International Military Education and Training

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International Military Education and Training (IMET) is a U.S. Defense Department group that provides military training on a grant basis to students from allied countries. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which provides training for recipients of US military training aid, says the International Military Education and Training program "is a low cost, key funding component of U.S. security assistance that provides training on a grant basis to students from allied and friendly nations. Authority for the IMET program is found pursuant to Chapter 5, part II, Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) 1961. Funding is appropriated from the International Affairs budget of the Department of State. [1]

"International Military Education and Training (IMET) pays for the training or education of foreign military and a limited number of civilian personnel. IMET grants are given to foreign governments, which choose the courses their personnel will attend.

"IMET funding for Latin America was used to send students to approximately 150 U.S. military training institutions throughout the United States. A wide variety of courses for U.S. personnel – some 2,000, including topics ranging from counterintelligence to helicopter repair to military justice systems – qualify for IMET funding. On occasion, IMET-funded programs are conducted in the recipient country by mobile education and training teams, U.S. instructors who go to foreign countries to teach courses to groups of students in their native language.

"Created in 1976, IMET is often considered to be the 'traditional' U.S. military training program. Funded though the foreign aid appropriations process, IMET is overseen by the State Department and implemented by the Defense Department.

"There has been a steady increase in IMET funding in recent years, resulting from a decision by Congress to enhance this program. In 2001, funding for IMET worldwide was $55 million. The President's budget request for 2003 is for $80 million. The number of Latin Americans trained through IMET went from 2,601 in 2001 to a projected 3,168 in 2003. The President's budget request for 2003 explains, 'Increases over FY 2002 levels ... reflect overall U.S. policy interests of military alliance and coalition building as well as buttressing the war on terrorism.'" [2]

Chapter 5 of Part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (P.L. 87-195), as amended, authorizes the IMET program to provide military education and training to foreign military and civilian personnel.

According to Section 541 of the FAA, IMET-funded training is intended:

  • To encourage effective and mutually beneficial relations and increased understanding between the United States and foreign countries in furtherance of the goals of international peace and security;
  • To improve the ability of participating foreign countries to utilize their resources, including defense articles and defense services obtained by them from the United States, with maximum effectiveness, thereby contributing to greater self-reliance by such countries; and
  • To increase the awareness of nationals of foreign countries participating in such activities of basic issues involving internationally recognized human rights.

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