"The Army is in about 70 different countries today--on exercises, on mobile training teams, and doing things that could potentially preclude us from having to be involved with that country in a crisis."- General Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
"I have seen no evidence in my 24 years In Congress of one instance where because of American Military involvement with another military that the Americans have stopped that foreign army from carrying out atrocities against their own people."- Mr. Tom Harkin, U.S. Senate
(The following description is based on numerous government documents and sources.)
The Department of Defense and other government agencies train foreign soldiers and law enforcement personnel through
several different programs, some funded by accounts within the Pentagon's budget and
others by the State Department-administered foreign
aid budget. The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program-with a budget of $50 million
for FY1999-is the best known and most transparent of these programs. The
Pentagon has historically used IMET to train foreign troops in the use of U.S.-supplied
equipment and in U.S. military doctrine and tactics. Yet as Congress began to prohibit or
place restrictions on IMET for some governments with poor human rights records, including
Indonesia in 1992, reports surfaced describing the Pentagon's use of other, less
transparent, programs to train black-listed or problematic states. For example, the Joint Combined Exercises and
Training (JCET) program has allowed Special
Operations Forces to train Indonesian forces, as well as those of many other
repressive or aggressive states, under the pretext of providing U.S. soldiers with
training in foreign terrain. Special
Forces-known best for counterinsurgency operations and irregular warfare-also train
African soldiers in "peacekeeping" under the African Crisis Response Initiative,
launched in 1996. In addition, the Defense Department conducts foreign military training
as part of counter-narcotics assistance, and the Pentagon has created the Joint Contact
Team Program to train Partnership for Peace militaries in Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics.
The term "security assistance" applies to a range of programs through which the U.S. endeavors to assist other nations in defending and preserving their national security. It includes grant and sales programs of military equipment and training, as well as other programs such as Peacekeeping Operations. The Department of State (DOS) is the program manager for security assistance, while the Department of Defense (DOD) implements the program. DOS and DOD share responsibilities, along with foreign military officials, for planning, development, and execution of training programs. Congress exercises legislative and oversight responsibilities in security assistance matters, including training (flow chart of organizational responsibilities).
The U.S. has been involved with security assistance since the Revolutionary War, though at that time the United States was receiving rather than providing it. Security assistance as it is understood today began with President Truman's address to Congress in March 1947, in which he said, "I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures." Presidential initiatives and congressional legislation since 1947 have supported this concept. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 authorize security assistance.
The U.S. began training military personnel from several foreign countries, most of them in Europe in 1949, after Congress authorized the grant Military Assistance Program and the cash Foreign Military Sales program and set out rules and criteria for its use. The emphasis of those early programs was on containing the influence of the Soviet Union, while training concentrated on skills needed to effectively operate and maintain equipment provided by the U.S. As Europe recovered from World War II, U.S. security assistance efforts shifted toward developing countries in the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
The International Military Education and Training (IMET) grant program was established in 1976 to provide professional, leadership and management training for senior military leaders and selected junior and middle grade officers with leadership potential. For fiscal year 1998 Congress appropriated $50 million apportioned among more than 100 countries for the IMET program. IMET and its predecessor grant programs have trained over 500,000 students in the past 40 years. Thousands of former IMET students have reached positions of prominence in their countries' military and civilian sectors. Theoretically, according to the Department of Defense, these welltrained, professional leaders with a first hand knowledge of America are expected to make a difference in winning access and influence for both US diplomatic and military representatives in foreign countries.
U.S. foreign policy holds that training, advice, and assistance to developing countries' militaries are critical instruments of our national security policy. The assumption is that U.S. training, advice, and assistance advance U.S. policy goals by providing political influence in recipient countries; encouraging attitudinal changes in host nation militaries and the development of democratic institutions; and promoting greater internal, regional, and therefore, international stability. Security assistance, it is argued, is a cost-effective means of achieving these goals, since it does not involve large U.S. military forces or need to maintain large overseas installations.
U. S. strategic objectives are articulated in the National Security Strategy of the United States, a report prepared annually and presented to Congress by the president. Its three core objectives are:
Foreign policy, plans, programs, and capabilities designed to
achieve national objectives are developed by various government departments. Thus,
Security Assistance programs are designed specifically with national security objectives
in mind. Security Assistance is defined in the Department of Defense Dictionary as :
Furtherance of national policies and objectives is achieved through various economic and military programs, including economic support, developmental assistance, the Public Law 480 food for peace programs, counter-narcotics programs, the Peace Corps, peacekeeping, foreign military financing, and International Military Education and Training.The specific goals of the U.S. security assistance training programs themselves are to :
Some nations allow the United States to "train the trainers," in efforts to promote self-sufficiency. Other countries lack the manpower or the educational acumen to develop their own training programs and therefore continue to rely on the United States. Still others may be able to develop their own training programs, but would rather send their students to the United States to expose them to state-of-the-art technologies and techniques.
Identification and Training of Leaders
The identification and training of future leaders has been a long-standing priority for the U.S., dating back to 1949 when the original Military Assistance Program (MAP) and FMS began. Although each country uses different criteria for determining who will go to study in the United States, those who are selected for the more advanced courses are usually on the leadership/advancement track. Students trained in their own country, or outside the United States are less likely to be destined for leadership positions.
Members of the defense and diplomacy communities believe that enhanced relations between the U.S. and foreign countries are closely related to the training of leaders. There are many countries where a higher percentage of the military's leadership has received U.S. training than have regular military personnel.
The defense community believes that training other countries' leaders translates into improved communication with the United States, as well as greater openness to U.S. needs and interests. It is also thought that training contributes to interoperability with allies and friends, further enhancing relations by guaranteeing the utility of weapons sales to the purchasing country in exchange for base rights, ports of call, use of airspace during emergencies, and other opportunities. Good relations are also said to be derived from the sales of equipment and the leverage and good will engendered by such sales.
Expansion of Foreign Understanding
Participation in INC
Narcotics Control training, which is specifically targeted at Central and South
American countries engaged in the struggle against drug-trafficking, is supported through
the same organizations developed to organize security assistance training in general,
though the funding source is different
U.S. Defense Department & State Department