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Why International Military Education and Training? Cooperation training helps Operation Iraqi Freedom partners.

Training is the foundation on which all modern militaries are built. The importance of good professional military education and training is most appreciated during times of conflict. Soldiers from El Salvador understand its value, and their participation in International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs is making a difference. Since August 2003 the country has deployed more than 1,800 troops in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Salvadoran Armed Forces (ESAF) consist of approximately 12,500 soldiers. Since 1995, under the IMET program, 1,726 ESAF members have received some form of U.S. military training. Half of the officers and a quarter of the non-commissioned officers from El Salvador's latest deployment to Iraq were trained by the United States.

Last year 2004, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld pinned the Bronze Star Medal on six members of the Cuscatlan Battalion for heroism under fire in Iraq. Their efforts saved the lives of six Coalition Provisional authority workers who were ambushed during a convoy.

ESAF also buys United States military training through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Recently El Salvador implemented a training case for ESAF members to attend a HMMWV driver's obstacle course designed to hone their driving skills before their next deployment to Iraq.

El Salvador is a democratic country with a historically close relationship with the United States; overall relations have flourished with the civilian government since the end of the country's twelveyear civil war in 1991.

Training is geared towards professional military education programs designed to sustain the dramatic improvements in civil-military relations. Officer training at all levels, including command and staff colleges, and courses in civil-military relations and democratic sustainment reinforces the principles of civilian control of the military and respect for human rights.

International military education and training and foreign military financing funded training in counternarcotics operations, resource management, logistics, and equipment maintenance provides the tools to professionalize and modernize the Salvadoran military. This training also encourages the ESAF to continue its cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics efforts.

During OIF deployments, the ESAF participated in over 0 reconstruction projects involving schools, clinics, bridges and polling stations valued at over $4.6 million. U.S. military training funded by IMET and other programs are at the forefront of the coalition building equation by providing the means to create military-to-military relationships.

Supporters of IMET understand that coalition building does not happen overnight; it is an ongoing process the results of which sometimes takes years to develop. Friends and allies trained through these programs understand the way the U.S. does business. They become familiar with U.S. military language, doctrine, and principles, all key elements when working together.
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Author:Ibarra, Jose
Publication:DISAM Journal
Date:Sep 22, 2005
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