2008 Foreign Military Training: II. Description of Programs

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
January 31, 2008


Foreign military assistance directly contributes to U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. DoD has adjusted security cooperation efforts to the new realities of a post-September 11 world and our global efforts to defend the homeland and win the long war on terror. The principal components of foreign military assistance are Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), the Regional Defense Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP), the Regional Centers for Security Studies, and transfers of Excess Defense Articles (EDA). These epitomize the responsiveness and flexibility of the international training and education community, in particular the CTFP, and are providing critical support to our international partners in the war on terror.

Training provided to foreign militaries through foreign military assistance, particularly the IMET program, helps promote the principles of democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. In addition to making the world a safer place, the spread of democratic principles contributes to a political environment more conducive to the global economic development so critical to a nation’s well being. Thus, there is a genuine linkage between foreign military assistance programs and the day-to-day lives of Americans.


FMS involves government-to-government sales of U.S. defense articles, services, and training. Responsible arms sales further national security and foreign policy objectives by strengthening bilateral defense relations, supporting coalition building, and enhancing interoperability between U.S. forces and militaries of allies and friendly nations. These sales also contribute to U.S. prosperity by improving the U.S. balance of trade position, sustaining highly skilled jobs in the defense industrial base, and extending production lines and lowering unit costs for such key weapon systems as the M1A2 tank, F-16 aircraft, AH-64 helicopter, and F/A-18 aircraft.

Total FMS sales in FY 2007 (articles and training) were approximately $23.3 billion. Military training and education, to include professional military education as well as technical training related to equipment purchases, is sold to foreign countries via FMS. Total military training and education sold to foreign countries reported in this report through the FMS program in FY 2007 was over $167.3 million.



The principal means of ensuring U.S. security is through the deterrence of potential aggressors who would threaten the United States or its allies. Foreign Military Financing (FMF), the U.S. appropriation for financing the acquisition of U.S. defense articles, services, and training through grants, supports U.S. foreign policy and regional security goals and enables allies and friendly nations to improve their defense capabilities and to work toward common security goals and share burdens in joint missions. Congress appropriates FMF funds in the International Affairs budget; the Department of State allocates the funds for eligible allies and friendly nations; and the Department of Defense implements the program. As FMF helps countries meet their legitimate defense needs, it also promotes U.S. national security interests by strengthening coalitions with allies and friendly nations, cementing cooperative bilateral military relationships, and enhancing interoperability with U.S. forces. Because FMF monies are used to purchase U.S. defense articles, services, and training, FMF contributes to a strong U.S. defense industrial base, which benefits both America’s armed forces and U.S. workers.

FMF grants in FY 2007 (articles and training) totaled $4.826 billion, with the vast majority of funds earmarked to support stability in the Middle East. FMF is also being used in the Middle East to strengthen self-defense capabilities and to safeguard borders and coastal areas. In Africa, the bulk of the funds support counter-terrorism programs and provide security for borders and territorial waters. The majority of FMF funds in the East Asia and Pacific region support Indonesia for defense reform, improving maritime security, counter-terrorism efforts, mobility, and disaster relief capabilities. In Europe and Eurasia, FMF funding supports modernization and interoperability programs in Poland and coalition partners. Funding will also be used to continue the integration of new NATO members into the Alliance, support prospective NATO members and coalition partners, and assist critical coalition partners in Iraq and Afghanistan. In South Central Asia, FMF will continue to be used for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) sustainment, countering regional and international terrorism, and enhancing counter-insurgency programs and peace support programs. Finally, in the Western Hemisphere, FMF for Colombia will continue to support counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism efforts, and maritime interdiction programs.


The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program is a low-cost, highly effective component of U.S. security assistance. In FY 2007, $81.1 million provided training to students from 134 allied and partner nations. In FY 2008, over 140 nations are programmed to receive approximately $85 million.

The overall objectives of the program are to:

  • Further the goal of regional stability through effective, mutually beneficial military-to-military relations that culminate in increased understanding and defense cooperation between the United States and foreign countries;

  • Provide training that augments the capabilities of participant nations’ military forces to support combined operations and interoperability with U.S. forces; and

  • Increase the ability of foreign military and civilian personnel to instill and maintain democratic values and protect internationally recognized human rights in their own government and military.

Training provided under the IMET program is professional and non-political, exposing foreign students to U.S. professional military organizations and procedures and the manner in which military organizations function under civilian control. The IMET program’s mandatory English-language proficiency requirement establishes an essential baseline of communication skills necessary for students to attend courses. It facilitates the development of valuable professional and personal relationships that have provided U.S. access to and influence in a critical sector of society that often plays a pivotal role in supporting, or transitioning to, democratic governments. The IMET program introduces military and civilian participants to elements of U.S. democracy such as the U.S. judicial system, legislative oversight, free speech, equality issues, and U.S. commitment to human rights.

IMET objectives are achieved through a variety of technical training and professional military education activities conducted by DoD for foreign military and civilian officials. These include formal instruction that involves over 4,000 courses taught at approximately 150 military schools and installations to roughly 7,000 foreign students annually.

The Expanded IMET (E-IMET) program is a subset of the IMET program that fosters greater understanding of and respect for civilian control of the military, exposes students to military justice systems, and promotes the development of strong civil-military relations by showing key military and civilian leaders how to overcome barriers that can exist between armed forces, civilian officials, and legislators.

A less formal, but still significant, part of IMET is the Informational Program, which exposes students to the U.S. way of life, including regard for democratic values, respect for individual civil and human rights, and belief in the rule of law.

IMET assists U.S. allies and friendly nations in professionalizing their militaries through participation in U.S. military educational programs. The resulting military competence and self-sufficiency of U.S. allies and partner nations provide a wide range of benefits to the United States in terms of collective security, stability, and peace. As foreign militaries improve their knowledge of and integrate U.S. military principles into their own forces, military cooperation is strengthened. Similarly, opportunities for military-to-military interaction, information sharing, joint planning, and combined force exercises, as well as essential requirements for access to foreign military bases and facilities, are notably expanded. IMET fosters important military linkages essential to advancing global security interests of the United States and improving the capabilities of its allies and partner nations.

On October 17, 2006, section 1222 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Public Law 109-364) removed International Military Education and Training as one of the types of military assistance prohibited pursuant to section 2007 of the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-206). Countries that were previously restricted under this act, are no longer restricted and FY 2007 IMET training and education is reflected in this report.


The State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) partners with DoD to combat international drug trafficking, terrorist groups, and other transnational crime groups by providing training and other support to strengthen law enforcement and security entities and institutions in key countries of Central and South America, particularly Colombia. Using both Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) and International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) funding, INL programs are designed to blunt the impact of international drugs and crime by strengthening foreign government ability to identify, confront and disrupt the operations of such groups before they reach American soil.

In countries such as Colombia, where nacro-terrorism poses a major threat, such assistance is provided to a broader range of police and military, including counterdrug units and personnel.


President Bush approved the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a five-year program, on April 1, 2004. The administration established GPOI to help address major gaps in international peace operations support, including: 1) a shortage of capable peacekeepers; 2) limited national capabilities to train and sustain peacekeeping proficiencies; 3) a lack of mechanisms to help countries deploy to international peace operations and provide logistics support for their troops in the field; and 4) a shortage of stability police units. The GPOI goals were presented at the G8 Sea Island Summit (June 2004), where G8 Leaders committed to an Action Plan for “Expanding Global Capability for Peace Support Operations.” This plan includes commitments to: 1) train and, where appropriate, equip 75,000 military peace operations troops worldwide by 2010 (with an emphasis on Africa); 2) develop a transportation and logistics support arrangement to help deploy and sustain troops during peace operations; and 3) support an Italian initiative to establish an international training center to train stability police units to participate in peace operations. Other GPOI objectives include: coordinate capacity building efforts through G8 Africa and Global clearinghouses, develop a deployment equipment program, and conduct sustainment/self-sufficiency activities.

GPOI began in FY 2005 and incorporated a previous peacekeeping training program, the Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities (EIPC) program, which is no longer a separate entity. The GPOI program also incorporated the Africa Contingency Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program; however, ACOTA will continue to operate and be called ACOTA while part of GPOI. ACOTA trains and equips contingents from selected African militaries with enhanced capacity to respond quickly and effectively to peace support and humanitarian relief situations on the continent.



The Regional Centers for Security Studies support the U.S. Defense Strategy and DoD security cooperation priorities with programs designed to enhance security, deepen understanding of the United States, foster bilateral and multilateral partnerships, improve defense-related decision-making, and strengthen cooperation among U.S. and regional military and civilian leaders.

Each Regional Center, based on guidance from the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the geographic Combatant Commands that it supports, tailors its program specifically to help meet the Secretary of Defense’s key goals in each region. Common topics are regional security issues, defense planning, and civil-military relations.

Regional Centers have been established for all major regions of the world. The five Regional Centers are:

  • Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
  • Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies
  • George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies

Typical activities include in-resident extended academic programs, one- to three-week seminars conducted in the region, multi-day conferences, and research studies. In addition, the Regional Centers maintain communications with their former participants through electronic mail, web sites, newsletters, and country-based alumni organizations.


Counter-Drug Training Support includes deployments for training of foreign forces at the request of an appropriate law enforcement agency official as defined in section 1004 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1991. The purpose of the CDTS is to conduct counternarcotics-related training of foreign military and law enforcement personnel. SOF and service forces conduct this counter-drug training of light infantry, aviation, coastal, riverine, rotary wing operations, and staffs associated with counter-drug operations.


The USG provides Mine Action assistance to many countries throughout the world to relieve human suffering from the dangers of landmines, to promote regional peace and stability, and to promote U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. A collateral benefit of the program is the enhancement of operational readiness skills of participating U.S. forces. Within the overall USG MA program, DoD provides training to foreign nations in mine clearance operations, mine awareness education and information campaigns, assistance in the establishment of mine action centers, emergency medical care, and leadership and management skills needed to successfully conduct a national-level mine action program. When called upon for mine-action training, the ultimate goal of DoD participation is to develop a self-sustaining, indigenous demining capability within each recipient country.

SOF normally conducts MA training, using the “train-the-trainer” concept, with augmentation from explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and engineer personnel, as needed. The Combatant Commands execute the MA program, providing them an excellent mil-to-mil engagement opportunity. DoD participation in MA programs allows the Combatant Commanders to work closely with Country Teams to show mine-affected countries how military forces can support the civilian population. By participating in these activities, the Combatant Commands and the Country Teams demonstrate the U.S. commitment to provide direct, bilateral humanitarian assistance, relieve suffering, improve the socio-economic environment, promote regional stability and support democratic ideals.


The statute 10 U.S.C. 2561 authorizes Humanitarian Assistance, including training in disaster response/preparedness. Normally, humanitarian assistance and training conducted under 10 U.S.C. 2561 is not provided to foreign militaries. However, selected military members of the host nation occasionally are included in the training so that the military understands its role in supporting civilian government during emergencies. In some instances, disaster response training is provided directly to the host nation military when the military is the only government institution capable of responding to the natural disaster. Disaster response training provides the necessary skills for civilian leaders of foreign governments and institutions to organize emergency workers, hospital medical and administrative personnel, and military members to respond to natural disasters. Disaster response programs contribute to regional stability, and support both ambassadorial and command theater security cooperation strategies. The goal of disaster response training is an improved host nation capability to respond effectively to disasters, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for a U.S. military response.


The CTFP is a Department of Defense (DoD) security cooperation program that engages foreign military officers, ministry of defense officials, and foreign security officials and provides them with education and training to augment regional cooperation in support of the War on Terror (WOT). The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Global Security Affairs, Partnership Strategy (OASD GSA/PS) oversees the creation and application of a mixture of mobile and resident U.S. institutional courses that are designed to build combating terrorism capabilities and capacities of partner nations; build and strengthen a global network of combating terrorism experts and practitioners committed to participation in support of U.S. efforts against terrorists and terrorism organizations; and counter ideological support for terrorism. This program allows DoD to work with countries of critical importance to the WOT by providing education and training that enhance the tools to effectively build, manage, and sustain combating terrorism programs. Specifically, the CTFP is used to bolster the capacity of nations to detect, monitor, and interdict the activities of terrorist networks ranging from weapons trafficking and terrorist-related financing to actual operational planning by terror groups. The CTFP complements existing security assistance programs and fills a current void in the USG’s efforts to provide targeted combating terrorism assistance. This program is a key tool for Combatant Commanders to foster regional cooperation and professionalize foreign combating terrorism capabilities to assist in the fulfillment of the command’s responsibilities. Combatant Commands identify and recommend to OASD GSA/PS for approval CTFP participants who have a direct impact on their country’s ability to cooperate with the United States in the WOT. All participants are verified consistent with legal requirements regarding human rights issues.


Section 1206 enables the Secretary of Defense (with the concurrence of the Secretary of State) to expedite the training and equipping of partners by conducting programs that build the capacity of national military forces to conduct counterterrorist operations, or to support military and stability operations in which U.S. armed forces are also a participant. Building Partnership Capacity is directed toward partner nations that uphold the cornerstones of democracy, human rights, attendant fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.


A. Academy Exchanges/Service Academy Foreign Student Program

DoD’s three service academies (U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy) have conducted traditional academic exchange programs of varying length and content. As with civilian exchanges, U.S. cadets and/or midshipmen may spend a portion of the academic year or summer training period at a comparable foreign institution while counterpart students participate in the U.S. program. In addition, the Service Academy Foreign Student Program allows up to 60 foreign students to attend each Service Academy at any one time as actual members of an Academy class (i.e., as full-time, four-year degree candidates). The foreign and national security policy justification for these activities centers on the inestimable value of exposing future foreign leaders, at the beginning of their careers, to their U.S. peers in an environment that is designed to promote military professionalism in every respect. The presence of foreign students in U.S. institutions also serves our foreign and national security policy interests by exposing future U.S. military leaders to individuals from the many parts of the globe to which they may deploy. The cost reflected in the report represents the cost to the DoD. Some countries reimburse all or a portion of the cost of the program to the Service Academies.

B. Aviation Leadership Program (ALP)

ALP provides Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) to a small number (15-20 per year) of select international students from friendly, less-developed nations. ALP is a USAF-funded program authorized under 10 U.S.C. 9381-9383. ALP consists of English-language training, Introduction to Flight Training (IFT), Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT), and necessary related training, as well as programs to promote better awareness and understanding of the democratic institutions and social framework of the United States. The duration of the ALP program is 1-2 years, depending on the amount of English-language training required to bring the student up to entry level and the student’s progression through the UPT program. ALP was suspended for FY 1999, FY 2000, and FY 2001 due to a shortfall of UPT quotas for overall Air Force requirements. The program resumed in FY 2002 with a number of students entering into English-language training and follow-on undergraduate pilot training in FY 2003.

C. Exchanges

Reciprocal professional military education (PME) exchanges are authorized by section 544 (Exchange Training) of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA). This section authorizes the President to provide for the attendance of foreign military personnel at PME institutions in the United States (other than service academies) without charge, if such attendance is part of an international agreement. These international agreements provide for the exchange of students on a one-for-one reciprocal basis each fiscal year between the U.S. professional military education institutions and comparable institutions of foreign countries and international organizations.

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) (Section 30A - Exchange of Training and Related Support) authorizes the President to provide training and related support to military and civilian defense personnel of a friendly foreign country or international organization. Such training and related support are provided through the military departments (as opposed to the combatant commands). Unit exchanges conducted under this authority are arranged under international agreements negotiated for such purposes, and are integrated into the theater engagement strategies of the relevant combatant commander. Recipient countries provide, on a reciprocal basis, comparable training and related support.


Under section 506(a)(1) of the FAA, the President may direct the drawdown of defense articles from DoD stocks, defense services, or military training and education from the DoD if he determines and reports to the Congress that an unforeseen emergency exists which requires immediate military assistance to a foreign country or international organization, and that such emergency requirements cannot be met under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) or any other law except this section.

Under section 506(a)(2) of the FAA, the President must determine and report to the Congress, in accordance with section 652 of the FAA, that it is in the national interest of the United States to drawdown articles and services from the inventory and resources of any agency of the U.S. government and military training and education from the DoD. If he so determines, the President may direct the drawdown of such articles, services and military training and education for the purposes and under the authorities of Chapter 8 of Part I of the FAA (relating to international narcotics control assistance); Chapter 9 of part I of the FAA (relating to international disaster assistance); Chapter 8 of part II of the FAA (relating to antiterrorism assistance); Chapter 9 of part II of the FAA (relating to nonproliferation assistance); or the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962; or for the purpose of providing such articles, services and military training and education to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos as the President determines are necessary to (1) support cooperative efforts to locate and repatriate members of the United States Armed Forces and civilians employed directly or indirectly by the USG who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War; and (2) to ensure the safety of USG personnel engaged in such cooperative efforts and to support DoD-sponsored humanitarian projects associated with such efforts.

If the President determines that, as the result of an unforeseen emergency, the immediate provision of assistance for the purpose of Chapter 6 of Part II of the FAA in amounts in excess of funds otherwise available for such assistance is important to the national interest of the United States, section 552 of the FAA provides for drawdown of commodities and services from the inventory and resources of any agency of the USG of an aggregate value not to exceed $25 million in any fiscal year.


The JCET program, authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2011, permits U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to train through interaction with friendly foreign forces. The particular value of this training is that it enhances those SOF skills, such as instructor skills, language proficiency, and cultural awareness, critical to required missions generated either by existing plans or unforeseen contingencies. The primary purpose of JCET activities is always the training of U.S. SOF personnel, although incidental training benefits may accrue to the foreign forces.


The U.S. Coast Guard routinely assists other federal agencies such as State and the Department of Defense through the provision of training and technical assistance. Subject areas include the full breadth of Coast Guard core mission areas including maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, port security, and marine safety. As the U.S. Coast Guard has no independent authority to conduct this training, funding is provided under the auspices of programs such as Anti-Terrorism Assistance, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR), International Military Education and Training (IMET), and Foreign Military Financing (FMF), to name a few. Countries may also use their national funds to purchase training through the Foreign Military Sales program.

1. Coast Guard Academy Foreign Cadet Program

Foreign national appointments to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) are authorized in 14 U.S.C. 195. The number of foreign USCGA cadets may not exceed 36 at any given time. Cadets earn a bachelor of science degree in one of the following disciplines: marine engineering and naval architecture; electrical engineering; civil engineering; mechanical engineering; marine and environmental sciences; management; or government. The presence of foreign students at the USCGA serves to enhance international relationships with key maritime partners around the world. Normally, sponsoring governments agree in advance to reimburse the Coast Guard for all costs incurred for a cadet’s training at the USCGA. Countries may request a waiver to this policy, which can only be granted by the Commandant of the Coast Guard. The figures provided in this report represent only those costs borne by the U.S. Coast Guard. Countries also must agree that, upon graduation, the cadet will serve in the comparable maritime service of his or her respective country. An appropriate duration of service is determined by the sponsoring government.