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Overview:

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program provides funding to train military and civilian leaders of foreign countries, primarily at schools and facilities in the U.S. IMET is implemented by the Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, but funded by the State Department through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. IMET has grown considerably during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, from a budget of $50 million in FY 2000 to $108 million in FY 2010, a 70% increase. It has continued to grow during the administration of Barack Obama, with a projected budget of more than $102 million for FY 2013. More than 120 countries were funded by IMET in FY 2010..

 

IMET has a long, controversial history of helping to train foreign military personnel at the infamous School of the Americas (SOA), some of whom went on to commit human rights abuses in their home countries. Another controversial decision involving IMET stemmed from a Bush administration policy change to provide military training to someone who had been one of America’s most notorious enemies: the dictator of Libya, Muammar al-Qaddafi.

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History:

The United States began training military personnel from foreign countries, most of them in Europe, following World War II. At the urging of President Harry Truman, Congress in 1949 authorized the Military Assistance Program (pdf) and the Foreign Military Sales program and set out rules and criteria for its use. The emphasis of these early programs was on containing the influence of the Soviet Union, while training concentrated on skills needed to effectively operate and maintain equipment provided by the U.S. As Europe recovered from World War II, U.S. security assistance efforts shifted toward developing countries in the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

 

The School of the Americas (SOA) was founded in 1946 to initially provide technical training to U.S. military personnel. Over time, military officers from Latin America were invited to attend the SOA, and increasingly they replaced their American counterparts in the school’s classrooms. So dramatic was this shift in focus that English-language instruction was eliminated in 1956, and Spanish became the official language of the SOA in 1963. During the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy placed a high priority on counterinsurgency training and programs to combat the growing influence of Communist movements in some Latin American countries. This resulted in even more work for the SOA, as Latin American military officers were taught interrogation methods, and, according to critics of the school, ways to torture rebels back in their home countries. The Argentine military, for example, received $10.6 million in U.S. military training from 1962 to 1976. After deposing the Peronist government in 1976, the military regime “disappeared” between 9,000 and 30,000 people during its “dirty war” against leftists.

 

In 1976 the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program was created. Funded by the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (page 15) (pdf), the IMET grant program was established to provide professional, leadership, and management training for senior military leaders and selected junior and middle grade officers with leadership potential from other countries. Among the U.S. military schools IMET students attended was the SOA, which was located in Panama until 1984, when it was moved to Fort Benning, Georgia, in accordance with provisions in the Panama Canal Treaty. The SOA became the target of a broad-based, grassroots campaign to end military training for human rights abusers, which prompted the authors of a 1995 study commissioned by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to recommend that the school be renamed to shed its negative image. In 2000, the SOA was “closed,” reopening on January 17, 2001, under a new name: the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. 

 

As the Cold War came to an end in the late 1980s, security assistance training changed. In 1990 Congress earmarked $1 million in IMET funds to train foreign civilian and military officials in four areas: managing and administering foreign military establishments and budgets; understanding democracy and civilian control of the military; improving military judicial systems; and promoting awareness and understanding of internationally recognized human rights. This came to be called the Expanded IMET (E-IMET) program because of the inclusion of foreign civilian officials. E-IMET is based upon the premise that active promotion of democratic values is thought to be one of the most effective means for achieving U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, particularly in emerging democracies and developing countries. The program includes new courses developed to meet Congressional objectives regarding democracy building and human rights, as well as existing courses that focus on other E-IMET goals.

 

In the early 1990s the U.S. continued to provide IMET training to governments with poor human rights records. The Clinton administration supported military training for several Sub-Saharan regimes, including Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, that were guilty not only of human rights abuses against their own people but also of exploiting and exacerbating the regional war being fought in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front received consistent IMET assistance throughout the 1990s despite the regime’s anti-democratic and internationally aggressive policies. 

 

In 1998 the Mugabe government deployed troops to the DRC, fueling conflict in the Congo. A year later, the State Department conceded in its own annual human rights report that Mugabe's human rights record had “worsened significantly” since its last report, citing an intensification of government efforts to silence journalists; killings, torture and beatings committed by police and security forces; and efforts to distort the political process to favor the ruling party. Yet the aid from Washington kept coming. In 2000-2001, the U.S. provided $186,830 in IMET assistance to train 124 members of the Zimbabwean military. 

 

In other cases, the U.S. government began placing restrictions on IMET to certain countries. For example, the Clinton administration responded to former Nigerian dictator General Ibrahim Babangida’s annulment of the June 1993 presidential elections by terminating that country’s $450,000 IMET program and expelling the five Nigerian military officers receiving military training at the time. Similarly, after the November 1991 Dili massacre in which 273 people were murdered by the Indonesian military, the U.S. cut off IMET assistance to Jakarta. For FY 1997, Congress denied all IMET funding to Guatemala and Zaire because of human rights abuses.

 

In the 21st century, some congressional members have tried unsuccessfully to curtail IMET support to repressive governments. In 2001 Senators Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) and Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island) introduced the International Military Education and Training Accountability Act (S. 647) (pdf) to require that the State and Defense Departments be more forthcoming with information about the human rights records of IMET alumni. Another bill, HR 1810, was introduced in 2001 to try to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). Both bills failed to pass Congress.

 

Altogether, between IMET and its predecessor grant programs, the U.S. has trained more than 500,000 students in the past 40 years. Thousands of former IMET students have reached positions of prominence in their countries’ military and civilian sectors. Theoretically, according to the Department of Defense, these well-trained, professional leaders with firsthand knowledge of the United States and its values are expected to make a difference in winning access and influence for both U.S. diplomatic and military representatives in foreign countries.

 

Since FY 2000, there has been a 14% decrease in the number of students trained, in spite of a 70% increase in U.S. government funding, according to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report to the U.S. Congress.

Center for International Policy: Just the Facts

School of the Americas Watch

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

Over 100 Nations Benefit From U.S. Military Training, Education (by Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Federation of American Scientists)

IMET: Agencies Should Emphasize Human Rights Training and Improve Evaluations (GAO Report, October 2011) (pdf)

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What it Does:

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program provides funding to train military and civilian leaders of foreign countries, primarily at schools and facilities in the U.S. On occasion, IMET-funded programs are conducted in the recipient country by mobile education and training teams consisting of U.S. instructors. IMET is implemented by the Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, but funded by the State Department through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. IMET grew considerably during the administration of George W. Bush, from a budget of $50 million in FY 2000 to $85 million in FY 2008, a 70% increase. It has continued to grow during the administration of Barack Obama, with a projected budget of more than $102 million for FY 2013.

 

According to the Secretary of State, IMET has three objectives: a) to enhance the capabilities of allied and friendly militaries to participate in peacekeeping operations under the United Nations or other multinational efforts; b) to promote common understanding with U.S. military forces by exposing IMET students to American military doctrine, strategic planning processes, and operational and logistical procedures; and c) to build positive relationships between civilian and military officials from the United States with counterparts in other countries. This last objective is considered the most important by U.S. officials.

 

Courses made available to IMET grant recipients are divided into two main categories: Professional Military Education (PME) and technical training. PME is designed to prepare recipients for leadership positions, while technical training courses equip students with the skills required to operate specific weapons systems, or fulfill the demands of a specific military occupational specialty. A third category is Expanded IMET (E-IMET). Examples of E-IMET courses include Advanced Management Program Course (AMP), Civil Military Operations, Democratic Sustainment, Civil Affairs, Law of War, and Military Accounting. For a complete list of courses and schools, see the Expanded IMET Handbook (pdf). Almost 120 courses are currently approved by the DoD for IMET students.

 

The IMET Process

The initial steps by which countries gain access to the IMET program are coordinated by the local Security Assistance Organization (SAO), which consists of U.S. military personnel assigned to embassies to field such requests, provide specifics about the training programs, their goals, and funding levels, and work with the host government to develop and submit the request. Requests are submitted yearly at the annual Training Program Management Reviews (TPMRs) at which the SAOs submit a budget for the next fiscal year.

 

According to the DSCA, all IMET applicants are screened rigorously for health problems, human rights violations, and other potential problems. If an applicant satisfies all screening requirements, an Invitational Travel Order (ITO) is issued. Once they arrive in the United States, each new International Military Student (IMS) is assigned an International Military Student Officer (IMSO), who is responsible for coordinating logistics associated with the student's arrival, monitoring their academic progress, and arranging DoD Informational Program (DoDIP) activities, which seek to expose foreign military students to American culture, values, and institutions.

 

In the case of Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) sent to a country, U.S. military and civilian personnel spend up to six months providing training or assessing the training needs of a country.

 

Types of Training

Each International Military Student (IMS) must achieve a degree of English language proficiency before they can take courses at most of the U.S. training institutions. The Defense English Language Program was created to oversee English language training programs utilized by students to acquire these language skills. MTTs, language training detachments, training for language instructors and various teaching aides are available to foreign governments interested in setting up in-country training.

 

Flying training includes instruction on how to fly fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.  Compared to other forms of training, flying training is costly, so IMET funded flying training is quite limited.

 

Observation/familiarization training allows students who are unable or prohibited from engaging in classroom exercises to learn specific skills through observation instead.

 

On-the-job qualification training allows students to hone and develop the skills they acquire in the classroom in a real-world setting. 

 

Professional Military Education provides leadership training to officers at every level of their professional development. Although there are no special restrictions placed on courses for new and mid-level international officers, senior officers must be invited by one of the military services to attend the war or command colleges. Examples include International Officer Logistics Preparation Training, Infantry Officer Basic Training, and International Officer Intelligence Advance Training.

 

Technical training focuses on developing a specific skill or set of skills necessary for operating a particular weapon system or to perform required functions within a military operational specialty.

 

Schools

Schools that provide training to IMET recipients are divided into the following three categories: Professional Military Education (PME), designed to teach officers specific leadership skills; English Language Training; and Senior Service Schools. The latter offers courses on national security policy and the politico-military aspects of defense to senior foreign military officers and civilians. The Senior Service Schools are the National War College, which is part of the National Defense University, and the Service War Colleges (Army, Navy, and Air War Colleges). Additionally, separate schools and programs are tasked with implementing various components of the E-IMET program.

 

The Naval Justice School offers courses focusing on fundamental principles of military justice, civil and administrative law and procedure. The Center for Civil-Military Relations provides host countries with a five-day course, normally taught abroad, that focuses on addressing the inherent conflict between civilian and military institutions in democracies. The course focuses on this natural tension and the various strategies for ensuring effective civilian control over military institutions. Specific topics covered during the course include the process of promoting officers, the respective roles of the legislators and military officials in the defense budgeting process, and handling disputes between civilian officials and military officers.

 

Defense Resource Management Institute (DRMI) offers a multi-disciplinary program designed to develop and strengthen the analytical and decision-making skills of mid- and upper-level officials responsible for managing defense resources. The programs are normally taught at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, but the institute also occasionally teaches them overseas and elsewhere in the United States.

IMET Funding by Country

Just the Facts: IMET

Is Expanded International Military Education and Training reaching the right audience? (by Ronald H. Reynolds, DISAM Journal)

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Where Does the Money Go:

The primary stakeholders of International Military Education and Training (IMET) are foreign military and civilian students, schools that offer DoD-sanctioned training and education, and the governments of foreign countries that receive IMET funds. The State Department’s IMET Account Summaries lists all countries that received IMET funds from FY 2006 to FY 2011. Some of the top recipients of IMET are Turkey, Jordan, Philippines, Thailand, Poland, Pakistan, Morocco, and Tunisia.

 

The largest portion of IMET funding during the past decade has gone to countries in Europe and the Eurasia region, which received $30 million in 2010. During that period, funding levels doubled for countries in the Near East and South and Central Asia territories. Six countries said to be important in the war against al Qaeda—Algeria, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen—received a combined total of only $8.9 million of IMET funding in 2010, according to a 2010 State Department account summary.

 

The largest use of IMET funds has been for professional military education, which was earmarked for 50% of the 2010 IMET budget. English language and technical training accounted for 13% and 11%, respectively, of program costs. Human rights training was not identified as a priority in the IMET training plans reviewed by the GAO in 2011.

 

DSCA’s Expand IMET Handbook lists all schools in 2001 that offered DoD-approved courses for IMET students. Some of these schools are:

  • National Defense University
  • Information Resources Management College
  • Center for the Defense Leadership and Management Program
  • Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
  • U.S. Army Special Warfare Center
  • U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) School
  • U.S. Army War College
  • U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • U.S. Army Logistics Management College
  • U.S. Army Finance School
  • U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School
  • Defense Resources Management Institute
  • Center for Civil-Military Relations
  • Defense Healthcare Management Institute
  • U.S. Naval Post Graduate School
  • U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office
  • Defense Institute of International Legal Studies
  • U.S. Joint Forces Staff College
  • Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific
  • U.S. Naval Supply Systems Command
  • Defense Healthcare Management Institute
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
  • Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management
  • U.S. Air Force Special Operations School
  • Inter-American Air Force Academy
  • Air War College
  • Air Command and Staff College
  • Air Force Judge Advocate General School
  • U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology 
  • Defense Acquisition University
  • U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Virginia 
  • U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, California 
  • U.S. Coast Guard Regional Fisheries Training Center Gulf; New Orleans, Louisiana
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy Leadership Development Center; New London, Connecticut

 

 

From the Web Site of International Military Education & Training

Expanded IMET

Expanded IMET Links

International Training Management

Professional Military Education

Technical Training

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Controversies:

Leader of Mali Military Coup Trained through IMET

The man behind the 2012 coup in Mali, which overthrew the country’s democratically elected president, Amadou Touré, received military training in the United States on multiple occasions through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.

 

Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo was given professional military education, including basic officer training. A U.S. official said given the Malian army’s small size (about 7,000 personnel), it shouldn’t be surprising that Sanogo was selected for the IMET.

 

J. Peter Pham, an African affairs specialist at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, told The Washington Post: “It would be hard to find an officer at his rank or higher in the Malian military who hasn’t received training. …They’ve been a pretty reliable partner in terms of counterterrorism training.”

 

Mali was considered a key partner of the United States’ efforts to contain al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa.

Leader Of Mali Military Coup Trained In U.S. (by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post)

Leader Of Mali Military Coup Received U.S. Training (by Alan Boswell, McClatchy Newspapers)

Captain Amadou Sanogo: The De Facto Mali Leader Who Compares Himself To De Gaulle (by David Blair, The Telegraph)

Mali Jihadists Say They’ve Been Tortured By Military In Custody; Reports Detail Other Abuses (Associated Press)

Child Soldiers Prevention Act Undermined

For three years in a row, the Obama administration disappointed human rights groups seeking an end to U.S. support to regimes that utilize child soldiers.

 

Under federal law, governments listed by the State Department as using and recruiting child soldiers are prohibited from receiving American military assistance. This ban applies to the IMET, as well as Foreign Military Financing, Excess Defense Articles, Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales.

 

But the administration was able to get around the ban by issuing national security waivers from the Child Soldiers Protection Act to certain foreign governments, including countries such as Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Sudan and Yemen, which were reported to still be using child soldiers.

 

“In short, with a swipe of the pen, the Obama administration has agreed to continue using American taxpayer dollars to provide unrestricted military assistance to governments that have taken, at best, a small step forward toward addressing the problem and remain, overall, profoundly undisciplined,” wrote Rachel Stohl and Sarah Margon at the nonprofit Stimson Center.

Obama Administration Supports Child Soldier Use, Again (by Rachel Stohl and Sarah Margon, Stimson)

For 3rd Straight Year, Obama Waives Penalties on Countries Using Child Soldiers (by Brett Wilkins, Moral Low Ground)

Mali: Islamists Should Free Child Soldiers (Human Rights Watch)

On the Use of Child Soldiers in Mali (The League of Discerning Do-Gooders)

 

Thousands of Egyptian Military Officers Have Trained through the IMET

In the wake of the Egyptian revolution, U.S. military assistance through the IMET program came under scrutiny.

 

For more than three decades, the U.S. provided $1.3 billion annually in military aid to Egypt. This funding allowed thousands of Egyptian officers over the years to visit the United States and take courses at schools such as the Army War College and the National Defense University and be exposes to U.S. military and political ideas, thanks to the IMET.

 

To what that training amounted became a cause for concern after an Egyptian military vehicle ran over a group of pro-democracy demonstrators on the streets of Cairo in 2011.

 

U.S. officials seemed not to worry, claiming the Egyptian military has demonstrated great professionalism, in part because of the U.S. assistance.

U.S.-Funded Democracy Crushers? (by Tara McKelvey, Daily Beast)

U.S. Government Assistance to Egypt (State Department)

 

School of the Americas

Proponents of IMET argue that by providing training to military officials from countries with poor human rights records, the U.S. can influence positive change in these regimes. However, the historical record shows otherwise. In the case of the School of the Americas (SOA), it contributed to human rights abuses suffered by Central and South Americans at the hands of abusive militaries and security apparatus. Many of the most notorious Latin American human rights violators passed through the doors of the SOA, including CPT Eduardo Ernesto Alfonso Avila, who ordered the assassination of El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero (among others), and Maj. Armando Azmitia Melara, who was implicated in several Salvadoran massacres including those at El Mozote and Lake Suchitlan. The non-governmental organization, School of the Americas Watch monitors many of the SOA’s more notorious graduates.

 

The release of training manuals used at the SOA from 1987 until 1991 that “taught tactics that come right of a Soviet gulag” confirmed critics’ concerns of the school. The manuals instructed students on the “neutralization” of “personality targets” that included “governmental officials, political leaders and members of the infrastructure.” Other sections advocated the use of beatings, imprisonment, and the jailing of family members as tools of coercion. Finally, the manuals recommended that government agents view “all the organizations as possible guerilla sympathizers.” The Pentagon later called these sections of the manuals “mistakes” but also absolved those responsible for these sections of any wrongdoing by declaring that since any violations of DoD policies were not deliberate, “further investigation to assess individual responsibility is not required.”

 

Since 1990 the SOA, now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, has required that all courses include a four-hour human rights component, consisting of instruction on the laws of war, democratization and civilian control of the armed forces.  It also added new classes to its curriculum that address the abuses of its alumni, including one on Democratic Sustainment and another on civil-military relations. 

 

The Bush administration justified the expansion of regional US-led military training operations in the post-Cold-War, post-9/11 era with the threat of terrorism and a compelling need to protect national security. During the 2008 Presidential race, candidates Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich promised to close down WHINSEC if elected, while then-Senator Barack Obama hedged, praising Congress for having revised the school’s controversial curriculum but making no commitments regarding the school’s future without further evaluation. As President, Obama has remained largely silent on the matter, while the campaign to close down the School has continued unabated, with critics coming closer to killing funding in the Senate each year. The Institute’s dark legacy seems to be gradually moving consensus against it.

Federation of American Scientists on IMET

Federation of American Scientists on Security Assistance Programs

Trained in the U.S.A. (by Joshua E. Keating, Foreign Policy)

 

Bush Administration Helped Dictators

Concerns about human rights and democracy often take a back seat to immediate strategic interests, as evidenced by President George W. Bush’s strategy of rewarding states that cooperate with the U.S. in its Global War on Terrorism campaign. Under the Bush administration, Pakistan received approximately $2 million in IMET funding in spite of President Pervez Musharraf regime’s poor human rights record and anti-democratic practices, placing it among the most flagrant violators of U.S. security assistance eligibility criteria. The Bush administration elected to waive restrictions on foreign assistance to Pakistan both as a reward for siding with the Americans in their military campaign against the Taliban and to ensure its continued support of U.S. operations in the region. In addition to Pakistan, Central Asian countries that lent support to the U.S. during Operation Enduring Freedom, including Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, were also slated to receive significant IMET assistance, even though all have been accused of human rights violations by the State Department.

 

Another country that received IMET support under the Bush administration was Libya. During the 1980s, the Reagan administration branded Libya’s leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi, a “madman” and his government one of the most dangerous supporters of international terrorism. But beginning in FY 2008, the U.S. allocated $333,000 in IMET funds for Libya because of its “commitment to renouncing weapons of mass destruction; combating the rapidly growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaeda in Libya and the region; and promoting professional, effective law enforcement and military services that respect international norms and practices,” according to the Bush administration’s Foreign Operations Budget (page 524) (pdf). The document adds that the IMET funds will “educate and train Libyan security forces as well as create vital linkages with Libyan officers after a 35-year break in contact,” adding the money will bring “Libyan officers to the United States and expose them to democratic practices and respect for human rights.” Bush proposed an additional $350,000 for Libya in FY 2009, and the Obama administration proposed another $350,000 in FY 2010.

 

According to the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Libya could have used the help in improving its human rights practices. The 2008 report on Libya stated that “the country maintains an extensive security apparatus that includes police and military units, multiple intelligence services, local revolutionary committees, people’s committees, and ‘purification’ committees. The result is a multilayered, pervasive surveillance system that monitors and controls the activities of individuals. The legal basis of security service authority is unclear; citizens have no obvious recourse if they believe security services have exceeded their authority. Frequently cited laws are the 1971 and 1972 ‘Protection of the Revolution’ laws, which criminalize activities based on political principles inconsistent with revolutionary ideology. Although the law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, in practice security services can detain individuals without formal charges and hold them indefinitely without court convictions.”

 

The Libya report added, “Security forces committed serious human rights abuses with impunity” and “regularly enjoyed impunity from criminal acts committed while performing their duties.” Overall, the State Department found “the government’s human rights record remained poor. Reported torture, arbitrary arrest, and incommunicado detention remained problems. The government restricted civil liberties and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. The government did not fully protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Other problems included poor prison conditions; impunity for government officials; lengthy political detention; denial of fair public trial; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions of freedom of religion; corruption and lack of transparency; societal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, and foreign workers; trafficking in persons; and restriction of labor rights.”

 

In reality, Libyan security officers were more likely to use the skills they learned through IMET against Qaddafi’s political opponents than they were against terrorists.

 

A Libyan civil war that commenced in February 2011 was followed by NATO military intervention in March, in support of anti-government rebels. The war officially ended in October, several days after rebel forces captured and killed Qaddafi.

Sweeping Military Aid Under the Anti-Terrorism Rug (Global Issues)

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Suggested Reforms:

Apply Policies to Ethiopia

Members of the U.S. Senate recommended during 2013 budget talks involving the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program that State Department and Pentagon officials work together to curb Ethiopia’s in appropriate use of antiterrorism laws.

 

Senators complained that Ethiopia was manipulating antiterrorism laws to imprison journalists, political opponents and others calling for free and fair elections and basic rights.

 

The State Department and the Defense Department needed to “apply a consistent policy to the Ethiopian military and police, who enforce the government’s repressive policies,” according to a Senate committee document.

 

The committee recommended $103 million for IMET’s total budget for 2013 but didn’t suggest a dollar amount for Ethiopia, citing its concerns about the country’s repressive military policies.

Senate Report 112-172 - Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2013 (Library of Congress)

 

 

GAO Reform Suggestions for the IMET

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found human rights training lacking in IMET programs during a 2011 review. It offered up several recommendations for addressing this problem.

 

GAO auditors noted that IMET students received training to build respect for internationally recognized human rights standards. But the agency also found said training was generally not considered a priority in all of the IMET country training plans that the GAO reviewed.

 

It wrote in its report that “human rights and related concepts were identified as key objectives in only 11 of the 29 country training plans GAO reviewed for IMET participant countries that received low rankings for political and civil freedoms by Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization. Furthermore, 7 of the 12 training managers GAO interviewed from countries that received low to moderate rankings for political and civil freedoms said that human rights was not a priority compared to other IMET objectives.”

 

To help rectify this situation, the GAO recommended that the State Department and the Department of Defense make sure human rights training is a priority in IMET recipient countries with known human rights concerns.

 

It also recommended that the departments take steps to create a system to evaluate the effectiveness of the IMET program.

IMET: Agencies Should Emphasize Human Rights Training and Improve Evaluations (Government Accountability Office)

 

Reform Military Education

A quarter century since Congress adopted the landmark 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which reformed U.S. national defense, the military would be asked to implement changes affecting how officers are educated at war colleges, according to one expert.

 

Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor and former chair of national security affairs at the Naval War College, recommended several ways that the military could improve its teachings, including putting more emphasis on education over training.

 

She suggested that active-duty military officers be the first choice to teach courses on operational warfare, not former officers who haven’t served for years or decades.

 

Johnson-Freese also said the war colleges should cut back on hiring active-duty military faculty who have just retired, unless they are exceptional leaders “who show great future promise.”

 

Another recommendation would put greater emphasis on academic freedom for faculty “to assure that students are challenged by the best minds” at the war colleges.

The Reform of Military Education: Twenty-Five Years Later (by Joan Johnson-Freese, Foreign Policy Research Institute)

 

Increase the IMET Budget to Upgrade Counterterrorism

In order to combat terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda overseas, the United States must have dependable allies with properly trained counterterrorism programs in place, according to one think tank assessment.

 

The group Third Way argued in a 2010 white paper that to ensure America’s partners are capable of denying terrorists a toehold in their countries, U.S. programs like the IMET need to receive more funding.

 

They claimed funding for training programs in countries dealing with terrorist threats has not been sufficient since the September 11 attacks, and that the State Department’s IMET program has not grown sufficiently and, rather, has become too spread out with its goals.

 

This is why the Third Way advocated for Congress and the Obama administration to bolster IMET’s funding for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism work overseas.

 

The think tank also wants lawmakers to order the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, with a budget of $35 million, to be rolled into the IMET and expanded in size.

 

Reforming Foreign Security Training to Help Defeat Terrorism (by Andy Johnson and Scott Payne, Third Way)

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Congressional Oversight:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House Appropriations Committee

 

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Comments

TOUMBA Cherubain 2 months ago
Hello, It's not a comment, but my interest to take advantage to this program, to study in US by international military education and training for my staff college. I am captain in congolese armies forces, from Congo-Brazzaville.
46and2 4 months ago
"...$50 million in FY 2000 to $108 million in FY 2010, a 70% increase..." Wouldn't this be 116% increase? If you start with fifty million and then double it (100% increase) to 100 million then all you have to do is figure out what percentage of 50, 8 is. Which is 16% add the two together to get 116%. Or do I really suck at basic math that badly?

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Founded: 1976
Annual Budget: $102.6 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees:
International Military Education & Training (IMET)
Wieringa, Jeffrey
Former Director
In his capacity as director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Vice Admiral Jeffrey A. Wieringa oversees the International Military Education and Training program. Wieringa was appointed director of DSCA on August 29, 2007. He entered the Naval Service in 1973 through the Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate Program. In 1975, he received a B.S. degree in Physics form Kansas State College. Prior to his appointment, Wieringa served as deputy assistant secretary to the Navy for International Programs and director of the Navy’s International Programs Office. He has served 34 active years in the Navy also serving as chief test pilot and chief engineer for naval aviation. During his active years, he flew 51 different types of aircraft with over 4,000 flight hours and 534 carrier landings. Wieringa also commanded the F/A-18 Program (PMA-265) to support the first combat deployment of the Super Hornet in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 
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Overview:

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program provides funding to train military and civilian leaders of foreign countries, primarily at schools and facilities in the U.S. IMET is implemented by the Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, but funded by the State Department through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. IMET has grown considerably during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, from a budget of $50 million in FY 2000 to $108 million in FY 2010, a 70% increase. It has continued to grow during the administration of Barack Obama, with a projected budget of more than $102 million for FY 2013. More than 120 countries were funded by IMET in FY 2010..

 

IMET has a long, controversial history of helping to train foreign military personnel at the infamous School of the Americas (SOA), some of whom went on to commit human rights abuses in their home countries. Another controversial decision involving IMET stemmed from a Bush administration policy change to provide military training to someone who had been one of America’s most notorious enemies: the dictator of Libya, Muammar al-Qaddafi.

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History:

The United States began training military personnel from foreign countries, most of them in Europe, following World War II. At the urging of President Harry Truman, Congress in 1949 authorized the Military Assistance Program (pdf) and the Foreign Military Sales program and set out rules and criteria for its use. The emphasis of these early programs was on containing the influence of the Soviet Union, while training concentrated on skills needed to effectively operate and maintain equipment provided by the U.S. As Europe recovered from World War II, U.S. security assistance efforts shifted toward developing countries in the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

 

The School of the Americas (SOA) was founded in 1946 to initially provide technical training to U.S. military personnel. Over time, military officers from Latin America were invited to attend the SOA, and increasingly they replaced their American counterparts in the school’s classrooms. So dramatic was this shift in focus that English-language instruction was eliminated in 1956, and Spanish became the official language of the SOA in 1963. During the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy placed a high priority on counterinsurgency training and programs to combat the growing influence of Communist movements in some Latin American countries. This resulted in even more work for the SOA, as Latin American military officers were taught interrogation methods, and, according to critics of the school, ways to torture rebels back in their home countries. The Argentine military, for example, received $10.6 million in U.S. military training from 1962 to 1976. After deposing the Peronist government in 1976, the military regime “disappeared” between 9,000 and 30,000 people during its “dirty war” against leftists.

 

In 1976 the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program was created. Funded by the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (page 15) (pdf), the IMET grant program was established to provide professional, leadership, and management training for senior military leaders and selected junior and middle grade officers with leadership potential from other countries. Among the U.S. military schools IMET students attended was the SOA, which was located in Panama until 1984, when it was moved to Fort Benning, Georgia, in accordance with provisions in the Panama Canal Treaty. The SOA became the target of a broad-based, grassroots campaign to end military training for human rights abusers, which prompted the authors of a 1995 study commissioned by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to recommend that the school be renamed to shed its negative image. In 2000, the SOA was “closed,” reopening on January 17, 2001, under a new name: the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. 

 

As the Cold War came to an end in the late 1980s, security assistance training changed. In 1990 Congress earmarked $1 million in IMET funds to train foreign civilian and military officials in four areas: managing and administering foreign military establishments and budgets; understanding democracy and civilian control of the military; improving military judicial systems; and promoting awareness and understanding of internationally recognized human rights. This came to be called the Expanded IMET (E-IMET) program because of the inclusion of foreign civilian officials. E-IMET is based upon the premise that active promotion of democratic values is thought to be one of the most effective means for achieving U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, particularly in emerging democracies and developing countries. The program includes new courses developed to meet Congressional objectives regarding democracy building and human rights, as well as existing courses that focus on other E-IMET goals.

 

In the early 1990s the U.S. continued to provide IMET training to governments with poor human rights records. The Clinton administration supported military training for several Sub-Saharan regimes, including Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, that were guilty not only of human rights abuses against their own people but also of exploiting and exacerbating the regional war being fought in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front received consistent IMET assistance throughout the 1990s despite the regime’s anti-democratic and internationally aggressive policies. 

 

In 1998 the Mugabe government deployed troops to the DRC, fueling conflict in the Congo. A year later, the State Department conceded in its own annual human rights report that Mugabe's human rights record had “worsened significantly” since its last report, citing an intensification of government efforts to silence journalists; killings, torture and beatings committed by police and security forces; and efforts to distort the political process to favor the ruling party. Yet the aid from Washington kept coming. In 2000-2001, the U.S. provided $186,830 in IMET assistance to train 124 members of the Zimbabwean military. 

 

In other cases, the U.S. government began placing restrictions on IMET to certain countries. For example, the Clinton administration responded to former Nigerian dictator General Ibrahim Babangida’s annulment of the June 1993 presidential elections by terminating that country’s $450,000 IMET program and expelling the five Nigerian military officers receiving military training at the time. Similarly, after the November 1991 Dili massacre in which 273 people were murdered by the Indonesian military, the U.S. cut off IMET assistance to Jakarta. For FY 1997, Congress denied all IMET funding to Guatemala and Zaire because of human rights abuses.

 

In the 21st century, some congressional members have tried unsuccessfully to curtail IMET support to repressive governments. In 2001 Senators Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) and Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island) introduced the International Military Education and Training Accountability Act (S. 647) (pdf) to require that the State and Defense Departments be more forthcoming with information about the human rights records of IMET alumni. Another bill, HR 1810, was introduced in 2001 to try to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). Both bills failed to pass Congress.

 

Altogether, between IMET and its predecessor grant programs, the U.S. has trained more than 500,000 students in the past 40 years. Thousands of former IMET students have reached positions of prominence in their countries’ military and civilian sectors. Theoretically, according to the Department of Defense, these well-trained, professional leaders with firsthand knowledge of the United States and its values are expected to make a difference in winning access and influence for both U.S. diplomatic and military representatives in foreign countries.

 

Since FY 2000, there has been a 14% decrease in the number of students trained, in spite of a 70% increase in U.S. government funding, according to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report to the U.S. Congress.

Center for International Policy: Just the Facts

School of the Americas Watch

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

Over 100 Nations Benefit From U.S. Military Training, Education (by Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Federation of American Scientists)

IMET: Agencies Should Emphasize Human Rights Training and Improve Evaluations (GAO Report, October 2011) (pdf)

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What it Does:

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program provides funding to train military and civilian leaders of foreign countries, primarily at schools and facilities in the U.S. On occasion, IMET-funded programs are conducted in the recipient country by mobile education and training teams consisting of U.S. instructors. IMET is implemented by the Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, but funded by the State Department through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. IMET grew considerably during the administration of George W. Bush, from a budget of $50 million in FY 2000 to $85 million in FY 2008, a 70% increase. It has continued to grow during the administration of Barack Obama, with a projected budget of more than $102 million for FY 2013.

 

According to the Secretary of State, IMET has three objectives: a) to enhance the capabilities of allied and friendly militaries to participate in peacekeeping operations under the United Nations or other multinational efforts; b) to promote common understanding with U.S. military forces by exposing IMET students to American military doctrine, strategic planning processes, and operational and logistical procedures; and c) to build positive relationships between civilian and military officials from the United States with counterparts in other countries. This last objective is considered the most important by U.S. officials.

 

Courses made available to IMET grant recipients are divided into two main categories: Professional Military Education (PME) and technical training. PME is designed to prepare recipients for leadership positions, while technical training courses equip students with the skills required to operate specific weapons systems, or fulfill the demands of a specific military occupational specialty. A third category is Expanded IMET (E-IMET). Examples of E-IMET courses include Advanced Management Program Course (AMP), Civil Military Operations, Democratic Sustainment, Civil Affairs, Law of War, and Military Accounting. For a complete list of courses and schools, see the Expanded IMET Handbook (pdf). Almost 120 courses are currently approved by the DoD for IMET students.

 

The IMET Process

The initial steps by which countries gain access to the IMET program are coordinated by the local Security Assistance Organization (SAO), which consists of U.S. military personnel assigned to embassies to field such requests, provide specifics about the training programs, their goals, and funding levels, and work with the host government to develop and submit the request. Requests are submitted yearly at the annual Training Program Management Reviews (TPMRs) at which the SAOs submit a budget for the next fiscal year.

 

According to the DSCA, all IMET applicants are screened rigorously for health problems, human rights violations, and other potential problems. If an applicant satisfies all screening requirements, an Invitational Travel Order (ITO) is issued. Once they arrive in the United States, each new International Military Student (IMS) is assigned an International Military Student Officer (IMSO), who is responsible for coordinating logistics associated with the student's arrival, monitoring their academic progress, and arranging DoD Informational Program (DoDIP) activities, which seek to expose foreign military students to American culture, values, and institutions.

 

In the case of Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) sent to a country, U.S. military and civilian personnel spend up to six months providing training or assessing the training needs of a country.

 

Types of Training

Each International Military Student (IMS) must achieve a degree of English language proficiency before they can take courses at most of the U.S. training institutions. The Defense English Language Program was created to oversee English language training programs utilized by students to acquire these language skills. MTTs, language training detachments, training for language instructors and various teaching aides are available to foreign governments interested in setting up in-country training.

 

Flying training includes instruction on how to fly fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.  Compared to other forms of training, flying training is costly, so IMET funded flying training is quite limited.

 

Observation/familiarization training allows students who are unable or prohibited from engaging in classroom exercises to learn specific skills through observation instead.

 

On-the-job qualification training allows students to hone and develop the skills they acquire in the classroom in a real-world setting. 

 

Professional Military Education provides leadership training to officers at every level of their professional development. Although there are no special restrictions placed on courses for new and mid-level international officers, senior officers must be invited by one of the military services to attend the war or command colleges. Examples include International Officer Logistics Preparation Training, Infantry Officer Basic Training, and International Officer Intelligence Advance Training.

 

Technical training focuses on developing a specific skill or set of skills necessary for operating a particular weapon system or to perform required functions within a military operational specialty.

 

Schools

Schools that provide training to IMET recipients are divided into the following three categories: Professional Military Education (PME), designed to teach officers specific leadership skills; English Language Training; and Senior Service Schools. The latter offers courses on national security policy and the politico-military aspects of defense to senior foreign military officers and civilians. The Senior Service Schools are the National War College, which is part of the National Defense University, and the Service War Colleges (Army, Navy, and Air War Colleges). Additionally, separate schools and programs are tasked with implementing various components of the E-IMET program.

 

The Naval Justice School offers courses focusing on fundamental principles of military justice, civil and administrative law and procedure. The Center for Civil-Military Relations provides host countries with a five-day course, normally taught abroad, that focuses on addressing the inherent conflict between civilian and military institutions in democracies. The course focuses on this natural tension and the various strategies for ensuring effective civilian control over military institutions. Specific topics covered during the course include the process of promoting officers, the respective roles of the legislators and military officials in the defense budgeting process, and handling disputes between civilian officials and military officers.

 

Defense Resource Management Institute (DRMI) offers a multi-disciplinary program designed to develop and strengthen the analytical and decision-making skills of mid- and upper-level officials responsible for managing defense resources. The programs are normally taught at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, but the institute also occasionally teaches them overseas and elsewhere in the United States.

IMET Funding by Country

Just the Facts: IMET

Is Expanded International Military Education and Training reaching the right audience? (by Ronald H. Reynolds, DISAM Journal)

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Where Does the Money Go:

The primary stakeholders of International Military Education and Training (IMET) are foreign military and civilian students, schools that offer DoD-sanctioned training and education, and the governments of foreign countries that receive IMET funds. The State Department’s IMET Account Summaries lists all countries that received IMET funds from FY 2006 to FY 2011. Some of the top recipients of IMET are Turkey, Jordan, Philippines, Thailand, Poland, Pakistan, Morocco, and Tunisia.

 

The largest portion of IMET funding during the past decade has gone to countries in Europe and the Eurasia region, which received $30 million in 2010. During that period, funding levels doubled for countries in the Near East and South and Central Asia territories. Six countries said to be important in the war against al Qaeda—Algeria, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen—received a combined total of only $8.9 million of IMET funding in 2010, according to a 2010 State Department account summary.

 

The largest use of IMET funds has been for professional military education, which was earmarked for 50% of the 2010 IMET budget. English language and technical training accounted for 13% and 11%, respectively, of program costs. Human rights training was not identified as a priority in the IMET training plans reviewed by the GAO in 2011.

 

DSCA’s Expand IMET Handbook lists all schools in 2001 that offered DoD-approved courses for IMET students. Some of these schools are:

  • National Defense University
  • Information Resources Management College
  • Center for the Defense Leadership and Management Program
  • Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
  • U.S. Army Special Warfare Center
  • U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) School
  • U.S. Army War College
  • U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • U.S. Army Logistics Management College
  • U.S. Army Finance School
  • U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School
  • Defense Resources Management Institute
  • Center for Civil-Military Relations
  • Defense Healthcare Management Institute
  • U.S. Naval Post Graduate School
  • U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office
  • Defense Institute of International Legal Studies
  • U.S. Joint Forces Staff College
  • Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific
  • U.S. Naval Supply Systems Command
  • Defense Healthcare Management Institute
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
  • Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management
  • U.S. Air Force Special Operations School
  • Inter-American Air Force Academy
  • Air War College
  • Air Command and Staff College
  • Air Force Judge Advocate General School
  • U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology 
  • Defense Acquisition University
  • U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Virginia 
  • U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, California 
  • U.S. Coast Guard Regional Fisheries Training Center Gulf; New Orleans, Louisiana
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy Leadership Development Center; New London, Connecticut

 

 

From the Web Site of International Military Education & Training

Expanded IMET

Expanded IMET Links

International Training Management

Professional Military Education

Technical Training

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Controversies:

Leader of Mali Military Coup Trained through IMET

The man behind the 2012 coup in Mali, which overthrew the country’s democratically elected president, Amadou Touré, received military training in the United States on multiple occasions through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.

 

Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo was given professional military education, including basic officer training. A U.S. official said given the Malian army’s small size (about 7,000 personnel), it shouldn’t be surprising that Sanogo was selected for the IMET.

 

J. Peter Pham, an African affairs specialist at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, told The Washington Post: “It would be hard to find an officer at his rank or higher in the Malian military who hasn’t received training. …They’ve been a pretty reliable partner in terms of counterterrorism training.”

 

Mali was considered a key partner of the United States’ efforts to contain al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa.

Leader Of Mali Military Coup Trained In U.S. (by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post)

Leader Of Mali Military Coup Received U.S. Training (by Alan Boswell, McClatchy Newspapers)

Captain Amadou Sanogo: The De Facto Mali Leader Who Compares Himself To De Gaulle (by David Blair, The Telegraph)

Mali Jihadists Say They’ve Been Tortured By Military In Custody; Reports Detail Other Abuses (Associated Press)

Child Soldiers Prevention Act Undermined

For three years in a row, the Obama administration disappointed human rights groups seeking an end to U.S. support to regimes that utilize child soldiers.

 

Under federal law, governments listed by the State Department as using and recruiting child soldiers are prohibited from receiving American military assistance. This ban applies to the IMET, as well as Foreign Military Financing, Excess Defense Articles, Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales.

 

But the administration was able to get around the ban by issuing national security waivers from the Child Soldiers Protection Act to certain foreign governments, including countries such as Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Sudan and Yemen, which were reported to still be using child soldiers.

 

“In short, with a swipe of the pen, the Obama administration has agreed to continue using American taxpayer dollars to provide unrestricted military assistance to governments that have taken, at best, a small step forward toward addressing the problem and remain, overall, profoundly undisciplined,” wrote Rachel Stohl and Sarah Margon at the nonprofit Stimson Center.

Obama Administration Supports Child Soldier Use, Again (by Rachel Stohl and Sarah Margon, Stimson)

For 3rd Straight Year, Obama Waives Penalties on Countries Using Child Soldiers (by Brett Wilkins, Moral Low Ground)

Mali: Islamists Should Free Child Soldiers (Human Rights Watch)

On the Use of Child Soldiers in Mali (The League of Discerning Do-Gooders)

 

Thousands of Egyptian Military Officers Have Trained through the IMET

In the wake of the Egyptian revolution, U.S. military assistance through the IMET program came under scrutiny.

 

For more than three decades, the U.S. provided $1.3 billion annually in military aid to Egypt. This funding allowed thousands of Egyptian officers over the years to visit the United States and take courses at schools such as the Army War College and the National Defense University and be exposes to U.S. military and political ideas, thanks to the IMET.

 

To what that training amounted became a cause for concern after an Egyptian military vehicle ran over a group of pro-democracy demonstrators on the streets of Cairo in 2011.

 

U.S. officials seemed not to worry, claiming the Egyptian military has demonstrated great professionalism, in part because of the U.S. assistance.

U.S.-Funded Democracy Crushers? (by Tara McKelvey, Daily Beast)

U.S. Government Assistance to Egypt (State Department)

 

School of the Americas

Proponents of IMET argue that by providing training to military officials from countries with poor human rights records, the U.S. can influence positive change in these regimes. However, the historical record shows otherwise. In the case of the School of the Americas (SOA), it contributed to human rights abuses suffered by Central and South Americans at the hands of abusive militaries and security apparatus. Many of the most notorious Latin American human rights violators passed through the doors of the SOA, including CPT Eduardo Ernesto Alfonso Avila, who ordered the assassination of El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero (among others), and Maj. Armando Azmitia Melara, who was implicated in several Salvadoran massacres including those at El Mozote and Lake Suchitlan. The non-governmental organization, School of the Americas Watch monitors many of the SOA’s more notorious graduates.

 

The release of training manuals used at the SOA from 1987 until 1991 that “taught tactics that come right of a Soviet gulag” confirmed critics’ concerns of the school. The manuals instructed students on the “neutralization” of “personality targets” that included “governmental officials, political leaders and members of the infrastructure.” Other sections advocated the use of beatings, imprisonment, and the jailing of family members as tools of coercion. Finally, the manuals recommended that government agents view “all the organizations as possible guerilla sympathizers.” The Pentagon later called these sections of the manuals “mistakes” but also absolved those responsible for these sections of any wrongdoing by declaring that since any violations of DoD policies were not deliberate, “further investigation to assess individual responsibility is not required.”

 

Since 1990 the SOA, now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, has required that all courses include a four-hour human rights component, consisting of instruction on the laws of war, democratization and civilian control of the armed forces.  It also added new classes to its curriculum that address the abuses of its alumni, including one on Democratic Sustainment and another on civil-military relations. 

 

The Bush administration justified the expansion of regional US-led military training operations in the post-Cold-War, post-9/11 era with the threat of terrorism and a compelling need to protect national security. During the 2008 Presidential race, candidates Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich promised to close down WHINSEC if elected, while then-Senator Barack Obama hedged, praising Congress for having revised the school’s controversial curriculum but making no commitments regarding the school’s future without further evaluation. As President, Obama has remained largely silent on the matter, while the campaign to close down the School has continued unabated, with critics coming closer to killing funding in the Senate each year. The Institute’s dark legacy seems to be gradually moving consensus against it.

Federation of American Scientists on IMET

Federation of American Scientists on Security Assistance Programs

Trained in the U.S.A. (by Joshua E. Keating, Foreign Policy)

 

Bush Administration Helped Dictators

Concerns about human rights and democracy often take a back seat to immediate strategic interests, as evidenced by President George W. Bush’s strategy of rewarding states that cooperate with the U.S. in its Global War on Terrorism campaign. Under the Bush administration, Pakistan received approximately $2 million in IMET funding in spite of President Pervez Musharraf regime’s poor human rights record and anti-democratic practices, placing it among the most flagrant violators of U.S. security assistance eligibility criteria. The Bush administration elected to waive restrictions on foreign assistance to Pakistan both as a reward for siding with the Americans in their military campaign against the Taliban and to ensure its continued support of U.S. operations in the region. In addition to Pakistan, Central Asian countries that lent support to the U.S. during Operation Enduring Freedom, including Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, were also slated to receive significant IMET assistance, even though all have been accused of human rights violations by the State Department.

 

Another country that received IMET support under the Bush administration was Libya. During the 1980s, the Reagan administration branded Libya’s leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi, a “madman” and his government one of the most dangerous supporters of international terrorism. But beginning in FY 2008, the U.S. allocated $333,000 in IMET funds for Libya because of its “commitment to renouncing weapons of mass destruction; combating the rapidly growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaeda in Libya and the region; and promoting professional, effective law enforcement and military services that respect international norms and practices,” according to the Bush administration’s Foreign Operations Budget (page 524) (pdf). The document adds that the IMET funds will “educate and train Libyan security forces as well as create vital linkages with Libyan officers after a 35-year break in contact,” adding the money will bring “Libyan officers to the United States and expose them to democratic practices and respect for human rights.” Bush proposed an additional $350,000 for Libya in FY 2009, and the Obama administration proposed another $350,000 in FY 2010.

 

According to the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Libya could have used the help in improving its human rights practices. The 2008 report on Libya stated that “the country maintains an extensive security apparatus that includes police and military units, multiple intelligence services, local revolutionary committees, people’s committees, and ‘purification’ committees. The result is a multilayered, pervasive surveillance system that monitors and controls the activities of individuals. The legal basis of security service authority is unclear; citizens have no obvious recourse if they believe security services have exceeded their authority. Frequently cited laws are the 1971 and 1972 ‘Protection of the Revolution’ laws, which criminalize activities based on political principles inconsistent with revolutionary ideology. Although the law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, in practice security services can detain individuals without formal charges and hold them indefinitely without court convictions.”

 

The Libya report added, “Security forces committed serious human rights abuses with impunity” and “regularly enjoyed impunity from criminal acts committed while performing their duties.” Overall, the State Department found “the government’s human rights record remained poor. Reported torture, arbitrary arrest, and incommunicado detention remained problems. The government restricted civil liberties and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. The government did not fully protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Other problems included poor prison conditions; impunity for government officials; lengthy political detention; denial of fair public trial; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions of freedom of religion; corruption and lack of transparency; societal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, and foreign workers; trafficking in persons; and restriction of labor rights.”

 

In reality, Libyan security officers were more likely to use the skills they learned through IMET against Qaddafi’s political opponents than they were against terrorists.

 

A Libyan civil war that commenced in February 2011 was followed by NATO military intervention in March, in support of anti-government rebels. The war officially ended in October, several days after rebel forces captured and killed Qaddafi.

Sweeping Military Aid Under the Anti-Terrorism Rug (Global Issues)

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Suggested Reforms:

Apply Policies to Ethiopia

Members of the U.S. Senate recommended during 2013 budget talks involving the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program that State Department and Pentagon officials work together to curb Ethiopia’s in appropriate use of antiterrorism laws.

 

Senators complained that Ethiopia was manipulating antiterrorism laws to imprison journalists, political opponents and others calling for free and fair elections and basic rights.

 

The State Department and the Defense Department needed to “apply a consistent policy to the Ethiopian military and police, who enforce the government’s repressive policies,” according to a Senate committee document.

 

The committee recommended $103 million for IMET’s total budget for 2013 but didn’t suggest a dollar amount for Ethiopia, citing its concerns about the country’s repressive military policies.

Senate Report 112-172 - Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2013 (Library of Congress)

 

 

GAO Reform Suggestions for the IMET

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found human rights training lacking in IMET programs during a 2011 review. It offered up several recommendations for addressing this problem.

 

GAO auditors noted that IMET students received training to build respect for internationally recognized human rights standards. But the agency also found said training was generally not considered a priority in all of the IMET country training plans that the GAO reviewed.

 

It wrote in its report that “human rights and related concepts were identified as key objectives in only 11 of the 29 country training plans GAO reviewed for IMET participant countries that received low rankings for political and civil freedoms by Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization. Furthermore, 7 of the 12 training managers GAO interviewed from countries that received low to moderate rankings for political and civil freedoms said that human rights was not a priority compared to other IMET objectives.”

 

To help rectify this situation, the GAO recommended that the State Department and the Department of Defense make sure human rights training is a priority in IMET recipient countries with known human rights concerns.

 

It also recommended that the departments take steps to create a system to evaluate the effectiveness of the IMET program.

IMET: Agencies Should Emphasize Human Rights Training and Improve Evaluations (Government Accountability Office)

 

Reform Military Education

A quarter century since Congress adopted the landmark 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which reformed U.S. national defense, the military would be asked to implement changes affecting how officers are educated at war colleges, according to one expert.

 

Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor and former chair of national security affairs at the Naval War College, recommended several ways that the military could improve its teachings, including putting more emphasis on education over training.

 

She suggested that active-duty military officers be the first choice to teach courses on operational warfare, not former officers who haven’t served for years or decades.

 

Johnson-Freese also said the war colleges should cut back on hiring active-duty military faculty who have just retired, unless they are exceptional leaders “who show great future promise.”

 

Another recommendation would put greater emphasis on academic freedom for faculty “to assure that students are challenged by the best minds” at the war colleges.

The Reform of Military Education: Twenty-Five Years Later (by Joan Johnson-Freese, Foreign Policy Research Institute)

 

Increase the IMET Budget to Upgrade Counterterrorism

In order to combat terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda overseas, the United States must have dependable allies with properly trained counterterrorism programs in place, according to one think tank assessment.

 

The group Third Way argued in a 2010 white paper that to ensure America’s partners are capable of denying terrorists a toehold in their countries, U.S. programs like the IMET need to receive more funding.

 

They claimed funding for training programs in countries dealing with terrorist threats has not been sufficient since the September 11 attacks, and that the State Department’s IMET program has not grown sufficiently and, rather, has become too spread out with its goals.

 

This is why the Third Way advocated for Congress and the Obama administration to bolster IMET’s funding for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism work overseas.

 

The think tank also wants lawmakers to order the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, with a budget of $35 million, to be rolled into the IMET and expanded in size.

 

Reforming Foreign Security Training to Help Defeat Terrorism (by Andy Johnson and Scott Payne, Third Way)

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Congressional Oversight:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House Appropriations Committee

 

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Comments

TOUMBA Cherubain 2 months ago
Hello, It's not a comment, but my interest to take advantage to this program, to study in US by international military education and training for my staff college. I am captain in congolese armies forces, from Congo-Brazzaville.
46and2 4 months ago
"...$50 million in FY 2000 to $108 million in FY 2010, a 70% increase..." Wouldn't this be 116% increase? If you start with fifty million and then double it (100% increase) to 100 million then all you have to do is figure out what percentage of 50, 8 is. Which is 16% add the two together to get 116%. Or do I really suck at basic math that badly?

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Founded: 1976
Annual Budget: $102.6 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees:
International Military Education & Training (IMET)
Wieringa, Jeffrey
Former Director
In his capacity as director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Vice Admiral Jeffrey A. Wieringa oversees the International Military Education and Training program. Wieringa was appointed director of DSCA on August 29, 2007. He entered the Naval Service in 1973 through the Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate Program. In 1975, he received a B.S. degree in Physics form Kansas State College. Prior to his appointment, Wieringa served as deputy assistant secretary to the Navy for International Programs and director of the Navy’s International Programs Office. He has served 34 active years in the Navy also serving as chief test pilot and chief engineer for naval aviation. During his active years, he flew 51 different types of aircraft with over 4,000 flight hours and 534 carrier landings. Wieringa also commanded the F/A-18 Program (PMA-265) to support the first combat deployment of the Super Hornet in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 
Official Bio      
 
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