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

Operational Benefits to U.S. Forces

The United States plays a leadership role in the international community, working closely and cooperatively with nations that share its values and goals, and influencing those that can affect U.S. national interests. This report is a record of many ways in which Congressionally-approved foreign military education and training programs and engagement activities support U.S. foreign policy and national security goals, benefiting both foreign and U.S. forces. Benefits to foreign forces include access to U.S. military experience and expertise and receipt of the knowledge and skills that are transferred during education and training and as a byproduct of the engagement 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 forces, and training for mission-essential tasks.

International engagement is imperative as a key component of our national security strategy. All international education and training, as well as other engagement activities, play a role in shaping the strategic environment to prevent conflict and promote regional stability.

The Departments of Defense and State recognize the critical role that our international training and engagement activities, as well as our traditional alliances, play in securing peace and stability throughout the world. We also value highly the substantial progress we have made in our bilateral and multilateral relationships 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 engagement activities described in this report are vital for cementing these ties.

The programs described in this report form the foundation of U.S. efforts to assist friendly nations in their efforts to develop professional, civilian-controlled militaries. Future foreign military leaders, like their U.S. counterparts, must be educated and experienced in military operations and basic military competencies. Leadership development begins with individual selection and extends beyond formal training and education to participating in bilateral and multilateral international engagement activities. U.S. professional military education (PME) courses offered through Security Assistance 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 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 their role in a democratic society. While such engagement cannot be expected to guarantee a perfect human rights record on the part of any military force, it nonetheless represents an important opportunity to encourage adherence to the rule of law, respect for basic human rights and appropriate professional conduct in the face of internal or external challenges. Indeed, constructive civil-military relations are an essential element of a democratic society.

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 nongovernmental 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, and rule of law. DIILS programs serve to promote regional security and encourage stable military armed forces that abide by rule of law principles.

The support and effectiveness of the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, or DIILS, is another barometer of the effectiveness of the American military as Ambassadors for Freedom. DIILS seminars include over 200 subjects related to military justice, human rights, rule of law and related topics with an emphasis on the lawful execution of disciplined military operations. Teaching teams consist of military judge advocates and reservists from all services. Since its inception in late 1992, DIILS has presented seminars to over 12,000 senior military and civilian officials in 72 nations. Just last year, DIILS presented 43 weeks of seminars to over 1,000 officials in 38 countries. These courses provide the window that exposes foreign military forces to appropriate professional values of and the importance of adherence to the rule of law, democratic principles, and respect for human rights norms.

US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes David Scheffer 4 May 2000 Speech as published in the Journal of International Law (July 2000, Vol. 94, No. 3, p.539)

Promoting democracy does more than foster our ideals. It advances our interests because we know that the larger the pool of democracies, the better off we, and the entire community of nations, will be. Democratic values of transparency and accountability have proved 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 externally, enhancing openness and ultimately promoting mutual confidence and regional stability.

More directly, our interaction with the armed forces of allies and friends promotes regional democratic norms and values. Military contacts allow us to better understand our military counterparts throughout the region and provide a mechanism through which we can work to constructively engage new generations of military leaders. Such contact is a key component of our military strategy.

As beneficial as training and engagement activities are to our friends and allies, there are also direct benefits to U.S. service members. In fact, a number of these programs are conducted for the benefit of U.S. personnel. Whenever U.S. service members 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 forward presence operations we conduct with the consent of many governments on a regular basis. Obviously, familiarity with foreign environments is vastly improved when the engagement activities occur in the region, but the benefits accrue to U.S. service members 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 in the post-Cold War world. It is essential that the United States maintain their readiness at the highest possible level. The JCET program promotes both the generic SOF skills and the region-specific expertise that is required to maintain a highly ready SOF unit. JCET events are conducted with friendly foreign countries in full coordination with the Department of State and are annually reported to the Congress under 10 U.S.C. 2011(e).

Peacekeeping and peace support operations are an important mission area for U.S. forces. 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 global pool of peacekeepers, thereby reducing the demand for a U.S. troop deployment. The operational benefits of these types of programs are as a force multiplier, reducing the need for future investment in U.S. military personnel and equipment.

The international education and training programs described in the report also help to provide a diverse and flexible framework for promoting common regional and global security into the next century. 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 new Near East South Asia Center) is critical as we face uncertain security challenges in the future. Training and engagement activities at these centers are important vehicles for exchanging views on regional issues, enhancing mutual understanding and confidence, and addressing preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution.

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 have served as a vehicle of engagement by facilitating the open exchange of ideas and perspectives among government officials throughout the region to foster understanding, cooperation and study of security-related issues. This builds on the strategy of maintaining strong bilateral relationships with the armed forces of other nations and applies a broader multilateral approach to addressing regional security issues and concerns. All of these multilateral mechanisms build upon the foundation of solid bilateral relationships and continued U.S. military presence in the region, and play an increasingly important role in regional affairs in the future.

American forces train together with allies and security partners throughout the region to improve operational skills. Of equal importance, our military interactions develop confidence in each other's abilities and an appreciation for each nation's unique and common security concerns. By working with many nations, we ... see many opportunities for greater multilateral security cooperation. Where we see such opportunities, we encourage greater multinational dialog and multinational participation in training exercises and other military interactions such as conferences and military education and training.

Admiral Dennis C. Blair, USN, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command;
Remarks at the Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies, 22 May 1999

The U.S. Armed Forces Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) directs each of the U.S. regional Unified Commands (U.S. European Command, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Southern Command, and U.S. Central Command) to develop a Theater Engagement Plan (TEP). The TEP has two parts, the Theater Engagement Strategic Concept and the Engagement Activity Annexes. The Theater Engagement Strategic Concept describes U.S. military actions in the relevant area of responsibility (AOR) during peacetime. It provides an overview of the theater environment, theater engagement objectives, concept of operations, and activities planned to favorably shape the strategic environment. Each one of the international training programs and engagement activities contained in this report supports those TEP objectives, and the regional U.S. Command uses these programs and activities to contribute to the operational benefit of U.S. forces.

Finally, the programs described in this report also are essential to U.S. efforts to increase interoperability between the United States and its friends and allies. Through the benefit of U.S. military education and training programs, a large percentage of foreign force leaders and officers now speak English at a basic level, which is becoming the dominant global military language. A key to the success of any military operation is communications. Future U.S. combined operations will be more successful because its likely coalition partners will be better able to communicate with their U.S. counterparts. Similarly, as allied and other potential coalition partners become more familiar with U.S. military planning and operational procedures, it will become easier to plan and execute successful coalition operations in the future. Finally, as our potential coalition partners become more able to maintain regional peace and stability, U.S. forces may be called upon less frequently to deploy to those regions.


January 2001