The 1998 Guard Partnership joint Ukrainian-US National Guard week-long exercise started August 4 on a trial ground in Kharkiv oblast is designed to enhance military cooperation between the two countries. The National Guard is Ukraine's third coercive agency, after the Armed Forces and the Emergency Management Ministry, to become increasingly actively involved in the NATO Partnership for Peace program.
360 years separate the dates of the inception of the US and Ukrainian National Guard and whenever the issue of the NGU expedience is raised, considering the developed national military structure, officers point to the US experience. This time our NG is expected to prove that their training level is unique and will come in especially handy when fighting armed extremists, securing an emergency situation, or on rescue missions in the aftermath of a disaster. Guard Partnership is meant to polish precisely these techniques, involving a special company of the Sixth NGU Formation and a detached unit from California. The military exercise is financed jointly.
It is interesting to note that Ukrainian military units taking in Partnership maneuvers learned precisely what the NGU men are doing this time. At a news conference prior to the exercise it was stressed that such missions on Ukraine's territory are the NGU's prerogative, the more so that this is stipulated by the law, but the Guard may also step in ahead of the Army abroad.
The law on the National Guard is expected to be amended soon. Among other things it is proposed to entitle NGU to participate in peacekeeping missions. If this particular clause is enacted, NGU will have an actual chance to get the better of the Armed Forces in the peacekeeping domain, because the specifics of peacekeeping are considerably more closely suited by the Guard than the Armed Forces. On the other hand, army generals can hardly be expected to surrender the peacekeeping privilege to NGU without a fight.