HomeNewsArticle Display

National Guard committed to 'long game' with State Partnership Program

Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief, National Guard Bureau, third from left, meets with the three-member presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina during a visit to the Western Balkan country, the Presidency Building, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jan. 23, 2019. The country is paired with the Maryland National Guard in the State Partnership Program.

Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, National Guard Bureau chief, third from left, meets with the three-member presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina during a visit to the Western Balkan country, the Presidency Building, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jan. 23, 2019. The country is paired with the Maryland National Guard in the State Partnership Program.

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AFNS) -- The National Guard takes a long-term view of its partnerships with more than one-third of the world’s countries, Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, National Guard Bureau chief, said during visits to three countries in the Western Balkans this week.

“We’re in this for the long game,” the Lengyel told host country leaders during stops in Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lengyel’s mission: Strengthen the enduring State Partnership Program relationships and underscore the U.S. commitment to the region’s security and stability.

Founded in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union more than a quarter-century ago, the SPP has steadily grown, from a handful of countries in the former Eastern Bloc to 83 in every geographic combatant command and on every continent except Antarctica.

The program pairs the National Guard in the states and territories and the District of Columbia with a foreign partner. Some states have more than one partner. It strengthens national security, including by contributing to the National Defense Strategy goal of building partnerships.

Macedonia is paired with the Vermont National Guard, Albania with the New Jersey National Guard, and Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Maryland National Guard. The Balkan region falls within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. The SPP supports combatant commander objectives.

“These partnerships contribute to the power and capability of both the host country and the National Guard,” Lengyel said.

Both China and Russia are increasing efforts to exert influence in the Balkans. Cyber has emerged as a new domain and the region’s countries are all striving to improve responses to disasters such as wildfires, floods and earthquakes.

“The only way to get at the challenges we face is to become stronger as partners, as allies and as friends,” Lengyel told one group of military officers during a stop on his visit. The general and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Kepner, senior enlisted advisor, met with key leaders and host nation and U.S. troops during the trip and saw demonstrations of host country military capabilities.

Among examples of the SPP's impact in the Western Balkans:

Helped Albania become a NATO member, strengthening the alliance – and Lengyel expressed U.S. support for both Macedonia’s and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s continued progress along the path to NATO membership.

Approximately 5,000 members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia have taken part in joint activities with U.S. troops. All three countries have seen hundreds of troops take part in dozens of small- to large-scale events, ranging from a dozen noncommissioned officers exchanging best practices to a thousand troops or more conducting joint training.

All three nations have co-deployed to places such as Afghanistan and Iraq with U.S. troops, strengthening coalition forces and demonstrating international resolve.

The nations have transitioned from being security consumers to security providers – for example, donating weapons and ammunition to coalition partners defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

About 1,600 Pennsylvania National Guard members are scheduling a joint exercise with Macedonian troops this year.

The primary reserve of the Army and the Air Force, the National Guard comprises about 25 percent of all personnel serving in the armed forces. The National Guard supports the National Defense Strategy by fighting U.S. wars, securing the homeland and building enduring partnerships. About 30,000 Guard members are deployed worldwide today and about 10,000 are supporting domestic missions.

Lengyel is the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He ensures the 450,000 Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland and to provide combat forces to the Army and the Air Force.

The most senior enlisted member of the National Guard, Kepner is the chief’s principal military advisor on all enlisted matters affecting training, utilization, health of the force and enlisted professional development.

Engage

Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Twitter
In March 2019, @AFSpecOpsCmd received its first Block 30 AC-130J Ghostrider gunship. Referred to as “the ultimate b… https://t.co/V9FoDThYRQ
Twitter
As the Joint Force transitioned from a Continuous Bomber Presence posture in the Indo-Pacific theater to a Dynamic… https://t.co/u8JlA3GaeF
Twitter
As of August 2020, The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, aka Hurricane Hunters, has flown 64 missions into 12 s… https://t.co/CFtHJ8HDXG
Twitter
.@AFGlobalStrike tackled B-1B readiness issues head-on by readying the fleet with a roadmap to recovery over a 2-yr… https://t.co/dEfZemGKbb
Twitter
As we celebrate 73 years of the U.S. Air Force, we remember the heroes we are proud to have served with. Today we… https://t.co/3pdHX3DvIn
Twitter
Flying, fighting and winning since 1947. #USAF73 https://t.co/qM28ykPZwt
Twitter
RT @AF_Academy: Proud to fly the @usairforce flag today and every day! Happy 73rd Birthday! #YourAcademy #FamilyWeek https://t.co/hOIs1ghq7M
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Today we honor the #heroes who knew the worst of war and the agony of captivity - those who fought for and lost their fre…
Twitter
RT @ArmyMateriel: Join us in wishing a Happy Birthday to our brothers and sisters in the United States Air Force! #DYK The Air Force was…
Twitter
RT @JBABdc: Happy 73rd birthday, @usairforce! The USAF Band and Honor Guard were thrilled to help kick off the celebration on Fox & Friends…
Twitter
RT @AFSAHQ: Happy Birthday to the world's greatest @UsAirForce ! 73 years of excellence, service and sacrifice. Thank you to all the #Air
Twitter
RT @97AMW: Happy 73rd birthday @usairforce! As we celebrate today, we honor the heroism of our Airmen, past and present, who have been the…
Twitter
RT @53rdWRS: Special birthday shoutout to @usairforce! 73 never looked so good! What better way to celebrate than by flying another missio…
Twitter
RT @HollomanAFB: #happybirthday Birthday @usairforce ✈️🇺🇸🎊🎉 Happy Friday! We made it! #F16Friday #combatairpower https://t.co/EedHtI62sn
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Today, we celebrate 7️⃣3️⃣ years as the world's leading source of #airpower✈️ Fly, Fight, Win! #USAF73 #AFBDay https://t.…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,279,987
Follow Us