HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., September 17, 2015 ? The Massachusetts National Guard has been selected as the U.S. partner for the Republic of Kenya as part of the Defense Department?s State Partnership Program.
Through the program, the Massachusetts National Guard will conduct mutually beneficial engagements in support of defense security cooperation goals and work to strengthen its partner nation?s domestic response capabilities, according to a Massachusetts National Guard press release.
?The Massachusetts National Guard, under the leadership of [Air Force] Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, [adjutant general], has done a superb job building the State Partnership Program and identifying mutually beneficial opportunities between our commonwealth and the Republic of Kenya,? said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. ?Massachusetts is proud to have an enhanced role in securing our nation?s defense around the world. Our administration looks forward to enhancing this program by developing and strengthening this partnership with the Republic of Kenya.?
The State Partnership Program is administered by the National Guard Bureau, guided by U.S. Department of State foreign policy goals, and supports theater commanders? security cooperation objectives. The program has been successfully building relationships around the globe for the past 22 years. With the inclusion of the Republic of Kenya, the State Partnership Program will have a total of 70 state partnerships, the release said.
Kenya is Massachusetts? second state partner. The commonwealth formalized a partnership with Paraguay in 2001. Since its inception, the Massachusetts National Guard has completed more than 100 exchanges with Paraguay, ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to maintenance, emergency management, engineering, and Army and Air Force aviation, according to the release.
“National Guard states have been building enduring relationships for more than 20 years through the State Partnership Program,” said Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “This partnership establishes Kenya as the National Guard’s 76th partner nation and greatly enhances Combatant Commanders? global security objectives.”
The State Partnership Program helps partner nations build a skilled force capable of helping develop the host nation’s defenses and security, disaster response, crisis management and interagency cooperation capabilities, according to the release.
?Our service members will provide mutual benefits to this strategic partnership with the Republic of Kenya,? Rice said. ?Our force will use their dynamic civilian and military skill sets and experiences to identify potential problems and offer effective solutions to cooperate with shared initiatives in Kenya. We are excited to exchange ideas and share knowledge to foster an enduring partnership.?
The Massachusetts National Guard?s nomination to partner with Kenya was supported by the Massachusetts governor?s office and several congressional delegates. Additional support came from academia and civic organizations with current Kenyan relationships. The official signing of the Massachusetts National Guard State Partnership will take place in Kenya and be announced soon, according to the release.