Rwanda is the latest African nation to join in a U.S. military program that partners members of its National Guard units from specific U.S. states with governments around the world. The signing ceremony pairing the Nebraska National Guard with Rwandans took place Thursday in Kigali.
“State partnerships are integral to strengthening alliances, providing mutually beneficial training opportunities and enhancing defense security in Africa,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven deMilliano, the AFRICOM deputy director for strategy, engagement & programs.
“Today’s signing ceremony is a strong symbol of our continued commitment to growing and strengthening our African partnerships with nations like Rwanda, and to the enhanced stability operations those partnerships bring to the region.”
The state-based U.S. National Guard units typically work in nations to develop emergency management and disaster response capabilities, leadership training, and communications security and cyber defense practices. Other areas include counterterrorism training, military tactics, and aviation and engineering skills.
The Rwanda Defense Force will focus on engineering, logistics, medical readiness and aviation training.
“With the addition of Nebraska and Rwanda, there are now 15 African nations partnered with 12 National Guard states and the District of Columbia,” said AFRICOM.
In West Africa, those nations include Liberia, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Senegal, as well as Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. There also are programs in Botswana and South Africa to the south, Morocco and Tunisia in the north, and Djibouti and Kenya to the east.