From State to Broader State

The National Guard’s State Partnership Program is a valuable tool for forging international military-to-military relationships that can help world governments prevent and better respond to global calamities, said Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau. Speaking to an international group of students Feb. 5 at the George C. Marshall European Center for European Security Studies, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, McKinley cited an existing partnership between the California National Guard and Ukraine an example of the value of such exchange. Just last November, Ukrainian officials sent a delegation to California to participate in a week-long emergency response training exercise to bolster their disaster readiness and response. While there, the Ukrainians exchanged ideas and techniques with their California hosts on how to deal with flooding, which hits western Ukraine hard each year. McKinley noted that “integrated efforts” between governments are vital in addressing calamities, whether natural or man-made. He said, “You start by preventing the things that can go wrong, and you start preventing by meeting and sharing ideas with people.” (Garmisch-Partenkirchen report by MSgt. Mike R. Smith)