CARSON CITY, Nev. – The Nevada National Guard is adding the Independent State of Samoa as its third partner nation in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of operations through the State Partnership Program.
Samoa joins the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Fiji as Pacific Island partners with the Nevada National Guard. These partnerships were formalized in 2014 and 2019, respectively.
"Nevada’s meaningful relationships and regional expertise in the Oceania region over the last decade were cited as the driving force behind the creation of this newest partnership,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Peyerl, director of Joint Staff, Nevada National Guard. “Many people are surprised at how much Nevada and Pacific Island nations have in common. At first glance, it’s easy to focus on the differences. If you look closely, you will see similarities of small, close-knit, urban communities, separated by large distances of ocean in the Pacific, and desert in Nevada.”
The Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program connects a state’s National Guard with a partner nation’s armed forces or security forces equivalent in a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship. The Samoa state partnership will be unique because Samoa does not have an established military defense.
The SPP began in 1993 with 13 partners. Thirty years later, it includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations and is a key U.S. security cooperation tool that facilitates collaboration across all aspects of civil-military affairs.
With Nevada’s newest partnership, the Silver State’s National Guard continues to grow its partnership program in a vital world region.
Samoa (known as “Western Samoa” until 1997) is an archipelago consisting of two main islands (Upolu and Savai’i) and seven smaller islands. It has about 200,000 people, with roughly 75 percent of them residing in the capital city of Apia.
Samoa was a German protectorate before World War I and was occupied unopposed by New Zealand in 1914. In 1962, Samoa became the first Polynesian nation to establish independence in the 20th century. Its official languages are Samoan and English.