CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire National Guard (NHNG) announced Monday that it has been chosen as the new state partner of the Republic of Cabo Verde, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa.
Under the auspices of the National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program (SPP), New Hampshire was chosen after a very competitive, multi-month selection process involving several other states.
“This is great news for New Hampshire,” Governor Chris Sununu said. “We are more secure as a state and as a country with strategic partnerships around the world. Our citizens can rest assured that the men and women of NHNG are the best of the best, providing leadership, security and knowledge at home and abroad.
Launched 28 years ago as an initiative to help countries emerging from behind the Iron Curtain, the SPP now involves 83 or one-third of the world’s countries and the National Guard of every state and territory in the United States. Most of the early PSP countries in Europe have become allies of the United States in NATO. Many credit their partners in the State National Guard for making this possible.
Cabo Verde, a seven-hour flight from Boston, is New Hampshire’s second partner country. Since 2000, the NHNG and El Salvador have forged one of the program’s most enduring and successful alliances.
“We have the experience and knowledge to build a strong partnership with Cabo Verde,” NH Adjutant General David Mikolaities said. “Beyond the shared benefits for Cabo Verde and New Hampshire, we have the opportunity to play a strategic role in helping to maintain stability in the region.”
NHNG’s candidacy package for Cabo Verde included letters of support from the New Hampshire congressional delegation as well as other key stakeholders.
“The selection by the NHNG National Guard Office to add Cabo Verde to the SPP is a deserved recognition of the NHNG’s extraordinary reputation as a leader of the National Guard community,” said US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), senior member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. “This new relationship will provide NH Guards with valuable experience working with our Cape Verdean partners to combat transnational organized crime networks and will provide unique opportunities to employ the new KC-46 refuelers from the 157th Air Refueling Wing. I look forward to the opportunity to strengthen relations between our two countries.
US Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) said the SPP “is helping to build cooperation and capacity in our interconnected world, a sensible and cost-effective program that has helped ensure US readiness in the country and abroad “.
As former governors, Shaheen and Hassan have both been integral to the formation and growth of the NH State Partnership Program. “This partnership will help ensure our national defense while continuing to facilitate engagement with partner countries,” said Hassan.
“Granite Staters is proud to represent our country on the world stage, and this partnership will build on that legacy,” said MP Annie Kuster (D-NH). “As a partner of the State, the NHNG will help improve the effectiveness of the Cape Verdean armed forces while forging important bonds of friendship. “
“I am delighted that the NHNG is working with the Republic of Cape Verde as a state partner to move forward,” said Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH). “This strategic partnership will support our national security by building lasting alliances and ensuring that our two countries can work side by side to combat transnational organized crime operations. I am grateful for the role the NHNG plays in keeping our communities safe, and I look forward to the opportunities this partnership will bring to our state.
Cabo Verde, “Cape Verde” in Portuguese (the country’s official language), is home to just over half a million people who live on 10 volcanic islands. Located about 300 miles off the coast of Senegal, the archipelago was colonized in the 15e century by Portuguese traders.
Cabo Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Since the early 1990s, Cabo Verde’s government has been a stable representative democracy. The country’s economy is mainly service-oriented. Its army, the Cape Verdean Armed Forces, is made up of a national guard and a coast guard. Its primary mission is to fight against international drug trafficking.