Joint Combined Exchange Training

Background || Training and Human Rights || Case Studies || Resources / Links

Press reports have alleged that United States special forces have trained foreign soldiers and units under the JCET program that had either previously, or after receiving JCET training, committed human rights violations in their own countries or in neighboring countries. Media articles have identified intent and oversight as the two main concerns with JCET. The value of JCET deployments to the U.S. military has been called into question, with suggestions that the actual benefits are "vague and evasive." More specifically, do U.S. Special Operations Forces units receive enough training to justify the expense of JCET deployments? And what is the real intent of the JCET program: are JCET deployments for the benefit of U.S. special operations forces or are they actual training for the host militaries?


The organization of special operations forces into small units enables these units to focus on strategic and operational goals. Missions range from training, advising, and organization of of foreign groups for unconventional warfare to training coalition forces for multinational military operations. Special skills required include language skills, ability to understand regional cultural and environmental characteristics, and ability to deploy quickly and operate without support in hostile or politically sensitive areas. The U.S. Special Operations Command believes that the best way its forces can train for these types of missions is to train with the people in the places where they may have to operate.

Congress clarified the authority of the U.S. Special Operations Command in 1991 to use operations and maintenance funds for overseas deployments in which special operations forces train and train with the armed forces and other security forces of friendly foreign countries. Provided that the purpose of JCET training was to train U.S. servicemembers, legislation found in 10 USC 2011 (1994) gives authority for the Department of Defense to pay training expenses for these activities. The legislation requires that the Secretary of Defense submit an annual report to Congress listing the number of JCETs conducted, their purpose, cost, and relationship to counterterrorism and counternarcotics activities. More recent legislation restricts DoD from training with a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of the unit has committed a gross human rights violation.



Government Documents

GAO Report Joint Training: Observations on the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Exercise Program nsiad-98-189.htm

Excerpt from DOD News Briefing September 21, 1999 http://www.fas.org/asmp/campaigns/training/dodbrief1.html

United States Special Operations Forces Posture Statement 1998 http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/sof/


"Special Operations Military Training Abroad and Its Dangers" http://www.cato.org/pubs/fpbriefs/fpb-053es.html

Media reports

Washington Post series on training http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/overseas/overseas1a.htm

US Trains Indonesia Torturers http://www.wsws.org/news/1998/mar1998/ind2-m18.shtml

Despite Restrictions, U.S. Forces Training Colombian Troops http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/americas/9805/25/us.colombia/

General Special Forces Links

US Special Operations Forces Posture Statement http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/sof/

United States Special Operations Command http://www.socom.mil/

Jungle Operations Training http://junglefighter.panamanow.net/

Special Forces.Net http://www.specialforces.net/

US Army War College Special Operations Bibliography http://carlisle-www.army.mil/library/bibs/special.htm

US Air University Library Special Operations Bibliography http://www.au.af.mil/au/aul/bibs/special/sofdoc.htm

Special Forces Schools http://www.etwps.com/imso/schoolink.html

Special Forces Specialized Training http://www.etwps.com/imso/spectrng.html

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