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NEWS | Dec. 10, 2021

Lithuanian cyber defense leader visits 111th Attack Wing

By Jonathan Dahms, 111th Attack Wing

HORSHAM, Pa. – Cyber defense leaders from the Pennsylvania National Guard’s State Partnership Program partner, Lithuania, visited the 111th Attack Wing at Biddle Air National Guard Base Dec. 6 to discuss capabilities, training and areas of future cooperation.

Lithuanian Air Force Col. Romualdas Petkevicius, director of Regional Cyber Defence Center in Kaunas, Lithuania, met with U.S. Air National Guard Lt. Col. Thomas Love, commander, 112th Cyberspace Operations Squadron; and U.S. Army National Guard Maj. Christine Pierce, team chief for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Defensive Cyber Operations Element; to review previous training and engagements and map out future opportunities for defensive cyber training and collaboration between the Pennsylvania National Guard and Lithuania.

Pennsylvania and Lithuania have been partners under the program since 1993.

The State Partnership Program now includes 85 partnerships with 92 nations around the globe. The 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 SPP evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set up the Joint Contact Team Program in the Baltic Region with Reserve component Soldiers and Airmen. A subsequent National Guard Bureau proposal paired U.S. states with three nations emerging from the former Soviet Bloc, and the SPP was born, becoming a key U.S. security cooperation tool.