Military education and training.
Several years ago, an international student at the U.S. Air Force Squadron Officer School asked how the United States benefited from providing his international military education. We said then, and would do so again today, the U.S. military education and training programs provide numerous benefits.
* There is the benefit of comradeship that American and international students develop setting the foundation for future contacts once students assume positions of power and influence within their respective militaries and government agencies.
* U.S. personnel and their international counterparts also gain valuable knowledge about and exposure to each other's cultures and military environments as a result of their shared educational experiences. Such knowledge is key to building the cooperation needed to prosecute the Global War on Terrorism.
* Training is often connected to the procurement and maintenance of future weapons systems. Here the concept of interoperability is critical, as allies must increasingly work with the same or very similar, compatible equipment. Training replicates the same requirements that will be used later in the field.
The U.S. military services offer a variety of technical training and professional military education programs as well as graduate studies and specialized education and training programs. Many of these programs are open to the international military community as well as civilian leadership within foreign governments and non-governmental organizations. In fiscal year 2003, according to the annual Foreign Military Training Joint Report to Congress:</p> <pre> About 69,500 individuals from 158 countries participated in 18,487 different events worth a total value of approximately $491 million. </pre> <p>These figures cover resident and non-resident programs within the Department of Defense's service schools, including those at such regional centers as the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany.
Many of these courses invite foreign participants to join their U.S. counterparts; others are designed specifically for international officials. All course offerings stem from several basic principles. A great deal of training is offered in connection with the sale of U.S. equipment. For instance, training for pilots, jet engine mechanics, and logistical and other support personnel often accompanies the sale of aircraft to another country. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all allocate and monitor the training of international students within their areas of operation. Professional Military Education (PME) is conducted primarily through resident courses. This involves officer programs at each of the service war and staff colleges as well as noncommissioned officer (NCO) courses at training institutions for NCOs.
Non-resident courses are offered to fulfill country-specific education and training requirements. Schools send Mobile Education Teams (METs) or Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) to provide large-scale training. Sending a small number of U.S. instructors to a country costs less than bringing a large number of international students to the United States. The Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management (DISAM) provides instruction abroad in the mechanisms and use of international military training (IMT) , foreign military sales (FMS), and other security assistance programs that benefit a country. The Defense Institute for Medical Operations in San Antonio, Texas, conducts courses dealing with disaster response, medical first responders, and healthcare resource management. Specialized areas of graduate studies and continuing education offered by the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Other specialized technical training may even be contracted out to private companies, especially when it deals with equipment the United States no longer is using. Looking to the future, computer-based training (CBT) and advanced distributed learning (ADL) are expected to be integrated into international training and education programs, posing additional policy, technology, and language challenges.
The combatant commands are responsible for U.S. military operations and interests in a particular region of the world and hold an annual Training Program Management Review in the spring to consider the training requirements for each country within its respective area of responsibility for the upcoming U.S. fiscal year (which begins October 1). Each military service is represented at the review, as are the the Department of State, DSCA, and agencies with training oversight from the combatant commands.
Since most instruction is conducted in English, an English Comprehension Level (ECL) test score may be required of a student. The individual school establishes the required ECL score, and the test is composed and maintained by the Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC) at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. It is administered by DLIELC to their resident students bound for further training in the U.S. as well as by Security Assistance Officers (SAOs) in host countries to their prospective students. In-country administration determines the requirement for a student to attend a DLI resident English course. Many students do not attend resident language training at DLIELC.
Some courses are conducted in Spanish at the following schools:
* Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning Georgia;
* The Inter-American Air Forces Academy at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; and
* The Navy Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School at the Stennis Space Center, Gulfport, Mississippi.
The Defense Language Institute provides materials for the American Language Course that may be purchased and used in-country for personnel preparing to attend schools in the United States. As mentioned earlier, the school also has a resident course designed to bring students to the appropriate level needed to take subsequent courses. In addition, the Defense Language Institute has a course designed to teach international personnel how to teach English. Included are courses to enhance specialized knowledge of terminology pertaining to aviation, or to prepare students to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a requirement for graduate studies programs.
Any country, unless otherwise prohibited from involvement in U.S. programs, can use its own defense budget funds to pay for education or training. FMS, under the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, covers the sale of defense articles, services, and training to eligible foreign governments and international organizations.
For developing nations, grant funds allocated by the U.S. government provide additional education opportunities. There are two primary grant programs that can be used for education and training. One is International Military Education and Training (IMET), created in 1976. IMET funding has grown in recent years, almost doubling from approximately fifty million dollars in the late 1990s to more than ninety million dollars in fiscal year 2004, and spread among approximately 130 countries.
Expanded International Military Education and Training (E-IMET) is a subcategory within IMET focuses funding on training programs for military and civilian personnel to promote responsible defense resource management, foster respect and understanding for civilian control of the military, and improve military justice systems and procedures in accordance with internationally recognized standards for human rights. A key ingredient of Expanded IMET is its inclusion of non-ministry of defense officials as well as representatives of non-government organizations from other countries. Previously, there was no authorization for these two categories of personnel to attend U.S. courses sponsored by the Department of Defense.
An additional major program is FMF, whose dollars are allocated to fewer countries, and in more varying amounts, than those of IMET. Additionally, programs such as the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Program, the Counter-Terrorism Fellowship Program, the Aviation Leadership Program, and various agreements in effect with the U.S. Coast Guard provide training funds. The Department of Defense and Department of State have made long-term commitments to these military education and training programs, and are dedicated to their success.
Dr. Ronald H. Reynolds is Commandant of the U.S. Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Charles E. Collins Jr., is associate professor in the Directorate of International Studies at the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.