On September 11, 2001, the United States (U.S.) experienced an act of overt terrorism unparalleled in its history. The extremist terrorist group, al Qaeda, attacked the U.S and briefly paralyzed a nation. This violent act threatened the U.S. national security and its way of life. Since this time, the U.S. Government, its Armed Forces, and its allies have been in an ongoing battle to end terrorism. Realizing the magnitude of this international fight, the U.S. needs help from its partners to counter terror campaigns worldwide.
In reference to the U.S. efforts, the Air Force (AF) should build partnership programs in professional military education (PME) schools to achieve goals that would not be accomplished through the normal State Partnership Program (SPP). The new air force core function, Building Partnerships, involves establishing relationships with the international community by sharing information and working together to attain national security objectives, to stabilize international regions, and to shape countries perceptions about the U.S. The intent of this research paper is to examine the feasibility of building partnerships by integrating components of a National Guard (NG) Program into an AF PME school. For this case study, the program will be the NG SPP. The Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), a resident program, located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama will represent the AF PME School.
The U.S. State Department administers the SPP and the NG is the lead executor. Since its inception in 1993, the SPP has been a joint venture between NG units and other allied foreign nations, with many of these countries infrastructures being either weak or failing. The goal of the SPP is to cultivate and sustain positive working relationships and friendships with these international allied nations. As of Oct 2009, approximately 48 states has partnered with 62 countries throughout the world.
Overall, ACSC is a PME school for junior field grade officers, civilians, and International Officers (IOs). ANG personnel attend ACSC, with very few, if any, Army NG personnel, therefore, this study will only focus on the use of ANG personnel. After completing ACSC, U.S. military forces have the skills and knowledge to fill squadron commander positions and operational staff-level positions supporting Combatant Commanders, Joint Staff, Air Staff, and senior level interagency officials. Based on the make-up of this academic institution it is a prime choice for this analysis.
Regarding the case study, the ACSC students of interest are the ANG and IOs from nations participating in the SPP. According to Brigadier General Jimmie Jackson, Jr., then ACSC Commandant, he testified to Congress on 25 June 2009 that since 1946 approximately 2,500 IO’s from 92 nations graduated from the college and that many IOs later became Chiefs of Staff, Heads of State, Ministers, Ambassadors, or members of Parliament”.