Security cooperation activities, appropriately focused and scoped, can build capabilities of allies and friendly nations 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 friendly nations 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 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 internally by the beneficiary nation through FMS, or by the United States through FMF or IMET, provide a window through which the United States can positively influence the development of foreign military institutions and individuals and their role in democratic societies. These programs have helped the United States enjoy unparalleled success in building regional security arrangements. The ability to amplify on these bilateral security interactions will significantly assist in taking action in opposition to terrorist events and other asymmetric operations against the United States. These military-to-military contacts constitute a combination of actual and potential power that allows the United States 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, expands the IMET program participation to participants who would not typically be part of a defense-related IMET training program. By including 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, enhance openness and ultimately promote mutual confidence and regional stability.
All of the training and security assistance authorities clearly benefit U.S. allies and friendly nations, but we must also consider the benefits gained by our own military. Several programs are specifically designed to benefit our military personnel. The fact that our allies and friendly nations, as well as U.S. military personnel, have the opportunity to exchange experience and expertise, enhances their overall knowledge and understanding of each others political systems, ways of life, military organizations, languages, and cultures. They also improve their understanding of the worldwide surroundings in which they may be called upon to serve. The training programs clearly play a key role in improving the professional competence of U.S. personnel through both traditional classroom activities and in the field environment.
The operational justification for the JCET program centers on the vital 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 to respond to the vast array 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).
Peacekeeping training programs provide our allies and friendly nations with the opportunity not only to train their forces but also to eventually develop their own peacekeeping training. The Department of State funds two programs, which particularly address increasing the peacekeeping capabilities of our allies and friendly nations. The African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) is a new program, which replaces the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI). ACOTA serves the same purpose as ACRI, which was designed to provide trained and equipped contingents with the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to peace operations support and humanitarian relief events where needed. The focus of effort is on field training as a unit. The other program, the Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities Initiative (EIPC) focuses on institutional development of national peacekeeping training centers. EIPC works closely with the national peacekeeping centers, training their instructors and staff to develop their own peacekeeping training. Both programs share the same goal - to enhance the region's team of proficient peacekeepers, which will need only limited support from the United States.
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. The Regional Centers provide a means to promote civilian-to-civilian and civilian-to-military communication with partner countries and to align with allies and friendly nations in the pursuit of common security objectives and policies.
Finally, as we contend with the difficult challenges of the War on Terrorism, we must provide our military forces with the operational benefits international education, training and security cooperation activities afford them.