1st Student's Major


1st Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Students' Professional Biography

Ellen Ahlness is an undergraduate student at Minnesota State University- Mankato. She is from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, where she graduated in May 2013 with an Associate of Arts degree from Century College. She is currently double majoring in International Relations and Scandinavian Studies. She has two articles published in Cross Sections Journal, an undergraduate journal for Scandinavian Studies: Lapp and The Handshake that Made History, which respectively examine Scandinavian culture and participation in international military relations. She also has an article undergoing review for the NCUR proceedings, which focuses on Janteloven in Norwegian author Thorbjørn Egner’s literature. Ms. Ahlness plans to continue her work as a graduate student in Political science upon graduation from MSU-Mankato. After earning her doctoral degree, she anticipates participating in an international volunteer organization, followed by teaching either International Relations or Scandinavian studies at the university level.

Mentor's Name

Eiji Kawabata

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department


Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences


After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States sought to increase its influence in Western Europe and Central Asia. The primary military mechanism used to increase presence and ideological influence was the State Partnership Program. This program, modeled heavily after the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange, used reserve forces instead of active duty forces to lessen the aggression levels perceived by Russian command. This use of reserve forces gave individual American states a greater degree of involvement in international military operations. Since the creation of the State Partnership Program, 65 state/country partnerships have been established. The goals have also shifted from a purely military focus to a more infrastructural bent. By examining the motivations for involving reserve military forces through both realist and neoliberal lenses, this paper examines degree to which different causes influenced the creation of the State Partnership Program, and how these theories influence the continued operations of these military partnerships. The US-Norway and US-Poland partnerships were chosen as case studies, as each was established on strong military and democratic foundations. These different methods of analysis found that there were significant realist intents in beginning these partnerships, but that there is neoliberal purpose for maintaining the partnerships. This analysis shows there are potentially larger implications for partnering states with countries than just lessening perceived aggression. States have a higher capacity to specialize, can share cultural and ancestral identities, and can supports countries in their attempts to join international partnerships and IGOs.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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