State Partnership Program Adds 3 New Partner Nations in Africa Published May 17, 2023 By Air Force Lt. Col. Allison Stephens, National Guard Bureau Public Affairs ARLINGTON, Va. – The Department of Defense National Guard State Partnership Program has added three new partner nations on the African continent, bringing the total number of partnerships in the 30th year of the program to 100. Gabon, Malawi and Zambia join the existing 17 African nations in the SPP. Established in 1993, the SPP is a security cooperation program and now involves more than 45% of the world’s countries paired with the National Guard of every U.S. state and territory. The SPP supports the security cooperation objectives of the United States and the geographic combatant commands by developing enduring relationships with partner countries and carrying out activities to build partner capacity, improve interoperability, and enhance U.S. access and influence, while increasing the readiness of U.S. and partner forces to meet emerging challenges. The program creates strong, strategic partnerships through military-to-military engagements, exercises and key leader engagements. The relationships often lead to co-deployments and close civil, government and commerce ties. Through the SPP, the National Guard has forged lasting partnerships with nations across the globe for 30 years while helping to build U.S. and partner capabilities to meet 21st-century security challenges. The SPP also provides National Guard members opportunities to train and learn with their foreign counterparts and become more aware of the global environment in which they operate. The program will be refined and expanded in the coming months and years, said Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, National Guard Bureau chief. “We don’t come with preconditions,” he said. “We have no hidden agenda. We’re here to advance whatever is best for both America and our allies and partners, based on shared values and common interests.” The DOD program is administered by the National Guard Bureau and guided by the State Department’s foreign policy goals. It is executed by the adjutants general in support of the combatant commanders, the U.S. Chief of Mission security cooperation objectives and the DOD’s strategic objectives.