The State Partnership Program (SPP)

State Partnership Program in 2016
State Partnership Program in 2016
73 Partnerships, Over 20 Years

The State Partnership Program (SPP) has been successfully building relationships for over 20 years that includes 73 unique security partnerships involving 76 nations around the globe. SPP links a unique component of the Department of Defense – a state’s National Guard – with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.

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.”

SPP links U.S. states with partner countries around the world to promote access, increase military capability, improve interoperability and enhance the principles of responsible governance. Rather than U.S. soldiers training other nations’ soldiers, partnership events involve the sharing of concepts, ideas and lessons learned.

SPP’s success provides tremendous relationship and capacity building with partner nations at an extremely low price. The number of co-deployments between states and their partner countries to Afghanistan and Iraq is a testament to the program’s value; most coalition forces in OEF and OIF come from SPP countries. SPP is a critical tool for interagency and comprehensive joint engagements.

The National Guard’s dual federal and state missions make SPP an ideal vehicle to demonstrate effective democratic institutions, promote democratic values and share best practices to help partner countries achieve their goals. The unique civil-military nature of the National Guard allows the SPP to engage in a wide range of Security Cooperation activities, such as:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • Defense Support of Civil Authorities
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear
  • Cyber
  • Reserve Component Reform
  • Counterdrug
  • Border/Port Security
  • Public/Private Partnerships

The SPP’s value is demonstrated by its ability to directly support the broad U.S. national interests and international security cooperation goals by engaging partner nations through military, socio-political and economic conduits at the local, state and national levels. The program’s public diplomacy effectiveness lies in its ability to leverage the full breadth and depth of U.S. defense and interagency capabilities from within the state-country relationship. The SPP also serves as an avenue to promote American values by freely exchanging ideas with partner nations and by reinforcing the common pursuit of security, stability and democracy.