|Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Keith discusses the capabilities of a UH-60 Black Hawk with Lt. Col. Chakib Mahamed Ali, deputy commander of the Djibouti Air Force, during a visit to the Kentucky Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort, Kentucky, Sept. 15, 2015. Members of the Djibouti military toured several sites across Kentucky as part of the country’s new partnership with the Kentucky Guard.
The Kentucky National Guard State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships for more than 20 years with both Ecuador and more recently, the country of Djibouti. The goal of SPP is to link the Commonwealth up with a partner country for a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
For more than two decades, the National Guard State Partnership Program has successfully built and sustained enduring relationships with America’s global partners. The Republic of Djibouti and The Commonwealth of Kentucky forged the National Guard’s newest partnership in June, 2015. This partnership expands the footprint of SPP to include 69 security partnerships, involving 75 nations around the globe. The program 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.
Through SPP, the National Guard not only conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security objectives, but also leverages a whole-of-society approach that facilitates broader interagency cooperation spanning military, government, economic and social spheres. As Citizen-Soldiers, the Kentucky National Guard is uniquely capable of using their military and civilian experiences to identify solutions and cooperate on many shared initiatives. Because they serve as Kentucky’s rapid response force, they also bring disaster response capabilities that can help build Djibouti’s capacity in this critical area. In addition to the SPP, Kentucky Soldiers and Airmen have a long history of providing operational support to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) to include a nine month deployment of more than 500 troops to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti in 2012.
Over time, as the relationship between our military institutions grows and matures, we intend to leverage the State Partnership into opportunities for the Commonwealth’s other government agencies, universities, civic organizations, public health professionals and private sector partners to become involved in spurring economic growth and development opportunities for both the Republic of Djibouti and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
State Partnership Program Director