On March 17, 2011, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Brigadier General Greg Schwab, the assistant adjutant general, Iowa Air National Guard, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the United States, Avni Spahiu, announced a newly-established partnership between the State of Iowa and the Republic of Kosovo.
The partnership is a result of the selection of Iowa by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Guard Bureau for participation in the Security and Cooperation and State Partnership Programs (SPPs). The programs goals are to link National Guard states and territories with partner countries for the purpose of fostering mutual interests and establishing habitual, long-term relationships across all levels of society.
Evolving from the U.S. Department of Defenses European Command Joint Contact Team Program established in 1992, the programs are characterized by bilateral reciprocal relationships between the state and partner country. With a current total of 56 SPP partnerships, the state partner opens doors for its partner country to the full depth and breadth of U.S. capabilities, assisting in the development of democratic institutions and open market economies, as well as generating interagency coordination, cooperation and enduring relationships.