U.S. Department of State


Foreign Military Training and DoD Engagement Activities of Interest: Joint Report to Congress  
Released by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
March 2002

I. Operational Benefits to U.S. Forces

This report is a record of many ways in which Congressionally-approved foreign military education and training programs and security cooperation activities support U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. Benefits to foreign military forces include access to U.S. military experience and expertise - conveyed both during formal education and training and informally, as a by-product of a variety of security cooperation activities. Benefits to U.S. forces include supporting U.S. national security goals of promoting peace and stability, increasing the level of standardization and interoperability between U.S. and foreign military forces, and training for mission-essential tasks. U.S. alliances and security relations give assurance to U.S. allies and friends and pause to U.S. foes. These relationships create a community of nations committed to common purposes.

The need to strengthen alliances and partnerships has specific military implications. It requires that U.S. forces train and operate with allies and friends in peacetime as they would operate in war. This includes enhancing interoperability and peacetime preparations for coalition operations, as well as increasing allied participation in activities such as joint and combined training and experimentation.

The Departments of Defense and State recognize the critical role that our international training and security cooperation activities, as well as our traditional alliances, play in securing peace and stability throughout the world. We continue to explore a range of vehicles for promoting constructive ties among nations and strongly believe that the international training and security cooperation activities described in this report are vital for cementing these ties.

United States defense strategy calls for regionally-tailored, forward-stationed and deployed forces to: (1) assure allies and friends; (2) deter aggression and coercion; (3) dissuade adversaries from pursuing threatening ambitions or military programs; and, (4) should deterrence fail, defeat any adversary decisively. DoD security cooperation aims to build and strengthen those relationships and capabilities necessary to support these goals and, in the near term, to enable a sustained, multilateral campaign against international terrorism.

Security cooperation activities, appropriately focused and scoped, can build capabilities of allies and friends to defend themselves and conduct coalition operations; afford U.S. forces greater access, and bolster deterrence by influencing the behaviors of potential adversaries. The programs described in this report form the foundation of U.S. efforts to assist our allies and friends in their efforts to develop professional, civilian-controlled militaries. To be effective, future military leaders in foreign countries, like their U.S. counterparts, need both education and experience in military operations and basic military competencies. Leadership development begins with individual selection and extends beyond formal training and education to participating in international security cooperation activities. U.S. professional military education (PME) courses offered through security cooperation programs provide current and future foreign military leaders with the professional development required to lead and maintain stable military forces under democratic civilian control. The skills they learn, both at the tactical and the strategic level, offer interoperability benefits to both foreign and U.S. forces.

International military education and training programs, whether financed by the recipient nation via FMS, or by the U.S. via FMF or IMET, provide a window through which the U.S. can positively influence the development of foreign military institutions and individuals and their role in democratic societies. These programs have helped the U.S. enjoy unparalleled success in building regional security arrangements. The ability to continue to build on these bilateral security relationships will be critically important to responding to the events of September 11, 2001. These military-to-military contacts constitute a combination of actual and potential power that allows the U.S. and its partners to make common cause to shape the strategic landscape, protect shared interests, and promote stability.

Expanded-IMET (E-IMET), mandated by the U.S. Congress as part of the overall IMET program, deepens exposure to IMET principles by broadening program participation to include civilians performing defense-related functions. By engaging representatives from non-governmental organizations and national parliamentarians to address topics such as defense resource management, military justice, civil-military relations and human rights, E-IMET courses reinforce constructive civil-military values and promote democratization. The Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) provides international education and training in topics related to military justice, human rights, rule of law, and building a legal response to terrorism. DIILS programs serve to promote regional security and encourage stable military armed forces that abide by rule of law principles.

Promoting democracy does more than foster U.S. ideals. It advances U.S. interests because the larger the pool of democracies, the better off the entire community of nations will be. The absence of capable or responsible governments in many countries creates a fertile ground for non-state actors engaging in drug trafficking, and terrorism. Democratic values of transparency and accountability will continue to prove critical in both the political and the economic realm to ensure sustainable development and stable societies. These values will also affect the way nations interact, enhancing openness and ultimately promoting mutual confidence and regional stability.

As beneficial as training and security cooperation activities are to our friends and allies, there are also direct benefits to U.S. servicemembers. In fact, a number of these programs are conducted for the benefit of U.S. personnel. Whenever U.S. servicemembers meet with their foreign counterparts, they improve their understanding of the counterparts' military organizations, language, culture, and political system. They also improve their understanding of the global environments into which they might deploy in the future -- whether in combat, or as part of the regular forward presence operations conducted with the consent of foreign governments. Obviously, familiarity with foreign environments is vastly improved when the security cooperation activities occur in the region, but the benefits accrue to U.S. servicemembers whether the training occurs in a classroom in the U.S. or in the field.

The operational justification for the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program centers on the critical contribution that U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) make to our national security. SOF units may be sent into unstable areas in a variety of contexts short of major theater war and are often the lead elements deployed in actual combat. SOF are among the most flexible U.S. units for use in responding to the variety of new missions. It is essential that the United States maintain SOF readiness at the highest possible level. The JCET program promotes both generic SOF skills and the region-specific expertise required to maintain a highly ready SOF unit. JCET events are conducted with friendly foreign countries with full cooperation between the Departments of Defense and State and are reported annually to the Congress under 10 U.S.C. 2011(e).

Enabling our friends and allies to take a greater role in stability operations is an important component of U.S. security cooperation. Two Department of State funded programs specifically address increasing the peacekeeping capabilities of our friends and allies. The African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) is a training initiative that works to create African national peacekeeping units. It is focused on field training as a unit, while the other program -- the Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities Initiative (EIPC) focuses on institutional development of national peacekeeping training centers. EIPC works with the national peacekeeping centers, assisting the instructors and staff in developing their own national peacekeeping training. The goal of both programs is to increase the regions pool of capable peacekeepers, that can operate with minimal U.S. support.

The continued development of the IMET program, especially Expanded-IMET, and the DoD regional academic centers (the Marshall Center, the Asia-Pacific Center, the Center for Hemispheric Studies, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, and the Near East-South Asia Center) is critical as we face a changed security environment.

The scope of these regional activities has widened dramatically and is critical in many regions whose nations do not have formal institutional links. The regional academic centers facilitate the open exchange of ideas and perspectives among government officials throughout the region to foster understanding, cooperation and study of security-related issues. Some of these governments are vulnerable to overthrow by radical or extremist internal political forces or movements. Many of these governments field large militaries and possess the potential to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Finally, as we contend with the difficult challenges of the war on terrorism, we must provide our armed forces with the operational benefits international education, training and security cooperation activities afford them.

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