STUTTGART, Germany - U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven Basham, U.S. European Command deputy commander, hosted Arnold Kammel, secretary general of the Austrian Ministry of Defense, and his staff at the command’s headquarters Nov. 30.
The meeting, aimed at identifying areas for future military cooperation, builds on a broadening relationship after Austria and the Vermont National Guard formalized their partnership under the State Partnership Program in 2022.
“Today’s meeting was another important step toward strengthening our relationship with a longstanding partner in Austria,” said Basham. “Our strategic partnership with Austria already includes cooperation for military mobility, information exchanges and military-to-military engagements through the State Partnership Program. We look forward to furthering our mutual commitment to realize a shared vision for European security.”
The two nations’ military-to-military engagement has steadily increased since the SPP partnership, including an air exchange in June in which the Vermont Air National Guard flew F-35s alongside Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons at Hinterstoisser Air Base near Zeltweg, Austria.
“Relations with the USA are of particular importance to Austria. The deepening of the strategic partnership with the USA, anchored in the Austrian government program and the growing State Partnership Program, underline this fact,” said Kammel. “As one of the key players in global security and defense policy, the USA is also relevant for Austria in other areas. Today’s talks mark a further point in the strengthening of joint cooperation.”
Cooperation between the United States and Austria has also included participation in the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation program, enabling the movement of military personnel and assets within EU borders. That intra-European movement is pivotal to the U.S. ability to conduct military exercises and operations.
The State Partnership Program pairs National Guard units with allied and partner militaries to facilitate cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs. The program has been successfully building relations for 30 years and now includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations around the globe.