WASHINGTON – Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, Brig. Gen. Aaron R. Dean II, adjutant general, and other senior leaders hosted a bilateral engagement with Colonel Major Rémi Jean de Dieu Kaboré, defense, military and air attaché of the Embassy of Burkina Faso.
The March 30 familiarization visit to the DCNG Joint Force Headquarters at the D.C. Armory was coordinated through the DCNG State Partnership Program (SPP) to generate collaboration on mutual security goals.
In addition to the Burkina Faso partnership, the DCNG has been partners under the SPP with Jamaica since 1999.
“Our vision for the outstanding partnerships we enjoy with the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso and the Jamaica Defence Force is focused on enhancing mutual understanding, strengthening partner capacity and building sustainable readiness,” said Walker. “We work with our partners to develop strategic and operational priorities that promote enduring relationships between the militaries of both nations.”
“We look forward to sharing best practices and expertise while building long-lasting relationships,” said Kaboré. “As defense, military and air attaché, I [am determined] to work with the DCNG to strengthen this strategic partnership so that it not only corresponds to the fundamental interests of our two countries and our peoples but also helps to lay the foundations for fruitful cooperation with the entire Sahel region.”
Burkina Faso is the 76th nation to join the Department of Defense SPP. A formal ceremony attended by senior leaders from the DCNG and the Burkina Faso Armed Forces (BFAF) took place in Ouagadougou Feb. 1, 2019.
“The BFAF are extremely excited about the partnership with the DCNG,” said Kaboré. “In fact, in recent years, the United States and Burkina Faso have been able to develop a sustained partnership in various fields: political, economic, strategic and, of course, military. The SPP has the advantage of building relationships at multiple levels: at the unit level as well as at the strategic level. It is an effective model of security cooperation for collective efforts.”
The SPP was initiated in 1991 to build mutually beneficial long-term relationships between the U.S. National Guard and the armed forces of partner nations. Since then, it has expanded to 82 partnerships with 89 partners.
The DCNG leverages its operational capabilities and strategic leadership to support the two partnerships and build bridges between the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the BFAF.
“Our immediate goal with the 2-year-old partnership we have with the BFAF is to leverage the experience from our 21-year-old partnership with the JDF,” said Walker. “Together, we are essentially building a strong trilateral partnership thanks to the generosity of the JDF, who graciously trains Burkina Faso officers at their leadership facility in Moneague, Jamaica.”
In 2020, DCNG facilitated the process for two students from BFAF to attend the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff Course in Moneague. JDF sponsored this course for the two students and established links between the two Burkinabé captains who attended the course and their counterparts in Jamaica.
“Since the inauguration of our establishment of the partnership with Burkina Faso in 2019, we have developed a five-year plan that allows for a phased approach to building the partners’ desired capabilities,” said Walker. “In accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, we are conducting key leader engagements and subject matter expert exchanges virtually, in concert with the State Department and combatant commands.”
Senior leader engagements like the familiarization visit are a cornerstone of the SPP exchanges. Key leaders engage in strategic dialogue on critical security issues with their foreign counterparts, build relationships, and set the tone for the operational teams and the subject matter experts’ activities.