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Nevada Guard and Gov. Brian Sandoval welcome dignitaries to Carson City

Special to the LVN
Gov. Brian Sandoval welcomed Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Nauru dignitaries today at the Capitol.
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Chief military officials of the Kingdom of Tonga, Nevada’s nation partner under the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, and senior officials from Papua New Guinea and Nauru recently met with Gov. Brian Sandoval, Nevada Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Bill Burks, and other state and military officials at the Capitol Building in Carson City.

“This is a great moment for Nevada,” Sandoval told the delegates during their visit. “Thank you very much. Please know you always have a friend here. We hope to work together for years to come.”

The State Partnership Program (SPP) builds cooperative relationships between nations and a state’s National Guard. Tonga signed its declaration of partnership with Nevada in 2014. Due to the success of this partnership the embassy and U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) have requested that the Nevada National Guard host other south Pacific countries Papua New Guinea and Nauru; each sending delegates for the first time this week.

Although Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Nauru face many different challenges than America — and Nevada — they also face similar challenges, including disaster response, climate change and human trafficking.

Additionally, these nation’s share Nevada’s unique blend of urban areas in a sea of sparse population.

More than 70 nations worldwide are actively partnered with state National Guards. 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.

The delegates also visited the Nevada Department of Emergency Management Emergency Operations Center and the Nevada National Guard’s Joint Operation Center at the campus of the Office of the Adjutant General in Carson City.