Programs for Foreign Military Training

FAA/AECA Programs || FAA/AECA Recommendations|| DoD Programs


Programs Governed by the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA)

Security assistance training was separated from the controversial Military Assistance Program (MAP) by the 94th Congress. Under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Congress established a new grant assistance program with the International Security Assistance Act of 1976. This program was entitled International Military Education and Training (IMET) and was intended to assist countries that were unable to purchase U.S. military training using the Foreign Military Sales Act. In essence, the U.S. uses a dual track strategy of selling foreign military training to wealthier states and providing a grant for aid to those who cannot afford such training. Wealthier states use FMS, frequently at lower rates, to buy technical training related to the operation, maintenance, and management of equipment purchased from any of the services within the Department of Defense. Other purchases through the FMS program include U.S. professional military education for junior and middle-grade officers with demonstrated leadership potential, and counter-narcotics training. Less well-off states utilize the grant International Military Education and Training, managed by the Defense Security Assistance Agency. The importance of making the distinction between IMET and FMS funded training is exemplified by the correct use of the acronym IMET for the formal grant program and the frequently misapplied designator for the entire foreign training program.

Back to top

International Military Education and Training (IMET )


Antiterrorism Assistance Program

International Narcotics Control (INC)

International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP)

Back to top


Programs governed and/or funded by the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act and managed by the State Department generally seem to be the least offensive of foreign military training programs. This has much to do with the State Department's reporting practices for military-related programs. DOS reporting practices enable Congress to more easily exercise their oversight responsibilities. Foreign aid, especially security assistance, is reliably a contentious issue in Congressional budget discussions. In order to persuade Congress to approve its foreign aid request, the Department of State must make a convincing case to justify the programs it wants funded. Therefore, significant reporting is provided in the annual budget justification documents forwarded to Congress. The foreign aid appropriations bills themselves contain their own mandatory notification and reporting requirements on military-related programs. Department of State reporting frequently goes beyond what is legally required, making transparent reporting the norm for programs administered by the Department of State. It is worth noting that, comparatively speaking, the ratio of dollars appropriated to congressional staff responsible for oversight is much smaller with programs administered by the Department of State than with the Department of Defense. On the other hand, Congress has had difficulty monitoring the Department of Defense's activities due to lacks in reporting and public information.

Back to top

Defense Department Programs

A great deal of Defense Department training, such as exercises, deployments, and special forces activities, is not considered "security assistance" because its primary purpose is to train the U.S. forces involved. Therefore, in many cases, eligibility and reporting requirements do not currently apply to these programs funded under other than Department of State budgets. As a result, the Department of Defense programs have attracted the most vocal criticism, as was the case recently when it was reported that U.S. training for the Indonesian military prohibited in the foreign aid bill was carried out by U.S. special forces with Department of Defense funding. This section describes and Department of Defense programs in which training the military personnel of a foreign country is a central focus.

Counter-narcotics Authorizations

Security Assistance Training Field Authority

School of the Americas

Inter-American Air Forces Academy

Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School

Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies

Foreign Student Programs at U.S. Service Academies

George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

African Center for Security Studies

African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI)

Deployments/Special Forces Operations


Back to top

FAS Home | ASMP Home | Search | About ASMP
Publications | Sales Data | Issues | Resources