With over 100 partner-countries in the State Partnership Program (SPP) the U.S  National Guard has one of the most extensive cooperation and partnerships of the U.S armed forces with the entire world. 

The State Partnership Program (SPP) engages not only in military capacity building and modernization to support its host nations but also facilitates wide range of economic and social development programs. The SPP simultaneously supports NATO members and partner nations by various programs, training and exercises.

Minnesota National Guard and Croatia have been partners through ‘SPP’  since 1996 with many ongoing active projects like the recent aviation training from 2021.  

“The Croatian and Minnesota aviation teams have spent about 160 hours of familiarization on technical inspections, flight crew tasks, maintenance shop management, standard operating procedures, and aircrew training program development.” announced by the National Guard

  With so much to share and build upon, on February 15, 2023 after five decades of close defense and security cooperation, Minnesota National Guard and Norway singed the State Partnership Program in an official ceremony in Trondheim, Norway. 

But this was not the beginning, in fact the close partnership between Minnesota and Norway dates back to over the past half century. Minnesota and Norway enjoyed 50 years of military partnership in the wide ranging NOREX program.

“Being able to execute this mission and strengthen bonds between our two countries was a very special experience,”………“We started the exercise off as partners and allies but left it as something more — true friends.”   highlighted in the 49th troops exchange Minnesota National Guard Army Maj. Tracy Mankowski, in charge of the American contingent that traveled to Norway for NOREX 22.  April 19, 2022 ©Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs 

In State Partnership Program Minnesota National Guard and Norway Armed Forces will have the opportunity to strengthen their continued partnership in the far more broader scope.

“The U.S.-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange, or NOREX, was already the world’s longest-running military exchange partnership,” 

“Today signals an even deeper relationship, built on a mutual commitment to global security, economic cooperation, shared democratic values, and cultural exchange.”   elaborated Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Chief of National Guard Bureau in the signing ceremony of SPP, February 2023 ©National Guard Bureau 

Acknowledgments: Image- Gen. Eirik Kristoffersen, chief of Defence of Norway; Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau; and Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard’s adjutant general Feb. 15, 2023 ©Army/National Guard.  Sources: U.S. European Command public affairs, Department of Defense, Minnesota National Guard/ National Guard Bureau/ Master Sgt. Jim Greenhill/Army Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely/ Army Capt. Jodine Eells, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs. Article by Editor in Chief, Catherine S. Schmidt.