The District of Columbia National Guard is partnered with two nations as part of the State Partnership Program. Its most recent partnership was formalized in February with Burkina Faso, which became the 76th nation to take part in the program.
On May 1, U.S. military and diplomatic officials held a media roundtable following a meeting at the Pentagon to discuss the newest nation to join the State Partnership Program.
The meeting included Army Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commander of the District of Columbia National Guard; Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven J. deMilliano, U.S. Africa Command deputy for strategy, engagement and programs; and Army Col. Craig Hummer, the National Guard Bureau director for international affairs, visited their counterparts in the Pentagon. They also met with Andrew Young, U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and other State Department officials.
Africom holds various military-to-military engagements with Burkina Faso, including multilateral annual Flintlock exercise, which is designed to increase regional cooperation amongst African, U.S. and allied counterterrorism forces.
Shared military expertise will help the Burkinabe armed forces build and strengthen their capabilities and their role in the region by building strong institutions and good governance that will deliver security, stability and prosperity, defense officials said.
Discussions included roles and responsibilities to support emergency and disaster response, countering illicit trafficking, peacekeeping operations, border security, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and health and medical engagements.
The goal is to make a difference and have an impact in support of broader U.S. national defense strategy objectives, not only in Burkina Faso, defense officials said, but throughout the region.
The district's National Guard has been partnered with Jamaica since 1999.