National Guard January 2011 : Page 38
STATE ROUNDUP Ambassadors in Uniform A multiagency group believes a larger State Partnership Program can help expand citizen diplomacy COLLECTION OF STATE and federal officials thinks a larger Na-tional Guard State Partnership Pro-gram can be a tool for greater citizen and institutional diplomacy around the world. “This incredibly powerful and success-ful network of state programs … has such tremendous potential,” said Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton. “We want to envision … a framework that … can grow from … the genius of the State Partnership Pro-gram and the impact it has had on emerg-ing democracies.” She was among a roundtable of State Department and Defense Department lead-ers, state officials, and academics meeting in Washington, D.C., who had high praise in November for the almost 20-year-old pro-gram that has paired 51 states and territo-ries with 62 foreign countries (box, page 39) . A 38 | Na tional Guard
Ambassadors in Uniform
A multiagency group believes a larger State Partnership Program can help expand citizen diplomacy
A COLLECTION OF STATE and federal officials thinks a larger National Guard State Partnership Program can be a tool for greater citizen and institutional diplomacy around the world.
"This incredibly powerful and successful network of state programs . . . has such tremendous potential," said Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton. "We want to envision . . . a framework that . . . can grow from . . . the genius of the State Partnership Program and the impact it has had on emerging democracies."
She was among a roundtable of State Department and Defense Department leaders, state officials, and academics meeting in Washington, D.C., who had high praise in November for the almost 20-year-old program that has paired 51 states and territories with 62 foreign countries (box, page 39).
"The National Guard's SPP . . . we have seen at the [State] Department to be one of the best examples of subnational engagement," said Reta Jo Lewis, the department's special representative for intergovernmental affairs.
"The SPP has become an essential tool that's been used by our ambassadors and our embassies . . . to achieve their goals," she said.
The roundtable on the role of the states in global citizen diplomacy chaired by Lawton recommended enhancing the SPP, with federal and state approval, to increase individual citizen and institutional diplomacy that contributes to national security objectives.
"To date, the state has not taken a very active, institutional, formal role in connecting to and fostering citizen diplomacy, but we have big ambitions for what we can accomplish," Lawton said.
The discussion was part of the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy's U.S. Summit & Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy.
A State Department survey of its embassies conducted in October about the SPP found 34 out of 45 embassies "strongly agree" with the statement that the SPP helps them meet their objectives, while another 10 "agree."
"They provided numerous examples of success," Lewis said. "Overall, the State Department strongly supports the SPP as a powerful tool for subnational exchange."
"We are trying to promote democracy," said Jennifer Leigh Brush, the director of the State Department's office of South Central European affairs. "We are trying to promote free enterprise. We are trying to promote human rights. We are trying to promote our own national security. The [SPP] is critical to all of these goals."
With a $3 million foundation grant, the SPP began in the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in 1993, capitalizing on demographic links to partner former Soviet Bloc countries with Guard states.
The State Department and Defense Department work with candidate countries that express an interest in the SPP. All states have the opportunity to compete for selection as a partner.
"The key to the success of this program is that it achieves U.S. strategic interests while being essentially community based and state based," said Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, the adjutant general of Washington state, which is partnered with Thailand. "What we do through the [SPP] is create a receptive environment for engagement by all other elements of citizen-to-citizen diplomacy."
The SPP also benefits the states, giving every participating state and territory training and professional development opportunities without straining the force and at relatively low cost. The program's budget is $12 million.
At the request of the U.S. ambassador, Washington is assisting Thailand with critical infrastructure protection. Thailand has the world's 15th busiest port. One in three vessels leaving there is bound for Tacoma, Wash.
"We have seen very creative tactics and techniques and procedures that don't require money, but are just a smarter, better way of dealing with catastrophic emergencies that we have brought home and incorporated in our own exercises in Washington . . . that have enhanced homeland security," Lowenberg said.
But SPP benefits quickly ripple beyond defense issues.
"The states have found tremendous commercial value to their state partnerships, as well as the value in developing their global profiles," Lawton said. "There have been jobs created through the [SPP] because of the richness of relationships that have developed."
"It's a brilliant program," Lawton said. "There's a genius to this, in its organic nature, in the way that it bridges [the Defense Department] and 50 states, and to allow that to not function at the highest level is to create a litany of lost opportunities, and–as a public servant–there's enough of that in our lives."
–By Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
State Headquarters Moves Back To Historic Post in New Orleans
The Louisiana National Guard has moved back to Jackson Barracks, five years after Hurricane Katrina nearly washed away the historic military installation in 2005.
Guard and local officials formally reestablished the state's joint-force headquarters on the post in New Orleans during a special ceremony Nov. 5.
Jackson Barracks is in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, one of the areas hardest hit by Katrina. Every building on post sustained damage.
After the devastation, the Louisiana Guard relocated half its headquarters staff to Camp Beauregard in Pineville and the other half to Gillis W. Long Center in Carville.
The ceremony, which included a 19-gun salute, the display of the Headquarters Direct Reporting Units' colors, and a flyover by F-15 fighters, celebrated the official return of the Louisiana Guard's headquarters to Jackson Barracks.
Rebuilding the post began in early 2006 and is still not yet complete, according to officials. Total cost for the effort will be about $300 million.
"A project of this enormity does not just happen by itself," said Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, the Louisiana adjutant general, at the ceremony. "Today would not be possible without the hard-working men and women of the National Guard."
Jackson Barracks was built in 1834 to house the federal military garrison defending New Orleans and the Lower Mississippi Valley. It was originally known as New Orleans Barracks prior to July 7, 1866, when it was renamed in honor of Andrew Jackson, the hero of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans and seventh U.S. president.
–By Spc. Tarell J. Bilbo
Special Delivery: Guard Airlifts Injured Manatee to a New Life
An injured endangered manatee got a chance at a new life Dec. 9 thanks largely to the 156th Airlift Wing.
The Puerto Rico Air National Guard unit and the Air Force partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the South Florida Museum to transport the 840-pound sea mammal from Mac-Dill Air Force Base, Fla., to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The manatee, which was hurt in a boat strike and needed a shallow containment facility to survive, had been scheduled to be euthanized until the Fish and Wildlife Service asked the Puerto Rico Guard for help.
Fortuitously, one of the 156th's C-130 Hercules planes already was at MacDill supporting maneuvers for U.S. Special Operations Command, and the Air Force agreed to support the effort at no additional costs to the government.
During the four-hour flight, the aircrew spoiled the manatee, now named Guacara, with rubs and pats.
"Flying Guacara on our aircraft was incredible," said Capt. Cesar Lozada, the aircraft commander. "We have put a lot of things on this aircraft, but the manatee was a first for me."
Six biologists, two veterinarians and an official from the Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Center rode along.
After his arrival in San Juan, Guacara was transported to the Puerto Rico Zoo, where he was placed in his new home. He will serve as a surrogate parent to orphaned manatees in rehabilitation.
–By Senior Airman Katherine Holt
Agriculture Team Conducts Class for Afghan Veterinarians
More than 20 veterinary professionals from across Kunar province, crowded into a small room Oct. 21 in a training center located next to the government-run nursery in Asadabad, the provincial capital.
The gathering, organized by the 734th Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) in cooperation with the provincial government, marked the first continuing education for veterinarians in Kunar province in decades.
The training session was so significant that the Kunar Province director of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, Haji Mohasal Khan, made a surprise visit. A television reporter accompanied him.
The training, conducted by members of the Iowa National Guard ADT and Dr. Mohammed Ghalib, the Kunar province veterinary officer, covered basic animal handling procedures, infectious diseases and animal nutrition.
"This is just a refresher course," said Master Sgt. Darla Sheasley, the 734th's veterinary technician. "They've already gone to a four-year veterinary school."
And Ghalib said he looks forward to working with the ADT to provide more continuing education sessions to the veterinarians of Kunar province.
Maj. Loren Adams, the team's veterinary officer, said that continuing veterinary education is sustainable by the provincial government. Also, it serves as a model for interaction between veterinarians and their customers.
"This is a simple program that has very little cost, and it's an approach Dr. Ghalib will be able to carry on with now that he's seen it for himself," Adams said. "It also helps improve the professionalism of the provincial veterinarians and improves their status with ordinary Afghan livestock producers."
–By Capt. Peter Shinn
Old Friends: Brazilian Visit Renews Friendship with Ally
The 140th Wing deployed more than 100 citizen-airmen and six F-16 Fighting Falcons to Natal Air Base, Brazil, in November as the first U.S. military unit to participate in the Cruzeiro Do Sul (Southern Cross) exercise.
CRUZEX V was a multinational, combined exercise, with Brazil in the lead. In addition to Colorado Air National Guardsmen, participants included the Arizona Air Guard and the air forces of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France and Uruguay.
Nearly 3,000 personnel in more than 80 aircraft worked together in the skies over Brazil. They all took part in the community relations events that included showcasing their aircraft to local leaders and meeting children.
Ties between the Brazilian and U.S. air forces date back to World War II when the United States helped build Natal Air Base as a staging location to ferry bombers across the Atlantic to Africa and then on to Europe.
Brazil was a U.S. ally during that war with Brazilian pilots flying P-47 Thunderbolts alongside American pilots.
According to U.S. 12th Air Force officials, CRUZEX V illustrated the nation's commitment to work with regional partners in ways that strengthen friendships, bolster partner nation capacity, expand cooperation between airmen and enhance regional security.
"This exercise is about partnership building," said Brig. Gen. Trulan A. Eyre, the 140th commander and exercise co-director.
"A unique aspect of the Air National Guard is that we have partnerships all around the world in addition to our Colorado communities."
–By Maj. Elena O'Bryan
Cavalry Brigade Combat Team Begins Mission in Central Iraq
The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team took over two major missions at Victory Base Complex, a large U.S. military installation in Baghdad Dec. 3.
One mission is garrison command over the base. The Idaho Army National Guard unit took over from the Louisiana Army Guard's 199th Brigade Support Battalion, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The 116th Garrison Command will function much like a city government, with responsibility for maintaining infrastructure and support services to thousands of U.S. troops and civilians.
"We have a very challenging mission ahead of us and the bar has been set high," said Col. Guy Thomas, the Idaho Guard's brigade commander, during the garrison transfer of authority ceremony.
Meanwhile, the brigade's 2nd Squadron, 116th Armored Reconnaissance, took over force protection and base defense from the 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.
Other elements of the 116th were set to assume their assigned missions in central Iraq later last month after completing the relief-in-place training process with units they are replacing.
–By Staff Sgt. April Davis
Read the full article at http://www.nationalguardmagazine.com/article/State+Roundup/597937/57089/article.html.