AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas National Guard hosted senior officers from the Egyptian Armed Forces for the Egypt-Texas International Summit (ETIS) at the invitation of Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, Texas adjutant general.
Texas formally established a partnership with the Arab Republic of Egypt through the National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP) at a signing ceremony in Cairo in June. The ETIS at the end of September was the first senior leader summit between the two organizations since the partnership began.
“This weeklong summit provides a collaborative environment for Texas and Egypt’s senior military leaders to discuss the future of the partnership,” said William Duff, senior adviser for political-military and international Affairs for the Texas Military Department.
During the summit, attendees participated in a two-day conference in Austin, discussing their respective organizations, security challenges, areas of cooperation, and future subject matter expert exchanges.
Areas of emphasis for future exchanges will include the C-130J Super Hercules airlift and F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole fighter operations, AH-64 Apache helicopter flight maneuver and maintenance, cyber defense, logistics, special forces, homeland security response, military support to civilian authorities, and humanitarian and disaster assistance response.
“The exchanges between our militaries will make both our forces stronger, build our interoperability, and diversify our formations,” said Norris. “And these exchanges don’t just benefit Egypt and Texas; they benefit CENTCOM’s strategic objectives and the overall U.S.-Egypt relationship.”
Since June’s signing ceremony, as part of the SPP, Texas and Egypt have already facilitated subject matter expert exchanges. The sessions focused on the commanders’ resilience program, cavalry scout tactics, civil disturbance operations, explosive ordnance operations, and marksmanship.
“Conducting five training events in a relatively short time is concrete evidence that the partnership is developing really quick,” said Maj. Gen. Mohamed Fekry, deputy education and training commander, Egyptian Training Authority.
The summit also provided the opportunity to build upon the longstanding relationship Texas and Egypt already have.
Since 2006, the Texas National Guard has contributed troops to five rotations of the Multinational Force and Observers, an international peacekeeping force in the Sinai peninsula that oversees the terms of the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
More recently, Texas Guardsmen participated for the second time in Exercise Bright Star, a multilateral Egyptian and U.S.-led multinational exercise to enhance regional security and stability.
“Partnership with Texas is an expansion to the strategic partnership with the U.S., a great partnership that lasts over four decades where military and security cooperation are the milestone of the relation between the two countries,” said Fekry.
The summit also familiarized Egyptian partners with the TXNG’s facilities and capabilities. The visit included an orientation flight on the Texas National Guard’s newest aircraft, the C-130J, and tours of the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, and the Texas National Guard Regional Training Institute.
“Texas owns great potentials in all fields and excels in some areas such as [unmanned aerial vehicles], intelligence, education, and supporting their civil community,” said Fekry. “Texas and Egypt have great capabilities and expertise that may help both sides achieve mutual benefits.”
The Texas National Guard also has state partnerships with the Czech Republic and Chile, routinely conducting exchanges and joint operations.
“Texas has the most experienced troops we’ve ever seen. In the last several years, we’ve contributed to numerous overseas deployments, multilateral training, civil disturbance operations, COVID-19 response, natural disasters, and border support,” said Norris. “The timing is perfect for this partnership; Egypt is getting the best skills we have to offer.”