In September 2010 Capt. Derek Enz will wrap up his 24- month tour of duty in Albania as the Bilateral Affairs Officer to Albania.
During his tenure, Enz worked alongside a career Foreign Affairs Officer in reshaping U.S. policy in the small country located just east of Italy. The partnership between New Jersey and Albania saw the execution of more than 60 military-tomilitary and civilian-to-military engagements with a budget just under $750,000 making this one of the most cost effective, high impact programs in the European Command theater of operations. The Program has been realigned to meet Albania's growing requirements as the newest member of the NATO Alliance.
Enz's contributions to the U.S. Embassy and the Office of Defense Cooperation include realigning and restructuring the State Partnership Program by partnering the needs of Albania with the strengths of the New Jersey National Guard in the areas of military and civilian medical and law enforcement, coastal security, counter-drug awareness, recruiting and retention, non-commissioned officer development, excess munitions demilitarization, and disaster response management. He also played pivotal roles in the humanitarian assistance, foreign military sales and financing, defense reform, and political election observation programs during his time with the State Partnership Program Country Team.
Capt. Derek Enz, left; Idriz Konjari, center, Director of International Engagement and Lt. Col. Jeanne C. Wessel, right, State Partnership Program Coordinator during a meeting with the Albanian Minister of Defense on June 19, 2009. U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA.
Albania's commitment to the NATO Alliance has been well received. Albania has provided more than 1,500 soldiers in support of the U.S. efforts in Iraq since 2003 and Afghanistan since 2001. Further cooperation between New Jersey and Albania will continue with agreements to conduct Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams in the near future.
The State Partnership Program between Albania and New Jersey allows New Jersey National Guard members to embed themselves in the partner country for the purpose of supporting the security cooperation objectives of the Combatant Commander. New Jersey and Albania recently celebrated their 15-year anniversary of security cooperation in December 2008. Enz will be replaced by Maj. Yvonne Mays of the New Jersey Air National Guard.