The Arizona National Guard hosted a delegation of Kazakhstan military officers and enlisted personnel during a State Partnership Program-sponsored visit to the Papago Park Military Reservation Feb. 6 – 10.
During the visit, the Kazakh delegation met with leadership from the Arizona National Guard’s 850th Military Police Battalion to gain a better understanding of the role of the non-commissioned officer in military police unit operations. This included the responsibilities and roles that an NCO has in recruiting, training and the development of enlisted Soldiers to enhance unit preparedness. The delegation also toured training facilities and ranges in Phoenix and Florence, focusing on the infrastructure that develops and maintains the capabilities of Arizona Guard military police.
“These State Partnership Program exchanges provide our Soldiers a unique opportunity to engage both culturally and professionally with the representatives from our partnering country of Kazakhstan,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Forseth, operations NCO for the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “Everything they experience—from the challenges in language differences, to operational techniques—provides value in the effectiveness of our force that will last a long time.”
Previous partnership visits to Arizona included Army aviation operations, vehicle maintenance support, and non-commission officer development programs. Members of the Arizona Guard have also visited Kazakhstan to participate in Exercise Steppe Eagle, an annual multinational training exercise focused on peacekeeping and peace support operations.
Aside from the exchange of military capabilities, the Arizona Guard also provides mission support techniques related to disaster response, border, port and aviation security and counter narcotics trafficking. These mission capabilities, not commonly found in the active duty component, make the National Guard the ideal choice for this program.
"Having the delegation visit us in Arizona helps their understanding of who we are and why we exist," said Army Maj. Kevin Budak, Arizona National Guard’s State Partnership Program coordinator. "Having this partnership for 24 years has allowed us to build the trust and mutual respect necessary to have open discussions that further develop our forces.”
The State Partnership Program began in 1993 between the United States and the newly independent former Soviet Republics in coordination with the US European Command.
Since then the program has grown significantly to over 70 partnerships worldwide, with the Arizona and Kazakhstan partnership being one of the first.