Cooperation In Action

Cooperation In Action

By Dialogo
July 01, 2011

The National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP) originated at the end of the Cold War to help stabilize the emerging democracies and nations created after the breakup of the former Soviet Union. The success of the program in Eastern Europe led to the program’s expansion into South and Central America.
The New Hampshire National Guard (NHNG) in cooperation with the United States Southern Command and the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador began its partnership with El Salvador in 2000. It has flourished from two to five military exchanges per year to a mature partnership conducting 12 or more events across the spectrum of military-to-military, military-to-civilian and civilianto- civilian engagements.
Productive and meaningful military exchanges have occurred in areas such as infantry, military police, field artillery, cockpit resource management, airfield safety and diversity. Civilian exchanges have included education, youth corrections facility management, police booking procedures, law enforcement interagency cooperation, police canine utilization, underwater search and rescue and disaster response.

Some of the recent exchanges include:

High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) Maintenance: In preparation for future deployments, El Salvador purchased an armor modification for HMMWVs and needed maintenance instruction. The Minister of Defense asked for assistance from the NHNG, as well as help with the delivery and initial training on the new equipment. Within weeks, the NHNG sent a team of experts, resulting in the Salvadoran Army being trained on the new HMMWVs without delay.

Senior Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Exchanges: An ongoing series of exchanges continues between senior enlisted members of the NHNG and the Armed Forces of El Salvador, particularly on development of a professional NCO Corps.

Personnel Recovery Training: NHNG conducted this training in conjunction with U.S. Army South, the Army Component of SOUTHCOM, in El Salvador, focusing on a wide range of skills such as advanced land navigation and air medical evacuation missions. This effort was in preparation for the Beyond the Horizons exercise, which provides medical and engineering outreach to rural areas throughout Central America.

Humanitarian Supplies: NHNG orchestrated the donation and movement of nine pallets of items to El Salvador – approximately $550,000 worth of firefighter equipment, medical supplies, computers, clothing, sports equipment and musical instruments targeted for needy Salvadoran communities. NHNG partnered with local fire departments and school districts in this endeavor.

In addition, as part of the SPP, the NHNG created the State Partnership Council (SPC), which brings together a vast array of civilian and governmental organizations to create a unified and mutually supportive network. Members of SPC include local law enforcement, corrections facilities, the University of New Hampshire, local school districts, doctors, dentists, church groups, charitable organizations, Rotary Club, Boy Scouts of America and Knights of Columbus.

One significant byproduct of the solid relationship is the fact that El Salvador is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to fight alongside the U.S. in Iraq. The Cuscatlán Battalion spent more than five years in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
It conducted 11 battalion rotations from August 2003 to February 2009 and deployed 3,781 troops, with 51 wounded and five killed in action. The United States Southern Command is considering NHNG as part of the pre-mobilization training team for the Salvadoran military as it prepares to contribute to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

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