Assistance and Training Field Authority
Background/Description || Participants ||Participating
Countries/ Training Locations|| Resources
The U.S. military departments (Army, Navy,
Air Force, Marines) and the U.S. Coast Guard offer more than
2000 courses at over 150 military schools throughout the U.S.
and abroad. International military students (IMS) generally receive
professional military training in the same courses with U.S.
soldiers. Technical training, usually associated with a particular
weapon system, is sometimes conducted in all&SHY;international
classes. Most classes are conducted in English, the major exception
being Spanish language classes at the U.S. Army School of the
Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Over 7000 IMS were trained in U.S. Army schools alone in fiscal
year 1998. Students participated in several types of formal training
including officer and non&SHY;commissioned officer professional
military education, flight training and technical training. IMS
also participated in orientation tours, on&SHY;the&SHY;job/qualification
training, and observer training.
IMS sit side by side in regular Army classes and also in classes
conducted by the National Guard. Distance learning will be a
reality for international and U.S. students alike. New courses
are being developed to meet the needs of military personnel who
are now expected to be peacekeepers and negotiators as well as
warriors. The U.S. Army School of the Americas fosters hemispheric
understanding and cooperation through courses like peace operations
and humanitarian demining. International students will soon join
U.S. personnel at the Center for Environmental Initiatives and
Hands-On Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Foreign country officials select the students
for training in the U.S. The U.S. government, however, determines
which countries are eligible to send students to various kinds
of training and also determines the level of aid for IMET students.
Congress, the State Department, and the Department of Defense
all have roles in security assistance training. The State Department,
in accordance with the national security policies developed by
the President, determines whether IMET/EIMET programs would further
U.S. political and national security interests in particular
foreign countries and recommends to Congress how much should
be spent. Congress reviews these proposals and provides funds
for approved IMET/EIMET programs. The State Department, in consultation
with Congress, also determines which countries will be allowed
to purchase particular equipment and training under FMS.
U.S. officials from the Department of State work with foreign
governments, and representatives from the Department of Defense
work with foreign military personnel to develop training programs
that are consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives and useful
to the country concerned. Programs must be within the funding
levels set by Congress if U.S. money is involved. The Security
Assistance Organization in each country, under the direction
and supervision of the U.S. ambassador, works with representatives
from each of the military services to ensure that training programs
are consistent with Department of Defense regulations.
Students selected for training in the U.S. must have the same
qualifications as their U.S. peers. Students must understand
and speak English to participate in most Security Assistance
Training. Friendships that develop between IMS and their classmates
often endure for years and contribute to the understanding and
rapport between our Army and those of other countries.
Former students such as David D. Tevzadze,
the Georgian Minister of Defense and a 1997 graduate of the U.S.
Army Command and General Staff College, are restructuring their
countries' armed forces and working closely with U.S. military
personnel in a variety of ways. Two 1987 graduates of the National
Defense University, Admiral Christopher A. Barrie from Australia
and General Carlos Zabala from Argentina now serve as their countries'
equivalents to our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. U.S.
Army War College graduates include LTG Louis M. Fisher, Commander,
Botswana Defense Forces; MG Hans-Peter Von Kirchbach, Chairman,
German Joint Chiefs of Staff; Colonel Juris Eihmanis, Secretary
of Defense equivalent in Latvia; Navy Captain Gaidis Zeibots,
Latvian Chief of Naval Operations; and LTG Adan Abdullahi, Commander
of the Kenyan Army. Junior officers trained in U.S. Army schools
will have influence far into the future. Recently several countries
have begun to reorganize their non&SHY;commissioned officer (NCO)
corps, assisted by the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort
Students from 155 different countries participated
in Army training in fiscal year 1998.
During fiscal year 1998, 7306 IMS participated
in training at U.S. Army installations. Some students attended
more than one course, resulting in 9398 training opportunities
for IMS in fiscal 1998. The top 10 Army schools/units in terms
of number of students trained were:
Air Defense Artillery School, Ft Bliss,
School of the Americas, Ft Benning, GA
Aviation School, Ft Rucker, AL
9th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, WA
Infantry School, Ft Benning, GA
Armor School, Ft Knox, KY
Logistics Management College, Ft Lee, VA
United States Army European Command
Field Artillery School, Ft Sill, OK
United States Army Pacific Command
Command and General Staff College, Ft Leavenworth,
Additional training was conducted at virtually
every Army training installation in the U.S. Students engaged
in medical training at fort Sam Houston, Texas and a variety
of Army hospitals across the country. International students
participated in on the job training at additional Army installations
such as Fort Hood, Texas. Like U.S. Army students, IMS receive
training from the U.S. Army Reserve Component as well as from
the active Army.
Multiple agencies within the U.S. government
work to ensure that IMS are well prepared for their stay in this
country. The Security Assistance Officer in each country briefs
students on what to expect of American people and culture, as
well as the U.S. military and the particular training for which
they have been selected. Each Army installation sends a packet
of information for each student: the packet contains information
on the installation and surrounding area, lists of Army terms
and abbreviations students will need to know for their courses,
and booklets on American slang and other helpful information.
Some schools send videotapes, and a great deal of information
is transmitted over the internet.
At each installation there is an International Military Student
Officer (IMSO) who has administrative and support responsibilities
for IMS. The IMSO meets the IMS at the airport, escorts them
to living quarters, and briefs them on military and civilian
policies and regulations, on their training program, and on all
the things people temporarily residing in a foreign country need
to know. The IMSO helps the IMS with personal, family, or training&SHY;related
problems they may have and arranges opportunities for students
to meet typical Americans and learn first&SHY;hand about the
American way of life. The IMSO also assists family members who
sometimes accompany the IMS, and frequently becomes good friends
with both the student and his or her family members.
Military training is only one of the reasons
IMS are invited to the U.S. A key objective of security assistance
training is to assist participants in getting a balanced view
of American society, institutions and goals along with military
training. Although students learn something about America in
their military training, they must participate in American life
to really understand it. Department of Defense has established
an Informational Program (IP) to help the IMSO involve IMS in
activities focusing on internationally recognized human rights,
and the functioning of our democratic society.
The IP gets students into the local community and beyond. It
includes visits to private homes, local industries, historic
and cultural exhibits, farms, schools, civic activities, and
so forth. IMSOs conduct the program focusing on: U.S. government
judicial system, political processes, media, American family
and community life, ethnic and other minorities, industry, environmental
protection, agriculture, economy, labor and management relations,
education and public and social welfare.
A carefully planned IP demonstrates how each of these topic areas
reflects the commitment of the American people to the basic principles
of internationally recognized human rights. Some IMS come from
countries in which democracy is quite new, and respect for some
human rights does not have a long history. IMS come to understand
that our democratic society works, although it is far from perfect.
The key to a successful IP is people: people within both the
military and civilian communities spending time with IMS and
their families. A local judge may take a few minutes to explain
to IMS how the court deals with people accused of crimes, after
which students observe a court in session and tour a jail. A
newspaper editor may describe how news is gathered and decisions
made about how news is gathered and decisions made about what
to print while students observe a news room and talk with reporters.
A local business person may take students on a tour of a factory,
explaining how workers are hired, and what they are paid, as
well as letting students see how a product is made. A student
from Turkmenistan said after an IP tour, "The briefing at
Webster University was good, especially the Supreme Court judge
and university professor speaking and discussing with us. I was
surprised to see this. I have never seen anything like this before"
Understanding U.S. Government
All IMS are expected to learn about the
U.S. government during their stay in this country. IMSOs take
students to city council and country commission meetings, arrange
for them to meet and talk with mayors, city councilors, and other
elected and appointed officials. Students learn about state government
by visiting the capitol of the state in which their training
installation is located. They meet with state officials, sometimes
including the governor, and observe the state legislature in
Students attending selected professional
military courses visit Washington, DC, to learn about the functions
of the federal government. They may meet with officials at the
Pentagon and State Department, and usually visit the office of
the member of Congress representing the district in which the
training installation is located. The high point of the tour
is democracy in action: students observe debate on the floor
of the House or Senate, attend a committee meeting, and have
a question and answer session with a U.S. Representative or Senator.
Students also visit the White House, Arlington Cemetery, monuments,
museums, and other attractions.
IMSOs set up sponsorship programs to give
local communities the chance to become involved with IMS. Sponsors
volunteer to spend some time with the IMS and help them feel
welcome in this country. They invite the students into their
homes and take them to family picnics, PTA meetings, on sight&SHY;seeing
and shopping trips, and other ordinary activities. The students
learn about life in America as it really is, while sponsors gain
rare insights into other, quite different cultures and have a
chance to act as informal U.S. ambassadors.
Security Assistance Training is conducted
in both the U.S. and overseas. International Military Students
(IMS) from 155 countries train alongside American soldiers at
military installations across the U.S. In addition, U.S. training
teams teach foreign military personnel overseas
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