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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.
Sept. 21, 2021
Vermont, North Macedonia officials discuss expanding state partnership
CAMP JOHNSON, Vermont —
The Vermont National Guard hosted a press conference Sept. 21 with North Macedonia Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska, Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lindsay Kurrle to discuss new steps toward increased cooperation between the state and the new NATO ally.
Aug. 18, 2021
Vermont delegation visits state partner North Macedonia
SKOPJE, North Macedonia —
Brig. Gen. Gregory Knight, Vermont Adjutant General, and a delegation of leadership from Vermont visited North Macedonia as part of the State Partnership Program.
July 22, 2021
Senegalese National Fire Brigade visits Vt. for emergency capability demos
CAMP JOHNSON, Vermont —
From July 11-21, delegates from Senegal’s National Fire Brigade (Brigade Nationale des Sapeurs-Pompiers) visited Vermont as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.
May 28, 2021
Vermont seeks to build upon partnership with North Macedonia
CAMP JOHNSON, Vermont —
Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the state adjutant general, will travel to North Macedonia May 29, accompanied by Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Lindsay Kurrle, the state secretary of commerce and community development, to discuss how the state might build upon the existing State Partnership Program into economic areas.
Nov. 7, 2020
Training Must Go On: VT Guard Hosts Virtual Trauma Care Training with North Macedonia
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vermont —
In an upstairs room at her home in New York, while her children and dogs are playing downstairs, Lt. Col. Sarah Davis, clinical nurse assigned to the 158th Medical Group, Vermont Air National Guard, sits down at her computer screen with pieces of training equipment nearby, hoping to avoid being interrupted. It was September 28, the first day of a three-day trauma nurse training, when she logged on to greet participants virtually - a new normal during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.