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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

I. Operational Benefits to U.S. Forces

Foreign Military Training: Joint Report to Congress, Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
April 2005

The President's National Security Strategy and U.S. Defense Strategy set directions for security and defense policy. The U.S. defense strategy goals are to: (1) assure allies and friendly nations of U.S. commitment to their security; (2) dissuade future military competition; (3) deter aggression and coercion; and (4) decisively defeat any adversary if deterrence fails.

DoD Security Cooperation is an important instrument for executing this strategy. Security Cooperation focuses on activities that most effectively advance U.S. security interests and, as a result, build the right defense partnerships for the future. DoD Security Cooperation should also prepare the United States, allies, and friendly nations for unforeseen circumstances, enabling us to respond effectively when such events occur.

DoD Security Cooperation involves all DoD interactions with foreign defense establishments to:

  • Build defense relationships that promote specific U.S. security interests; 
  • Develop allied and friendly military capabilities for self-defense and coalition operations, including allied transformation; 
  • Improve information exchange and intelligence sharing to harmonize views on security challenges; and 
  • Provide U.S.forces with peacetime and contingency access and en route infrastructure. 

Seven defense policy themes guide our security cooperation activities:

  • combating terrorism, 
  • transforming alliances and building coalitions for the future, 
  • influencing the direction of key powers, 
  • cooperating with parties to regional disputes, 
  • deterring and isolating problem states 
  • combating weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and 
  • realigning the global defense posture. 

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) ensures that its international military training and education program activities align with this guidance and support Regional Combatant Commanders' Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) strategies. The focus is on activities of greatest mutual benefit and DSCA uses the guidance to allocate time and resources.

Security cooperation training program 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, benefit from 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 effective 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 training and education programs, whether financed internally by the beneficiary nation through FMS, or by the United States through FMF, CTFP, or IMET, enable the United States to positively influence the development of foreign military institutions and individuals and their role in democratic societies. These programs help the United States build regional security arrangements and fight terrorism. The military-to-military contacts allow the United States and its partners 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, opens the IMET program 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 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 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 military 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 other's political systems, ways of life, military organizations, languages, and cultures. Participating in these training programs also improves U.S. forces' 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 focus on increasing the peacekeeping capabilities of our allies and friendly nations. The African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program is 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 training African trainers, who in turn train units under U.S. mentorship, thus building African capability. 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 Centers for Security Studies are valuable strategic communications tools for creating a dialogue on U.S. security policy with key allies and partners in a regional context. The Regional Centers' mission is to foster regional cooperation on security issues through education of foreign military, civilian, and nongovernment officials. Their principal objectives include countering ideological support for terrorism, harmonizing views on common security challenges, and educating on the role of defense forces in civil societies. Regional Centers accomplish their mission primarily through multilateral three/four-month leadership development courses, conferences, and seminars, as well as through bilateral workshops, alumni outreach events, and research publications.

The Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) is a critical tool for providing flexible, targeted education and training to support our partners and allies in the fight against terrorism. By providing education and training focused on combating terrorism to the security officials involved, the CTFP plays a significant role in our efforts to defeat global terrorism. The CTFP has taken the lead in transforming the way we provide military assistance to respond to the threat of terror by creating new educational programs directly focused on defeating terrorism, building a world-wide community of counterterrorism experts and practitioners, developing a consortium of DoD's academic experts in combating terror, and using educational initiatives to build regional solutions to terrorist threats. The flexibility and responsiveness of the CTFP allows us to quickly adapt our training and education efforts to meet the changing regional or global security environment as terrorist organizations change the way they operate in response to our efforts to defeat them. The CTFP is changing the way we approach military assistance.

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.

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