Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing another outstanding achievement by the District of Columbia National Guard. On February 1st, 2019 Burkina Faso became the 76th nation to join the State Partnership Program - a Department of Defense joint security cooperation program administered by the National Guard. The program is executed by the individual states, territories and the District of Columbia. I am proud to inform this body that the D.C. National Guard and the Burkina Faso Armed Forces will now be establishing a military-to-military relationship focused on security cooperation.
The State Partnership Program provides an equally beneficial relationship between armed forces of partnering U.S. National Guard states, territories, the District of Columbia and foreign nations. It is administered by the National Guard Bureau and guided by State Department foreign policy goals. These partnerships support Combatant Command campaign objectives, strengthen alliances, provide cost-effective subject matter expert engagements and enhance defense security.
The District of Columbia National Guard's partnership with Burkina Faso will be in addition to the current partnership between the D.C. National Guard and Jamaica. Since 1999, the District of Columbia National Guard has had a successful and productive partnership with Jamaica. In 2018, the D.C. National Guard and the Jamaica Defense Forces conducted 17 key subject matter expert engagements including work on drug-trafficking, military police response and domestic security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response, and preparation for medical and dental personnel, among other activities.
The Burkina Faso state partnership would not have happened without the leadership of Major General William J. Walker, the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, Brigadier General Aaron R. Dean II, the Adjutant General D.C. National Guard, Justin Som, Burkina Faso's Secretary General of the Minister of Defense, Andrew R. Young, the U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Brigadier, General Moses Miningou, the Chief of General Staff forthe National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, and Brigadier General Steven deMilliano, U.S. Air Force, Deputy Director for Strategy, Engagement and Programs Directorate at United States Africa Command. Many others contributed as well from the D.C. National Guard, Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau and State Department.
As the D.C. National Guard embarks on this new mission, I look forward to supporting them every step of the way. I trust through their dedication and sacrifices, they will help strengthen shared national security goals while fostering a partnership of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the people of Burkina Faso and the region.