Oklahoma Nationwide Guard Deepens Strategic Engagement With Azerbaijan

The U.S. Nationwide Guard’s State Partnership Program pairs state Nationwide Guards with America’s prepared companions across the globe and advances sensible engagement with them.

For 20 years, Oklahoma’s partnership with the republic of Azerbaijan is without doubt one of the outstanding examples of this system.

The Oklahoma Nationwide Guard and Azerbaijan have been companions beneath the Division of Protection Nationwide Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2002.

As Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the U.S., Khazar Ibrahim, summed it up: “[O]ur cooperation with Oklahoma can be a critical contribution to general Azerbaijan-U.S. partnership” with the “involvement of American corporations in world vitality and transportation initiatives in Azerbaijan being instrumental in guaranteeing Europe’s vitality safety and defending key U.S. nationwide pursuits.”

It’s genuinely encouraging that the State Partnership Program—equivalent to Oklahoma’s partnership with Azerbaijan—has been rising over the previous three many years.

This system began within the wake of the autumn of the Soviet Union and continues to generate measurable advantages to partnerships world wide.

The State Partnership Program, which started with 13 partnerships in 1993, at present has 85 partnerships with greater than 90 nations, together with Azerbaijan, Romania, Uzbekistan, Paraguay, and Kosovo, with the Nationwide Guards in all of America’s states and territories, together with the District of Columbia, collaborating in this system.

The sensible partnerships at state ranges can foster actual avenues of mutually useful strategic communication for America’s companion nations, given the truth that “the Nationwide Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in assist of protection safety objectives, but additionally leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning army, authorities, financial and social spheres.”

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To that finish, the most recent Oklahoma Nationwide Guard-Azerbaijan military-knowledge change centered on cybersecurity, notably as world challenges related to that essential safety dimension proceed evolving. In late September, the Oklahoma Nationwide Guard hosted cybersecurity officers from the Azerbaijan military.

The change paired Azeri officers with members of the Oklahoma Nationwide Guard’s Protection Cyber Operations Component, a joint Oklahoma Air and Military Nationwide Guard workforce devoted to cybersecurity. This type of strategic interactions between companions are welcome as a result of cyberthreats, not like standard threats, usually are not restricted by borders.

The State Partnership Program helps the safety cooperation goals of america and the geographic combatant instructions. State Nationwide Guards develop enduring relationships with companion nations and construct companion capability, enhance interoperability and improve U.S. entry and affect whereas rising readiness.

Lt. Col. Sharon McCarty, who leads the Oklahoma Nationwide Guard’s State Partnership Program, famous, “You possibly can’t surge belief,” underscoring that “relationships develop over time, and it’s too late should you wait till a disaster to develop belief and confidence together with your allies and companions.”

Certainly, this type of real, pragmatic, state-level partnerships benefit going far past the safety cooperation dimension.

It’s notable that America’s engagement with Azerbaijan has been unambiguously increasing, with 2022 marking the thirtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the 2 nations.

From Washington’s international coverage perspective, the strategic significance of the nation has turn into extra obvious. Its capital, Baku, is the biggest port on the Caspian Sea and an essential transportation hub for items shipped between Europe and Central Asia.

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Azerbaijan, the one nation on this planet that borders each Russia and Iran, proactively seeks to broaden its relations with the West as a balancing issue.

Over the previous three many years, since Azerbaijan’s independence from the Soviet Union, the U.S.-Azerbaijan relationship has grown comprehensively in advancing vitality safety in Europe, combating transnational threats, and boosting bilateral commerce and funding, amongst different coverage priorities.

But extra can and must be completed as Azerbaijan strikes ahead. Washington can assist this essential companion within the Caspian Sea area by widening and deepening the frank, open, and forward-looking dialogue between the 2 nations on problems with mutual concern.

In what should be a long-term, strategic endeavor, America’s larger safety and financial engagements on the state stage—like Oklahoma’s pragmatic and strategic partnership with Azerbaijan—are the best way ahead and deserve additional encouragement.

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