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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.
Oct. 7, 2014
Vermont's adjutant general says Macedonian partnership remains strong
CAMP JOHNSON, Vermont —
Returning from the Vermont National Guard’s State Partnership country, Macedonia, Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, the adjutant general, was extremely optimistic about the future of the partnership and the tri-lateral engagement between Macedonia, Vermont and Senegal, Vermont’s other State Partnership country.
Aug. 13, 2013
N. Macedonian army conducts combined training with 186th BSB
FORT DRUM, New York —
Members of the North Macedonian army are training through combined operations with the 186th Brigade Support Battalion here, from Aug. 4 and scheduled to stay until Aug. 19.
June 27, 2012
Cooperative Lancer 2012
North Macedonia —
About 40 members of the Vermont Army National Guard joined a dozen other countries in the former Yugoslav Republic of North Macedonia in May for a two-week long NATO exercise that was designed to enhance interoperability between participating countries. Named Cooperative Lancer and Longbow, the Vermont Army National Guard members worked with fellow military men and women from more than a dozen NATO countries and NATO-partner countries. Vermont has had a good relationship with North Macedonia via the State Partnership Program since 1993 which has fostered close ties between the two groups.
May 30, 2010
'Always a Step Ahead' - Macedonia Rangers partner with Task Force Avalanche in Paktya
True to their motto "Always a step ahead," the soldiers of the Ranger Battalion of the Macedonian army are forging new ground with their U.S. partners from the Vermont Army National Guard in the National Guard's State Partnership for Peace Program.
Sept. 18, 2009
Macedonian president visits Vermont to discuss joint deployment
BURLINGTON, Vermont —
The president of the Republic of Macedonia arrived here today to further develop the nation's ongoing relationship with the Vermont National Guard that began in 1995 with the National Guard State Partnership Program.