Partnerships

U.S. Strengthens Partnership With Burkina Faso

May 10, 2019 | BY David Vergun

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.

Soldiers march with a flag as civilian men observe.
Closing Ceremony
Burkinabe Defense Minister and Veteran Affairs Chief Cherif Sy and Andrew Young, U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso, observe a pass in review during the closing ceremony of exercise Flintlock in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, March 1, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Parker
VIRIN: 190301-N-RU672-008C

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.

Chief of General Staff for the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso
Military Agreement
Army Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general, District of Columbia National Guard and Brig. Gen. Moses Miningou, general staff chief for the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, sign an agreement to become partners under the State Partnership Program in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Feb. 1, 2019. Burkina Faso became the 76th nation to join the program.
Photo By: District of Columbia Air National Guard Tech Sgt. Arthur Mondale Wright
VIRIN: 190201-Z-PL327-971C

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.

Main Points From the Meeting

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.

A military honor guard stands at attention.
Burkinabe Honor Guard
The Burkinabe honor guard stands at attention during the closing ceremony of the Flintlock exercise in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, March 1, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Parker
VIRIN: 190301-N-RU672-007C
Men train with weapons.
Burkinabe Soldiers
An Army Special Forces soldier provides instructions to Burkinabe soldiers during exercise Flintlock at Camp Zagre, Burkina Faso, Feb. 28, 2017.
Photo By: Army Spc. Britany Slessman
VIRIN: 170228-A-ZF167-100C

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.

Man with rifle moves through foliage.
Burkinabe Exercise
A Burkinabe soldier participates in squad movement drills during exercise Flintlock 2017 at Camp Zagre, Burkina Faso, Feb. 28, 2017.
Photo By: Army Spc. Britany Slessman
VIRIN: 170228-A-ZF167-246C

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.

Did You Know?

The district's National Guard has been partnered with Jamaica since 1999.