State Partnership Program

Washington State / Kingdom of Thailand / Country of Malaysia

The National Guard State Partnership Programs (SPP) are designed to establish long term relationships in which U.S. States and their partnered nations share best practices and expert knowledge in a range of areas. The SPP is a Department of Defense joint security cooperation program administered by the National Guard Bureau that links a state's National Guard with the armed forces of a partner country in order to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with U.S. allies around the world.

The Washington Military Department and our partner countries share best practices for military support to civilian authorities, emergency management, disaster planning, port security, HAZMAT/WMD response initiatives and airport security, among others. The SPP also facilitates economic, commercial, social and cultural government interactions in addition to military-to-military expert exchanges. Multi-level Army and Air Force familiarization exercises provide yet another platform to share effective practices and techniques.

In 2002, Washington Gov. Gary Locke and The Adjutant General, Major General Tim Lowenberg, established Washington State’s SPP to establish a long-term relationship between the Washington Military Department and the Kingdom of Thailand.

In 2017, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and The Adjutant General, Major General Bret Daugherty, signed the agreement with the country of Malaysia, pledging each other’s commitment to build enduring relationships through sustained cooperation on areas of mutual interest.

With Washington now having two partner countries that border each other, Daugherty hopes to leverage their proximity to begin engaging the three countries together.

“When you look at other states that have two partnership countries sometimes they're on two completely different continents,” Daugherty said. “It's a really unique opportunity for us to be able to not only work just with Thailand or just with Malaysia, but to do some trilateral work between all three of us at some point in the future.”

The SPP evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set up the Joint Contact Team Program in the Baltic Region with Reserve component Soldiers and Airmen. A subsequent National Guard Bureau proposal paired U.S. states with three nations emerging from the former Soviet Bloc and the SPP was born, becoming a key U.S. security cooperation tool, facilitating cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level."

This low-cost program is administered by the National Guard Bureau, guided by State Department foreign policy goals, and executed by the state adjutants general in support of combatant commander and U.S. Chief of Mission security cooperation objectives and Department of Defense policy goals.