Description: This Atlantic Council report argues that the US humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) system—well practiced and extensively developed—could further serve US and partners’ needs in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and beyond through targeted improvements. One of the eight recommendations relates to the extension of the US National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP), and is copied in its entirety below. Recommendations include: Leveraging the HADR efforts of the
US National Guard State Partnership Program. On an international level, the National Guard (NG) State Partnership Program (SPP) has linked state NG forces with ninety-five partner nations around the globe. Started as an institutional capacity-building effort for Eastern European nations after the end of the Cold War, NG state units now work closely with partner nations to accomplish US embassy and COCOM goals in partner nations.26 Guardsmen exchange technical expertise and doctrinal training that could be tailored toward HADR efforts, an area with which the NG is intimately familiar. If invited to do so by LAC leaders, US policymakers should consider boosting the SPP’s presence in LAC countries and
removing bureaucratic constraints for limited periods during emergencies. There are currently policy and legal hurdles to using NG forces in an effective and rapid manner for foreign HADR. When Haiti was devasted by a 2021 earthquake, NG Puerto Rican forces were available and ready to respond within
hours—but it took days to work around bureaucratic procedures within the Pentagon to get them ssigned and on their way.
Author(s): Faller, Craig and Paterson, Patrick.
Published by: The Atlantic Council
Publication date and place: March 2023, Washington DC, USA