The West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) and Peru formally established their State Partnership Program on November 27, 1996. To further strengthen ties, on May 15, 2014, the Ambassador of Peru, Ambassador Harold Forsyth, and WV Governor Earl R. Tomblin signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) resolving to increase security and whole-of-society cooperation between the partners. Since the formation of the partnership, the WVNG and Peru have worked to enhance Peru’s capabilities in the areas of professional development of Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Military Police, Engineers, Medical Operations, and Peacekeeping. Additionally, a major focus of the partnership has been Disaster Response and the WVNG has successfully engaged with the Peruvian FEMA equivalent, INDECI, along with the Peruvian military to bolster joint, interagency responses to disasters. By working with the WVNG on operations techniques and procedures, and in partnership with efforts by US SOUTHERN COMMAND to establish joint operations centers around the Country, Peru is more prepared than ever before to face emergencies.
During 2020, the State Partnership Program continued to advance the relationship with Peru through a series of events aligned with U.S. SOUTHCOM security cooperation objectives. Overall, the State Partnership Program conducted 13 events in 2020 with Peru focused on aviation medical operations, NCO professional development, peacekeeping operations, aerial surveillance for counter-drug operations, explosive ordnance disposal, cyber defense capabilities, and disaster response. To aid the peacekeeping mission, the WVNG worked with the Peruvian Armed Forces on preventive HMMWV maintenance to prepare the PERMIL for their Central African Republic deployment in support of their U.N. peacekeeping mission. The professional development of Non-Commissioned Officers in the Peruvian military continued as a multi-year line of effort with significant WVNG interagency leadership and multiple engagements in Peru and virtually.
While COVID 19 caused the cancelation of many events, the State Partnership Program transitioned to virtual communications to maintain the momentum. This included sharing best practices and lessons learned with the COVID 19 response. Moreover, the WVNG built relationships between key leaders by engaging with both the Commander of the Peruvian Army and the Commander of the Peruvian Air Force to reaffirm the close ties of the Partnership and to commit both parties to continue to share COVID 19 lessons learned. Additionally, the Peruvian Defense Attaché and the Peruvian Air Attaché visited Charleston, WV, to plan future lines of effort to enhance Peru’s counter-drug, medical, cyber, professional development and disaster response capabilities.
Our Peruvian partnership has created an enduring and important working relationship that enables unique training opportunities for all involved parties, particularly in the realm of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, engineering, military police, peacekeeping, and interagency work.