Vermont National Guard Signs Cooperation Agreement with Austrian Armed Forces

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: July 20, 2022; 11:52 ♦ (Vindobona)

In Vienna, Austria's Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner signed the "State Partnership Program", which facilitates the exchange of knowledge, skills, and experiences between the US and Austrian armies.

Austria's Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner recently signed the "State Partnership Program" in Vienna. / Picture: © Bundesheer/cCarina Karlovits

Austria's Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner recently signed the "State Partnership Program" in Vienna, which is intended to facilitate an exchange of skills, experience and know-how between the US and Austrian armies.

The occasion for the signing was the visit of the National Guard of Vermont to Austria. The contract was symbolically signed this week by Klaudia Tanner together with the Commander of the United States National Guard, General Daniel Hokanson and Major General Gregory Knight, Commander of the Vermont National Guard, as well as with the Commander of the National Defence Academy, Lieutenant General Erich Csitkovits.

The signing ceremony took place at a military ceremony at the Ministry of Defence.

Security policy talks

The new signing of the treaty was only a symbolic act, as the original document had already been signed last autumn in the USA. Based on security policy talks between Austria and the USA, a partnership programme of the Austrian Armed Forces was presented to the Vermont National Guard in Washington D.C. on 15 October 2021. In May 2022, Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner visited the Vermont National Guard during her trip to the USA to hold talks on the partnership agreement and sign it in front of the Vermont Capitol.

The "State Partnership Program"

The main content of the programme, called the "State Partnership Program", enables both partners to exchange skills, experience and know-how. The focus is on the exchange of experience.

The cooperation is to cover the following areas: Anticipation, early detection and reconnaissance capabilities; defence against cyber threats, defence against interference and information operations; command and control of military forces in urban areas and in the high mountains; use of drones and drone defence as well as military advice and support.

Furthermore, the areas of military medicine and disaster relief as well as international terrorism.

The US State Partnership Programme (SPP) has been successfully building relationships for over 25 years and now includes 85 partnerships with 93 nations around the globe.

The SPP evolved from a 1991 decision by U.S. European Command to establish the Joint Contact Team Program in the Baltic region with Reserve Component soldiers and airmen.

A later proposal by the National Guard Bureau brought together U.S. states with three nations that had emerged from the former Soviet bloc, and the SPP was born. It has become a major instrument of US security cooperation, facilitating cooperation in all aspects of international civil-military affairs and fostering interpersonal relations at the state level.

Under the SPP, the American National Guard conducts military operations in support of Department of Defense security objectives, but also leverages relationships and capabilities across society to facilitate broader interagency and interrelated military, government, business and community engagement.

Austrian Armed Forces