International Military Education and Training Program

CRS Report for Congress
International Military Education and Training
Richard F. Grimmett
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
This report provides background on the International Military Education and
Training Program (IMET). It discusses the program's main features and purposes,
perspectives of the IMET's supporters and critics, and recent issues surrounding the
program and its implementation. The United States in recent years has trained annually,
on average, over 10,000 students from approximately 130 countries. Formal instruction
under IMET involves over 2,000 courses, nearly all of which are taught in the United
States at approximately 150 military schools and installations. As the size of the United
States foreign assistance program has declined, the IMET program has attracted greater
attention as an instrument for serving broad U.S. foreign policy and national security
interests. At the same time the program, and placement of restrictions on its
participants, has also been an instrument for expressing concerns about the human rights
practices of certain nations that have been IMET program participants. This report will
be revised should major changes occur in the IMET program.
Background: Program Framework And Activities1
The International Military Education and Training program (IMET) was formally
established in 1976 as part of a restructuring of the United States Foreign Military Sales
(FMS) program.2 It had its antecedents in legislation passed in 1949 that created the grant
Military Assistance Program (MAP). IMET, as currently constituted, is intended to be
a low-cost policy program to provide training in U.S. Defense Department schools to
predominantly military students from allied and friendly nations on a grant basis. The

1 Background details on all aspects of the IMET program given throughout this report are based
on information provided by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) of the Department
of Defense, and on various editions of the Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations
prepared each fiscal year by the Department of State.
2 Section 106(a) of PL. 94-329, 90 Stat. 732, added a new Chapter 5, International Military
Education and Training to P.L. 87-195, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

foreign students must speak English and train to U.S. standards, alongside American
military personnel and other foreign students. They are offered courses in military skills
and doctrine, exposed to the U.S. professional military establishment and the American
way of life, including democratic values, respect for internationally recognized human
rights, and the belief in the rule of law.
Students are also exposed to U.S. military procedures and the manner in which the
military functions under civilian control. Through the IMET program, the United States
seeks to influence students who may rise to positions of prominence in foreign
governments, expose foreign students to a professional military in a democratic society,
and professionalize foreign armed forces. It also seeks to strengthen regional
relationships while enhancing the self-defense capabilities of U.S. friends and allies, as
well as enhancing the ability of the U.S. and participant nations to conduct military
operations and peacekeeping activities together. Many nations come to participate in
IMET, in part, to enhance their capabilities to utilize effectively the defense articles and
services they obtain from the United States.
The United States in recent years has annually trained, on average, over 10,000
students from approximately 130 countries through IMET. Formal instruction involves
over 2,000 courses, nearly all of which are taught in the United States at approximately
150 military schools and installations. Other activities utilized to achieve IMET goals
include orientation tours for key senior military and civilian officials, observer training,
and on-the-job training. The United States Coast Guard also provides education and
training in maritime search and rescue, operation and maintenance of aids to navigation,
port security, at-sea law enforcement, international maritime law, and general maritime
Schools Utilized to Accomplish IMET Training.
Senior Service Schools . The Service War Colleges and the National Defense
University's (NDU) National War College programs are attended by U.S. and foreign
senior military and civilian equivalents. These programs focus on service/national
security policy and the politico-military aspects of Service/Defense policies and
programs. The Services and the Joint Staff (for the NDU) annually provide invitations
to the governments of foreign friends and allies, for foreign student participation. The
senior service schools remain a significant element of IMET sponsored training. The
specific schools and their locations are as follows: NDU, Fort McNair, Washington DC;
Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA; Navy War College, Newport, RI; Air War
College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.
Professional Military Education (PME) Programs. The United States
military services offer numerous programs and courses categorized as professional
training. These include Service Command and Staff College programs, basic and
advanced officer training in specialized areas such as finance, ordnance, artillery and
medicine. PME programs and the senior service school programs combined account for
approximately 50% of the annual IMET appropriation. A representative listing of the
schools involved include Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KA;
Army Logistics Management College, Fort Lee, VA; U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort
Benning, GA; Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH.

English Language Training . The majority of IMET sponsored training is
conducted in the United States at Defense Department and U.S. military Service schools,
with U.S. military personnel. Therefore, English language proficiency is required. The
U.S. Defense Department has assigned the English language training mission to the
Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC), located at Lackland Air
Force Base, TX. DLIELC provides resident English language training in state-of-the art
facilities. Additionally, DLIELC conducts English language training surveys to evaluate
foreign government programs and will assign instructors as a "detachment" to the host
country to personally assist in the establishment and maintenance of their English
language training program.
Expanded International Military Education and Training Program (E-
IMET). In 1990, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees initiated a statutory
change based on their view that changing world political-military circumstances
warranted a new direction for the traditional IMET program, one that would bring an
increased emphasis on enhancing the skills and professionalism of both civilian and
military leaders and managers of foreign military establishments. The Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act for FY1991 (H.R. 5114, P.L. 101-513, signed November

5, 1990) directed the Defense Department to establish a program within IMET focused,

in particular, on training foreign civilian and military officials in managing and
administering military establishments and budgets; creating and maintaining effective
military judicial systems and military codes of conduct, including observance of
internationally recognized human rights; and fostering greater respect for the principle
of civilian control of the military. Congress earmarked $1 million of the FY1991 IMET
Appropriation to be used to establish this program. This initiative is called Expanded
IMET, or E-IMET, and each year the Defense Department has broadened the program.
Although Congress did not earmark IMET funds to support this program after FY1991,
it has in report language noted an expectation that the financial investment in E-IMET
be increased. Congress further broadened the program to include participation by
members of national legislatures who are responsible for oversight and management of
the military, and "individuals who are not members of a government." Because E-IMET
is a sub-element of the overall IMET program, it is funded as part of the annual IMET
The E-IMET initiative is accomplished through educational programs in the United
States offered by U.S Defense Department and U.S. military Service schools, by Mobile
Education Teams visiting host countries, and by funding military participation in
overseas conferences, such as the African American Institutes' seminar on "The Role of
the Military in a Democracy" (a joint USAID, World Bank and IMET funded initiative).
Although IMET funding can be used for such an initiative (overseas seminars) under the
auspices of the E-IMET program when such activities are deemed appropriate, the
emphasis and preference is for a longer training experience in the United States that
maximizes the students' exposure to the American way of life.
Programs for Implementing E-IMET. Beginning in FY1991, the Defense
Department launched E-IMET by refining some existing programs and initiating new
courses through the military departments. Further, new educational programs were
established to address the topics of military justice, human rights and civil-military
relations. The bulk of this effort is accomplished through three schools: Defense
Resource Management Institute, Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, CA;

Center for Civil-Military Relations, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA; and the
Naval Justice School, Newport, RI.
Defense Resource Management Institute (DRMI). The Defense Resource
Management Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, CA, was tasked
with meeting the E-IMET criteria to assist recipients establish processes for more
effective defense resources management. DRMI reactivated a two week Mobile
Education Team, which takes the curriculum to the host country, and developed two
resident programs within the U.S. -- the 11-week, mid-level International Defense
Management Course, and the four-week Senior International Defense Management
Course established for flag-rank military and civilian equivalents.
The Naval Justice School . Under Defense Department assistance and
guidance, the Naval Justice School established a program to address the topics of military
justice and human rights. They developed a multi-phased program, comprised of
seminars and resident programs, designed to culminate in the passage of a rewritten
military code by their national legislature. Albania was the first nation to legislate into
effect its rewritten military code in October 1995.
The Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR). The Center for Civil-
Military Relations, located at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey CA, was
established by DOD's Defense Security Assistance Agency to provide a broad range of
innovative graduate level educational programs and research to address the issue of civil-
military relations in a democratic society. This program is first conducted as a one week
seminar, held in the host country, which is attended by ministers, key parliamentarians,
ranking military representatives, and the U.S. Ambassador. It is followed with resident
programs within the United States, to include a one year accelerated graduate degree
program -- the first class of which began in January 1996.
Other E-IMET Programs. All E-IMET approved programs are published in an
annual E-IMET Handbook. The handbook reflects the various programs described above
and others covering such topics as equal opportunity, financial management, and
maritime law. In addition, the E-IMET effort was recently broadened to include
environmental military law and resource management issues.
The Value of IMET: Perspectives of Supporters and Critics. As
worldwide U.S. military assistance funding levels have declined in the post-Cold War
era, the IMET program is viewed by its supporters as a valuable tool in support of
American foreign policy. IMET, and within it, E-IMET, are seen as a low-cost means
of maintaining access to and influencing the military and civilian leaderships of nations
with political traditions less democratic in nature than most Western democracies. By
making professional military training available to U.S. friends and allies, IMET also
enhances the ability of participating countries to make the most of U.S. weaponry they
have obtained from the United States, thereby increasing the self-defense capabilities of
these nations -- and lessening the need for U.S. military forces to be utilized to protect
such nations. Advocates of a strong IMET program believe it should be afforded
increased funding to build on the programs' successes in the past, and to enable IMET to
be extended to more of the emerging nations of the former Soviet Union, while
continuing to provide assistance to traditional clients.

Critics of IMET argue that it is a relic of the high Cold War era and has been, at
best, only marginally successful in advancing United States foreign policy interests.
Indeed, IMET opponents believe that much of the training related to human rights issues
and exposure to American democratic institutions is conducted in a pro forma fashion,
and is, in any event, not taken seriously by many foreign participants. IMET critics argue
that a number of the program's notably effective military elements should be drastically
curtailed, if not totally eliminated, because they enhance the capabilities of anti-
democratic military establishments and associate the United States with their practices.
Should IMET focus almost exclusively on training foreign military and civilian
participants in U.S. democratic values, institutions, and principles of human rights, they
might be prepared to support carefully targeted funding of the program. But in the
absence of a substantial re-direction of the program toward these ends, these opponents
would support a termination of the program.
Current Issues for Congress
Funding Level and Focus. The level of funding for IMET has increased
significantly since FY1995 from $26.35 million to an estimated $91.7 million for
FY2004, while overall foreign assistance program funding has continued to decline. The
recent funding levels represent a restoration of IMET funding to levels more consistent
with those that existed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It also reflects support for
efforts to meet training requirements generated by 29 newly emerging democracies
The Defense Department expects the costs associated with the IMET program to
increase due to inflation, to growing requirements of Central Europe and the Newly
Independent States (NIS), to the increasing popularity of Expanded IMET, and efforts to
maintain existing programs in Africa and Latin America. In addition, since FY1994, the
United States has placed a strict limitation on the amount of technical and high-cost
training in response to an earlier large reduction in IMET funding. Instead emphasis has
been placed on the U.S. military services' senior service school programs, professional
military educational efforts, Expanded IMET and English language training. As a result,
there has been a notable reduction in the proportion of technical training. In FY1995, for
example, technical training represented about 17% of the overall IMET appropriation,
while professional military education programs constituted over 50% of the
appropriation. These facts raise the current issue of whether or not more resources, and
possibly more funds, should be made available for technical training. This issue may
become more acute as the United States attempts to advance its policy goals in NATO
enlargement (which might well require training on NATO interoperable systems), and
in seeking to help IMET participants enhance their ability to assume greater roles in
international peacekeeping operations. However, any decision to provide additional
funding for IMET would mean that those funds could come at the expense of other
programs, given current budgetary constraints.
Human Rights and IMET. In recent years, American concerns with human rights
practices of certain nations that were recipients of United States foreign aid has led to
restrictions or conditions being placed on their participation in the IMET program. In the
case of Indonesia, for example, Congress has required that the President make a number
of certifications about the actions of the Indonesian government before funds can be
provided under the Expanded IMET program. In some cases, the IMET program

represents the major current vehicle for contact between the United States military and
its counterparts in countries with a record of human rights violations or a tradition of
authoritarian or undemocratic governments. As reductions in the United States Foreign
Military Financing program (FMF) continue, IMET is increasingly the remaining military
assistance program that Congress can use to sanction nations it finds to be abusing the
human rights of its people. At the same time, IMET may also be the only instrument
available that might assist in changing the attitudes of military-dominated governments
and lead to a reduction in human rights abuses and greater levels of democratic
government. A current issue, then, is whether using IMET restrictions to sanction
nations with poor human rights records can be an effective means for modifying the
behavior of their governments.3

3 Although the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation shares a number of the
goals of the IMET program, it is an independent entity. For background, see CRS Report
RS20892, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,