The State Partnership Program is a Defense Department security cooperation program managed by the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, executed by geographic commands, and sourced by the 54 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.
The SPP evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set up the Joint Contact Team Program in the Baltic Region with Reserve component Soldiers and Airmen. A subsequent National Guard Bureau proposal paired U.S. states with three nations emerging from the former Soviet Bloc and the SPP was born, becoming a key U.S. security cooperation tool, facilitating cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level.
The program directly supports DOD objectives and theater campaign plans by building relationships that enhance global security, understanding, and cooperation. The program fosters long-term relationships across all levels of society and encourages the development of economic, political, and military ties between the states and partner nations.
Vermont as among the second group of states to join the State Partnership Program, establishing a partnership with the Republic of North Macedonia on July 14, 1993. Their partnership has included more than 350 military-to-military activities, including collaborative events in Europe and the United States, as well as a shared deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, marking the first time a National Guard unit deployed and served with a state partner. The Vermont National Guard supported their partnership through military assistance and training to help North Macedonia meet NATO standards, leading up to North Macedonia's entry into the alliance in 2020. Vermont and North Macedonia announced in 2021 that they would expand their partnership to include civic and economic opportunities for cooperation.
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.
The partnership between Vermont and Senegal has included engagements in disaster management and domestic response, force management, peace and stability operations, and intensive medical exercises.
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 the 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. The Vermont National Guard performed medical training exercises with Senegalese medical teams as part of MEDRETE-18 and MEDRETE-22.
Austria became Vermont's third state partner on Oct. 15, 2021, making Vermont the fifth National Guard with three state partners. The countries' military cooperation stretches back to 1983, with partnerships between the Army Mountain Warfare School, U.S. Army Biathlon Program, and 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) and their Austrian counterparts. The Vermont National Guard has also undertaken trilateral events with both Senegal and Austria since 2015 through the Physical Security and Stockpile Management Program, focused on safe munitions storage and disposal of expired munitions.
July 19, 2022
Vermont National Guard Signs Letter of Intent with Republic of Austria
With a stroke of the pen, the Vermont National Guard and Republic of Austria’s letter of intent formalizing their partnership under the State Partnership Program is official.
On July 19, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general; U.S. Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau; Klaudia Tanner, federal minister of defense of the Republic of Austria; and Lt. Gen. Erich Csitkovits, training director and commandant, National Defence Academy, performed a signing ceremony in Vienna to formalize the relationship between the Republic of Austria and Vermont.
June 29, 2022
15th Civil Support Team Hosts State Partnership Program Engagement
CAMP JOHNSON, Vermont —
The Vermont National Guard’s 15th Civil Support Team hosted six Soldiers from North Macedonia for civil support training at Camp Johnson in Colchester, June 6 -11th.
The North Macedonia Army soldiers were from a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Battalion and came to Vermont to conduct exercises with the Vermont National Guard’s 15th CST.
May 20, 2022
Vermont Guard demonstrates rotary-wing capabilities for Austrian delegation
CAMP JOHNSON, Vermont —
On May 12, a day after representatives from the Vermont National Guard and the Republic of Austria formally entered into a State Partner Program, Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner and staff were provided with rotary-wing flight demonstrations at Camp Johnson, the Vermont National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Colchester, Vermont.
May 11, 2022
Vermont National Guard, Austria formally recognize partnership
MONTPELIER, Vermont —
Representatives from the Vermont National Guard and the Republic of Austria formally entered into a partnership May 11 at 2 p.m.
Though work between the Austrian military and the Vermont National Guard is not new, the ceremony marked the formal beginning under the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.
May 10, 2022
Vermont Guard to support training exercise Swift Response 22
CAMP JOHNSON, Vermont —
More than 120 Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers will participate in training exercise Swift Response 22 in North Macedonia from May 11 to 17.
Exercise Swift Response is an annual U.S. Army Europe and Africa multinational training exercise that takes place this year in Eastern Europe, the Arctic High North, Baltics, and Balkans from May 2-24.