Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso —
The District of Columbia National Guard and the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso signed a partnership agreement here Friday, formalizing D.C. and the West African nation as the newest partners in the Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program.
“The D.C. National Guard is proud to be a part of the multi-faceted relationship between the United States and Burkina Faso,” said Army Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, D.C. National Guard commanding general. “I am confident that the D.C. National Guard and Burkina Faso will benefit from the extraordinary talents, skills and experiences each will bring to this exciting partnership.”
“That the D.C. National Guard, known as the “Capital Guardians,” and the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso are joining together as partners is especially meaningful given the terrorist threat that Burkina Faso’s own capital city of Ouagadougou has faced in recent years,” added U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Andrew R. Young. “These two forces embody the friendship between our nations and peoples, and together we will face and overcome the challenges before us.”
Guided by U.S. foreign policy goals, the SPP administered by the National Guard Bureau supports theater commanders’ security cooperation objectives. The program has been successfully building mutually beneficial relationships around the globe for 25 years. The pairing of Burkina Faso will be the 76th state partner under the SPP.
“We’re excited and honored to be partnered with Burkina Faso,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, chief, National Guard Bureau. “There is no doubt the SPP experience has contributed to our growth. It better enables us to execute our missions of fighting America’s wars, securing the homeland and building partnerships.”
The D.C. National Guard partnership with the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso will lay the foundation for a successful, long-term relationship by sharing expertise in emergency and disaster response, enhancing border security and strengthening cooperation in peacekeeping operations and readiness, said D.C. National Guard officials.
Burkina Faso is the D.C. National Guard’s second state partnership. The D.C. National Guard formalized a partnership with the Jamaican Defense Forces in 1999. Since the partnership began, the D.C. National Guard has completed more than 40 exchanges with Jamaican partners ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness to military policing, medical readiness, maintenance of vehicles and civil engineering capacity building.
The SPP evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set-up a 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.
Through the SPP, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals, but also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.
For more information about the D.C. National Guard’s SPP visit https://www.dc.ng.mil. For more information about the National Guard SPP visit https://www.nationalguard.mil. For more information about the U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso visit https://bf.usembassy.gov/.