State Partnership Programme
SERBIA OHIO STATE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM
The State Partnership Program BY National Guard was launched1993 in order to establish and intensify cooperation in defense between the National Guard and the state that emerged from the Soviet Union . The program is implemented between the National Guards of some U.S. states and partner countries through the exchange of experiences, study visits , joint training and exercises , and technical assistance to civilian and military structures . The scope of the program, as well as the composition of the National Guard, which mainly consists of civilians enables not only the development of military cooperation but also of developing civil- military and the civilian aspect. Coordination is done through regional commands of the U.S. armed forces and the corresponding office at the U.S. Embassy in the host country .
Serbia-Ohio State Partnership Program is being implemented on the basis of the Status of Forces Agreement ( Status of Forces Agreement - SOFA ), signed on 7 September 2006, signed by the then Serbian President Boris Tadic and the then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The official start of cooperation in the defense started with the visit of the then commander of the Ohio National Guard , Major General Gregory Wayt to the Republic of Serbia in September 15-21, 2007.
In the past years, military cooperation has been constantly evolving to date, when the State Partnership with Serbia has been assessed as the most successful out of 62 programs US forces have with countries worldwide.
The cooperation has been greatly intensified primarily in the field of education and advancement of officers and non-comissioned officers, exchange and training of units, joint exercises, exchanging practices in forming non-comissioned officer corps, military's help to civilian structures in cases of natural and other disasters and accidents, and development of capacities for participation in multinational operations.
The most intensive cooperation is realized traditionally in September every year, when SAF host received numerous Ohio National Guard delegations , led by the commander , Major General Gregory Wayt . Active popularly called "Capstone”, consists of a dozen different activities that are implemented in the units and institutions of the Ministry of Defense and the Army of Serbia.
Members of the Ohio National Guard have been traditional guests at the SAF officers’ graduation ceremony. At the last promotion held in September 2010, in addition to Major General Gregory Wayt , the ceremony was also attended by the head of the U.S. National Guard Bureau, General ( four stars ) Craog Mckinley , which gave a special atmosphere to the occasion. The delegation of the Ohio National Guard on that occasion received the representatives of the Committee for Defense and Security of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. What should be noted is that for the first time in the history the USAF officers visited the National Assembly, where they had a chance to talks to the members of the Committee for Defense and Security and give their view of the achieved level of bilateral military cooperation and plans for the future period.
During 2014, the Republic of Serbia has welcomed current Chief of the US National Guard Bureau, four-star General Frank Grass, who, together with Commander of the National Guard of Ohio Major General Deborah Ashenhurst stressed the commitment and support to our side for the continuation of joint work on improvement of cooperation.
The following Serbian officials were in Ohio: then-president of the Republic of Serbia Boris Tadic , together with the then-Defense Ministers Dragan Sutanovac and Aleksandar Vucic, as well as Chiefs of General Staff of the Serbian Ared Forces Generals Miloje Miletic and Ljubisa Dikovic, and many state secretaries, heads of departments at the Ministry of Defence and commanders of operational formations of the Armed Forces of Serbia.
In October 2010, the Ohio National Guard hosted the third bilateral defense consultations between Serbia and the United States. This activity is best illustrated by the relationship between Serbia and Ohio as part of the State Partnership Program.
After seven years of cooperation and a large number of implemented Ohio-Serbia joint activities, the cooperation is marked by friendship of members of the Ohio National Guard and Army members and the citizens of Serbia. The campaign launched as part of civil-military cooperation, which was implemented in August 2009 in the framework of the " humanitarian assistance " which will remain long in local population’s memory. In the said projects, members of the Ohio National Guard together with members of the Serbian Army take part in the construction and renovation of socially important facilities (primary schools, kindergartens and such). Under the auspices of the U.S. European Command , two similar project ended in 2012, in an elementary school in Kraljevo (with 33 members of the Ohio NG and 20 members of the SAF) and in the village Pranjani in the municipality of Gornji Milanovac , and similar projects in the municipality of Bujanovac are planned for 2015.
In the next few years, one of the key aspects of cooperation with the Ohio National Guard will be a joint project of building a training ground for the shooting range in Jug military base as well as the execution of joint exercises and training.
According to available data, in the state of Ohio there are currently 200,000 U.S. citizens of Serbian origin .
Basic information about the Ohio National Guard :
Ohio National Guard has "two commanders": the President of the USA and the Governor of the State of Ohio, where the Governor has the commanding right until it is not activated on a federal level. The Commander has the possibility of deploying the National Guard as a mean of supporting the local governments in case of emergency situations or for the needs of defence.
Ohio National Guard consists of approximately 16,000 members , 11,300 of whom make up the ONG Army and about 5,100 members of the Air Force. More than 18,000 members were engaged in operations in Global War on Terrorism.
Apart from Serbia, as part of the State Partnership Program, the Ohio National Guard established cooperation with Hungary in 1993.
The motto of the Ohio National Guard is:
"When called , we respond with ready units"
The emblem of the National Guard of Ohio is the so-called "Minuteman" which symbolizes the patriotism of citizens of Ohio during the Collonial War when they momentarily answered the call to defend their country.