CARSON CITY, Nev. – The Nevada National Guard, the U.S. Embassy in Samoa and the Government of Samoa officials are ecstatic to announce the official collaboration between the Nevada National Guard and the Government of Samoa under the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which was signed and finalized on July 6.
The collaboration promises to fortify the bonds between Samoa and the United States and represents a significant milestone in diplomacy and cooperation between the two nations. Coincidently this month, the National Guard’s State Partnership Program is marking 30 years of mutually beneficial missions, exchanges and exercises in every corner of the globe since the program’s inception in 1993.
The State Partnership Program is a Department of Defense program that pairs National Guard states with foreign countries. The program aims to facilitate mutual support, cooperation, and development across various sectors, including defense, emergency management, and humanitarian assistance.
The Government of Samoa is the Nevada Guard’s third partner; it has also teamed with the Kingdom of Tonga since 2014 and the Republic of Fiji since 2018. According to the National Guard Bureau, there are now 100 security cooperation agreements between the National Guard states, territories and the District of Columbia and countries around the world: The total reflects that more than half of the world’s 195 sovereign recognized nations are participating in the State Partnership Program.
Samoa is composed of numerous islands in the South Pacific Ocean and lies about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. The county has a population of about 207,000 and about 75 percent live on the island of Upolu. Its total land mass is slightly smaller than Rhode Island at 2,831 square kilometers.
The signing ceremony was held July 6 in Apia, Samoa, at the U.S. Embassy residence, including Nevada National Guard Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry and Samoa’s Minister of Police, Prisons and Corrections Services, the Honorable Faualo Harry Schuster.
“The signing between Samoa and the state of Nevada is a big step forward in our bilateral partnership. The State Partnership program will enable new possibilities in disaster response, humanitarian assistance, cultural exchange, and much more,” said U.S. Ambassador to Samoa Tom Udall.
Officials said the newly formed State Partnership Program team will leverage the unique defense capabilities, skills, and resources of the Nevada National Guard and contribute to the long-term development and growth of Samoa’s defense forces, emergency management, and national security sectors.
The State Partnership Program agreement creates a platform for Samoa and Nevada Guard representatives to engage in cultural exchanges, economic collaboration and educational opportunities. As ties deepen, the program promises to build shared understanding, promote cultural appreciation, and develop lasting friendships between Samoans and Nevadans.