Stav greeting airmen

The U.S. National Guard’s State Partnership Program

Building International Trust

April 2013, Number 04.02

“In 2012, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) conducted 271 events designed to build the defense capabilities of European partners and allies through the U.S. National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP). Constituting nearly a quarter of the 1,281 total EUCOM events, at a modest cost of $2.8 million (2.2 million euros), the SPP is arguably one of the most cost effective security cooperation tools ever implemented by the U.S. military. “The State Partnership Program is, dollar for dollar, my best EUCOM investment,” said Adm. James Stavridis, EUCOM commander.

Some would argue that it’s also the best NATO investment, for as it has the past two decades, the SPP continues to deliver a relatively scarce commodity not easily transported across borders – trust. Despite its humble beginnings, the SPP helped create an environment of cooperation in which NATO has thrived. And despite the disappearance of the de facto adversary for which NATO was conceived, NATO’s future is bright due in no small part to this unique program that builds enduring and committed partnerships...”

Excerpt from Brian Smith, “Building International Trust,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 4, No. 2, 2013: 36-39.

Maj. Brian Smith serves as a Joint Operations Center watch officer for U.S. Central Command. Prior to this assignment, he worked as an operations officer with the U.S. European Command State Partnership Program. Commissioned as an air defense officer, he has served in the U.S. Army since 1990 and is a member of the Florida Army National Guard. Maj. Smith graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.