International Affairs Office
Kansas - Armenia State Partnership Program
The State Partnership Program/International Affairs Office is located at the Kansas National Guard Headquarters, 5920 SE Coyote Drive, Building 2005, Topeka, Kansas. Lieutenant Colonel Amy Hill is the director of International Affairs and the State Partnership Program. Major Michael Hayes serves as the Bilateral Affairs Officer in the U.S. Embassy, Yerevan, Armenia.
In 2003, Kansas and the Republic of Armenia were linked under the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program. The Kansas National Guard works closely with the Armenian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Health, Rescue Service, and other governmental offices and agencies. Types of cooperation include military-to-military, military-to-civilian, and civilian-to-civilian events.
In July, the State Partnership Program hosts the International Officers visit from Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. This is a state government visit to Topeka to familiarize international officers with the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of state government; including the role of the National Guard. Military cooperation events continue to focus on enhancing U.S. military standards and procedures, as well as enhancing interoperability between Euro-Atlantic and Armenian forces.
Annually, the State Partnership Program continues efforts to expand beyond the military-to-military relationships. Civil engagement initiatives began in 2008 in the areas of higher education and law enforcement and have begun to show tangible results. Military exchange events in the past have included members of both the Kansas Army and Air National Guard.
In March, SPP joined the U.S. Air Forces Europe and the U.S. European Command Global Health Engagement team in conducting assessments of Armenia's current Role 2 and Medical Rehabilitation capabilities. As a result of the Role 2 assessment, the KSNG team conducted multiple medical exchanges, focusing on developing a more robust train-the-trainer capability within Armenia.
Professional military education remains a top priority for both partners as activities in 2022 were triple those of the last two years. Kansas Guardsmen and students enrolled in Armenia's National Defense Research University enjoyed discussions on topics focused on the professionalization of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps, the officer and NCO relationship, and the NCO's role in the context of mission command and unified land operations.
In May, Armenia hosted Major General David Weishaar, the adjutant general, who met with several key leaders, including the Minister of Defense, senior military officers, the civilian head of Defense Policy and International Cooperation, the minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, the Rescue Service director and the chair of the State Revenue Committee.
In September, Kansas hosted the Armenian Minister of Defense and ambassador in a senior leader visit to Kansas. The visit began with an aerial UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter tour of key KSNG structures on the Salina campus, Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, and Crisis City. The visit then continued with a ground tour of the Kansas Regional Training Institute. The delegation toured the sites and shared a meal made at the culinary school and participated in demonstrations and discussions with medical personnel and the Collective Training Team. The second day of the visit included meetings at the Kansas Capitol, where Governor Kelly signed a proclamation declaring September 7 as Kansas-Armenia Partnership Day.
In 2022, Armenia and combined civilian-military personnel of Kansas participated in several activities, which included the use of military working dogs/K9 tactics, Armenian National Police and Kansas law enforcement collaboration, Wildland Fire Workshop with the Kansas Forest Service, and multiple Defense Threat Reduction Agency courses with the 73rd Civil Support Team, civil engineering, and medical assets.
Expanding on the efforts started in education, Kansas partnered with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement within the U.S. Embassy in Armenia to begin conducting law enforcement-related events similar to the military events the Kansas National Guard has been conducting. Senior officials from the Kansas City, Overland Park, and Topeka Police Departments along with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchison have traveled to Armenia to meet with their counterparts and senior government officials and formalize the relationship. The Kansas delegation has conducted several law enforcement-related training events with Armenia. Areas of focus range from proper handcuffing procedures to community policing. An Armenian delegation recently toured Shawnee County and Kansas City, Kan., 911 centers because they have decided to purchase a U.S.-based 911 system to implement in Armenia.
Emergency Management / Disaster Response
Members of the Ministry of Emergency Services, the equivalent to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, have come to the U.S. to observe disaster response exercises, Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant exercises, and tour the state's Emergency Operations Center. Staff from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and Adjutant General's Department have also traveled to Armenia to participate in earthquake/nuclear power disaster response exercises and provide insight into Kansas procedures.
Future exchanges and visits are projected to average 15 to 20 engagements per year.