Building a Larger Guard Role in Africa

Army Gen. Carter Ham, US Africa Command boss, favors the National Guard expanding its role in Africa through the State Partnership Program. “I think we should look for some new and innovative ways to apply state partnerships,” Ham told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. He said he asked National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Craig McKinley to consider adding two new state partnerships in Africa this year and to continue to explore future growth as well. Libya, “where we have a newly forming relationship rather than a long-standing relationship,” might be “a place where we could apply a state partnership program to great effect,” stated Ham. SPP began some 20 years ago and now operates in 65 nations, providing unique capacity-building skills and expertise to combatant commanders and US ambassadors, according to the National Guard. Ham said there are currently eight state partnerships in Africa: Botswana and North Carolina; Ghana and North Dakota; Liberia and Michigan; Morocco and Utah; Nigeria and California; Senegal and Vermont; South Africa and New York; and Tunisia and Wyoming. (Ham’s prepared testimony)