Florida expects productive year for State Partnership mission in 2012
SAINT AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2012) – Expect another busy year for the Florida National Guard’s continuing international affairs mission.
Florida’s State Partnership Program (SPP) will continue to engage Caribbean nations throughout 2012, giving National Guard members an opportunity to share valuable experiences and learn from other countries, while strengthening U.S. partnerships abroad.
“As in previous years, the SPP will be active with our Caribbean partner nations,” said Florida SPP Coordinator Capt. David Tavares. “We are already planning more than 20 events with at least six different foreign nations throughout the spring and summer.”
The events will include training on subjects like military police, combat life saver, drug control, and professional development, and will take Soldiers and Airmen to locales outside the U.S. including Guyana, St. Kitts, Dominica, Antigua, Grenada, and Barbados.
According to Tavares the partnerships developed during the SPP engagements have positive impacts that may not be immediately visible, but in the long term could really make a difference.
“A good example was our participation in a ‘youth and gang violence’ seminar in Barbados last year,” Tavares said. “Our subject-matter experts discussed ways to prevent violent gangs from proliferating throughout the Caribbean. The strategies developed from that meeting could change the lives of countless people in positive ways.”
Tavares noted that the most recent SPP exchange took place in early December at the 125th Fighter Wing in Jacksonville, during which RC-26 crews and experts from the U.S. and Eastern Caribbean met to exchange tactics, maintenance procedures and contracting support. He explained that since RC-26 aircraft play an important role in counterdrug operations, expertise exchanges can even help improve efforts to curtail the flow of illegal drugs through the Caribbean.
Through the SPP the Florida National Guard is partnered with Guyana and the Regional Security System (RSS) – an international agreement for the defense and security of the eastern Caribbean region.
“We take our role in the State Partnership Program very seriously,” Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw Jr. said. “Our growing role of building partnership capacity in the Regional Security System and in Guyana is important to Florida and our Nation.
“The SPP is helping provide a stabilizing global presence,” Titshaw added. “Its effect on future international relationships is a worthwhile investment.”
The SPP supports U.S. national interests and security cooperation goals by engaging partner nations via military, socio-political and economic conduits at the local, state and national level.
The SPP emerged 20 years ago, and links state National Guards with the defense ministries of partner nations. Currently the SPP includes 63 military-to-military partnerships with other nations.