosters military-to-military, military-to-civilian, and civilian-to-civilian cooperation. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Jim Greenhill, U.S. Air Force)
1 photo: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 1: RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany †U.S. Air Force Major General Michael Dubie, adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, sits in a briefing room awaiting an update on Senegal, the African nation partnering with Vermont in the U.S. Department of Defense's State Partnership Program. The program fosters military-to-military, military-to-civilian, and civilian-to-civilian cooperation. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Jim Greenhill, U.S. Air Force) Download full-resolution version
During a visit to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, U.S. Air Force Major General Michael Dubie met with staff at U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and 17th Air Force to receive an update on Senegal, one of the African nations participating in the U.S. Defense Department's State Partnership Program.

Dubie is the adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, which is partnering with Senegal in support of security cooperation objectives.

For 14 years, the Vermont National Guard has been in the National Guard's State Partnership Program with the Balkan nation of Macedonia, once part of the former Yugoslavia, and now Vermont also is partnered with Senegal.

USAFE's area of responsibility includes Macedonia, and 17th Air Force supports U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which includes Senegal.

Adjutant generals view such office calls as mandatory stops as they pursue State Partnership Program activities with their partner nations. The National Guard is one part of a larger team working to improve partnership capacity.

"We're talking about the integration between what their mission is in their area of responsibility and the State Partnership Program," Dubie explained. "The State Partnership Program is one of the tools in their tool kit to further their goal -- either on a bilateral or a multilateral basis -- and we want to work on a collaborative basis and be an asset for [geographic commands] to accomplish whatever the goals are."

The State Partnership Program started in 1993 to foster military-to-military, military-to-civilian and civilian-to-civilian cooperation.

"Since I've been doing this type of interaction for about 14 years, I can tell that AFRICOM has adopted the EUCOM model," Dubie said. "Some of the other [combatant commands] haven't quite adopted as aggressive a State Partnership Program."

Twenty National Guard states have partnerships with 21 countries within the EUCOM area of operations. Six nations within AFRICOM's purview have such partnerships, and at least two more are expected soon.

"As AFRICOM develops into a more robust program on the continent, the relationships that are being built right now between different U.S. states and their African counterparts can help AFRICOM accomplish their theater strategic plan," Dubie said. "It's really important for the U.S. states in the State Partnership Program to always keep in mind what the [combatant commanders'] goals are, in addition to knowing the specific country team goals as articulated by each separate ambassador."

The hyphenated pedigree of the Guard member -- citizen-Soldier or citizen-Airman -- makes the National Guard unique in its ability to deliver, General William Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, has said.

"There's only one branch of our services, one arm of our services, one component of our services that brings that to the table: That's our Guard," he said at the 2007 EUCOM SPP workshop. "The work that you all do is an absolutely critical element to our engagement strategy."

So it's no surprise that Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller, the deputy for military operations at AFRICOM, already has been to a workshop in Vermont to meet with chiefs of defense from State Partnership Program participating nations.

"General Ward and the entire team at AFRICOM want to work on a very collaborative basis with the states," Dubie said.

Meanwhile, Vermont hit the ground running with its latest partnership. It took several years for the state to move from military-to-military through military-to-civilian to civilian-to-civilian activities with Macedonia, but Dubie said that's all happening at once with Senegal.

"We aggressively are trying to simultaneously implement events in all three venues," he said.

The State Partnership Program enriches the National Guard as well as its foreign partners, he said.

"The fact that we are becoming smarter about world affairs and we're building lasting relationships make it a success -- and we haven't even talked about the specifics of military operations," Dubie said. "It's what the United States as a whole needs to do more. American society needs to understand other parts of the world better – and if we can start doing that by the Vermont National Guard, that's a good thing for Vermont society and for American society."

The Senegal partnership has further expanded Guard members' horizons.

"Sometimes Americans, myself included, are quite myopic in our view and already in one year I look at world events through a different lens," Dubie said. "Instead of that American-European lens we're so used to, we're starting to look at it through an American, European and African lens.

"Senegal has a very rich history. I was impressed by their professionalism, also the very large leadership role they have in the African Union. In their region of Africa, they have a very strong leadership role."


PARTNERSHIPS OPERATIONS READINESS