NEWS | June 24, 2021

Connecticut Guard, Uruguay continue 21-year partnership

By Capt. David Pytlik, Connecticut National Guard Public Affairs Office

HARTFORD, Conn. – Members of the Armed Forces Mission of Uruguay visited Connecticut June 14-17 as part of a 21-year relationship with the Connecticut National Guard under the State Partnership Program.

The Uruguayan representatives toured facilities throughout the state and the Cyber Yankee cybersecurity exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod.

Maj. Gen. Hugo Rebollo, senior defense official, Col. Ruben Aquines and Capt. Juan Acosta, air force and naval attachés, respectively, typically work at the Uruguayan Embassy in Washington, D.C., but visited the state as part of a bilateral trip to build understanding and cooperation between the Armed Forces of Uruguay and the Connecticut National Guard in the 21st year of their partnership.

In an era marked by great power competition, the necessity of building and enhancing relationships across the globe is more vital than ever.

Maj. Steven Ortiz, Connecticut’s director of the SPP, said the program enhances “U.S. access and influence while increasing the readiness of U.S. and partner forces to meet emerging challenges.“

“The SPP is of great strategic importance to our national defense,“ he said. “What we do here in Connecticut matters. Connecticut National Guardsmen make vital contributions to the Joint Force, executing our national defense strategy by advancing multinational understanding and support with countries such as Uruguay.”

The partnership is of mutual benefit.

“Uruguay is a strategic partner of great importance in the world,“ Ortiz said. “Montevideo is one of the largest and most important ports in the world and Uruguay is a powerhouse in agricultural production and is home to many vital industries. By training together with Uruguay, the SPP helps position the U.S. to react effectively to anticipated or unanticipated global scenarios and work together seamlessly due to previous collaborative experiences.”

In an upcoming event, Connecticut Army National Guard engineers will visit Uruguay and work with their engineers to drill wells to assist with forest firefighting. The partners also discussed future C-130 aircrew collaboration.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two partners exchanged public health ideas and best practices for protecting the health of military members.

More than 70 people in the United States and Uruguay participated in the virtual meeting.

“The intent of that event was to discuss cyber defense operations, provide briefs from all participants to include CYBERCOM, Fleet Cyber Command, SOUTHCOM/J6 on their capabilities, discuss cyberattacks (both real-world and notional), and we conducted a tabletop exercise,” Ortiz said.

The Armed Forces of Uruguay supports United Nations' peacekeeping operations, with almost 900 military members in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and over 200 in the Golan.