The National Guard Bureau’s (NGB) Strategic Partnership Program (SPP) supports the United States’ Security Cooperation (SC) objectives by establishing partnerships across the world. Through these partnerships, the SPP improves interoperability and enhances U.S. access and influence while increasing the readiness of U.S. and partner forces to meet emerging challenges.
The Department of Defense (DoD), under which the NGB functions, contracted with Inspirata Consulting to evaluate SPP’s outcomes and contributions to strategic DoD objectives in five different geographic areas. The aim of this evaluation was to determine how to best leverage SPP resources across SC authorities to support strategic DoD objectives, with a focus on SPP’s performance and contributions to outcomes.
The Inspirata team designed the SPP evaluation to include perspectives of key stakeholders within the DoD. These stakeholders included host nation leaders, U.S. embassy staff, NGB and DoD personnel, and National Guard personnel from West Virginia, Utah, and Nevada. In addition, to ensure a more strategic and holistic analysis, our evaluation went a step further to include a detailed assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Congressional notification process, a review of the partner nomination process, and an analysis of the effectiveness of the U.S. state and partner nation matching process.
As we analyzed SPP’s performance and contributions to expected outcomes, we identified key factors affecting performance, such as planning processes; objectives; adequacy and clarity of legal, regulatory, and policy guidance; and program management and execution factors. We also conducted extensive data analyses using a mixed-method approach that involved quantitative data as well as qualitative data gathered from interviews with SPP stakeholders.
Our thorough evaluation of the SPP identified gaps in planning processes; objectives; adequacy and clarity of legal, regulatory, and policy guidance; and program management and execution factors. Our recommendations for improvement better-positioned the DoD and NGB to make more informed decisions on SPP projects around the world, and thereby maintain their accountability to citizens and stakeholders.
The results of our evaluation supported the improvement of resource allocation, and helped Bilateral Affairs Officers (BAO), country teams, and GCCs better understand how to incorporate SPP activities into country SC planning efforts, which improved engagement with partner nations. Finally, our evaluation facilitated knowledge sharing in the SC community and was published by DoD.