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By Maj. J. Scott Detweiler
Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
Representatives from the Vermont National Guard and the Republic of Austria formally entered into a partnership at 2:00 p.m. today.
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.
“Shared interests, similarities, and a history of working together are so important because it means we’re entering this official State Partnership with a very strong foundation,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. “Giving us tremendous opportunity to strengthen our relationship and learn from each other.”
Since 1993, The National Guard’s State Partnership program has connected over 90 countries to respective state National Guard’s. In October 2021, the Department of Defense formally notified the Vermont National Guard of their selection to partner with the Republic of Austria, making Vermont one of only five states with three state partnerships.
“While each training engagement and project is important, the real foundation of the State Partnership Program are the relationships that evolve over the years,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont adjutant general. “North Macedonia’s former Minister of Defense, Ms. Radmila Shekerinska said it best in a press conference here last year: this program is really about friendship.”
The partnership between Austria and Vermont started nearly 30 years ago in order to build a state-of-the-art Mountain Warfare School. Over the coming years, the two militaries plan to conduct many exchanges to mutually improve in areas such as cyber defense, information operations, military mountaineering, and Humanitarian and Disaster Assistance Response.