The U.S. Pentagon on Saturday announced Cyprus’ membership in the State Partnership Program and the cooperation between the Cyprus National Guard and the United States National Guard.
In the announcement, the Pentagon said the Republic of Cyprus’ National Guard has been paired with the New Jersey National Guard to participate in the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.
“Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander met with the Republic of Cyprus’ Ambassador to the United States Marios Lysiotis to officially announce that the Republic of Cyprus was paired with the New Jersey National Guard to participate in the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program,” Pentagon spokesman Robert L. Ditchey II said.
“This selection demonstrates the growing partnership between the Republic of Cyprus and the United States,” the readout noted.
The announcement was welcomed by the island’s Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides in a Twitter post.
He underlined that this is a particularly important development for the deepening of military cooperation between Cyprus and the United States, adding that “we are proceeding ahead aiming to continuously deepen our cooperation.”
In September, the United States completely lifted an arms embargo on Cyprus which had been in place since 1987.
How the Pentagon’s program can benefit Cyprus
The State Partnership Program (SPP) has been successfully building relationships for over 25 years and now includes eighty-five partnerships with ninety-three nations around the globe.
The SPP evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set up the Joint Contact Team Program in the Baltic Region with reserve component soldiers and airmen.
A subsequent National Guard Bureau proposal paired U.S. states with three nations emerging from the former Soviet Bloc, and the SPP was born, becoming a key U.S. security cooperation tool, facilitating cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level.
This cost-effective program is administered by the National Guard Bureau, guided by State Department foreign policy goals, and executed by the state adjutants general in support of combatant commander and U.S. Chief of Mission security cooperation objectives and Department of Defense policy goals.
Through SPP, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals but also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic, and social spheres.