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Security Assistance Training Field Activity

The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command executes the Army Security Assistance Training Program through the Security Assistance Training Directorate (SATD). SATD, a directorate within the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Training, is made up of the Security Assistance Training Field Activity (SATFA), and the Security Assistance Training Management Organization (SATMO). SATFA, located at Fort Monroe, Virginia, manages the Army Security Assistance Training Program within the continental United States, ensuring that international military students (IMS) receive training consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives. These include assisting students in becoming familiar with the American way of life, democratic values, belief in the rule of law, and respect for human rights. SATMO, located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, deploys teams worldwide in support of Security Assistance missions and U.S. Foreign Policy.

The term "security assistance" applies to a range of programs through which the U.S. helps other nations defend and preserve their national security. It includes grant and sales programs of military equipment and training, as well as other programs such as Peacekeeping Operations. The Department of State (DOS) is the program manager for security assistance, while the Department of Defense (DOD) implements the program. DOS and DOD share responsibilities, along with foreign military officials, for planning, development, and execution of training programs. Congress continuously exercises legislative and oversight responsibilities in all security assistance matters, including training.

The Security Assistance Training Program is a vital element of U.S. foreign policy, enabling our country to establish valuable friendships and channels of communication with foreign governments and military forces to promote democratic principles throughout the world. Security assistance training has become a key element in every Regional Commander in Chief's Theater Engagement Plan (TEP). The U.S. National Security Strategy (December 1999) states: The U.S. military plays a crucial role in shaping the international security environment in ways that protect and promote U.S. interests. Through overseas presence and peacetime engagement activities such as defense cooperation, security assistance, and training and exercises with allies and friends, our armed forces help to deter aggression and coercion, build coalitions, promote regional stability, and serve as role models for militaries in emerging democracies.

Security Assistance Training is conducted in both the U.S. and overseas. International Military Students (IMS) from 134 countries train alongside American soldiers at military installations across the U.S. In addition, U.S. training teams teach foreign military personnel in over 40 countries annually.

The U.S. has been involved with security assistance since the Revolutionary War, though at that time we were receiving rather than providing it. Security assistance as we know it today began with President Truman's address to Congress in March, 1947, in which he said, "I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures." Presidential initiatives and congressional legislation since 1947 have supported this concept. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act authorize this training.

In 1949 Congress authorized the grant Military Assistance Program and the cash Foreign Military Sales program, and the U.S. began training military personnel from several foreign countries, most of them in Europe. The emphasis of those 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 International Military Education and Training (IMET) grant program was established in 1976 to provide professional, leadership and management training for senior military leaders and selected junior and mid­grade officers with leadership potential. For fiscal year 2001 Congress appropriated $55 million apportioned among more than 100 countries for the IMET program. Approximately one­third of these funds are to be expended on Army training. IMET and its predecessor grant programs have trained over 500,000 students in the past 50 years. Thousands of former IMET students have reached positions of prominence in their countries' military and civilian sectors. These well­trained, professional leaders with a first­hand knowledge of America have made a difference in winning access and influence for both our diplomatic and military representatives in foreign countries.

The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, in which countries pay for their own training, enables friendly countries to learn operation, maintenance and management of the sophisticated equipment they purchase from the U.S. Approximately 60% of the IMS trained by the Army during the last 10 years were trained under the FMS program.

As world conditions change, security assistance training changes also. In the fiscal year 1991 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, Congress earmarked $1 million of the IMET funds for training foreign civilian and military officials in four areas. These include 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 program has come to be called the Expanded IMET (EIMET) program because of the inclusion of foreign civilian officials. EIMET is based upon the premise that active promotion of democratic values is 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, as well as existing courses that focus on EIMET goals.

The President, Congress, and the American people are concerned about aiding emerging democracies in coping with domestic threats from terrorists and narcotics traffickers as well as developing good civil­military relations. Encouraging respect for internationally accepted human rights is a key element throughout the Security Assistance Training Program today.

The U.S. military departments (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) and the U.S. Coast Guard offer more than 2000 courses at over 150 military schools throughout the U.S. and abroad. IMS generally receive professional military training in the same courses with U.S. soldiers. Technical training, usually associated with a particular weapon system, is sometimes conducted in all­international classes. Most classes are conducted in English, the major exceptions being Spanish language classes at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, Georgia and aviation-related courses at Fort Rucker, Alabama and Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Nearly 8000 IMS were trained in U.S. Army schools in fiscal year 2000. Students participated in several types of formal training including officer and noncommissioned officer professional military education, flight training and technical training. IMS also participated in orientation tours, on­the­job/qualification training, and observer training.

IMS sit side by side in regular Army classes and also in classes conducted by the National Guard. Distance learning is a reality for international and U.S. students alike, and will become more important in the future. New courses are being developed to meet the needs of military personnel who are now expected to be peacekeepers and negotiators as well as warriors. The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation fosters hemispheric understanding and cooperation through courses like peace operations and humanitarian demining.

Security Assistance Teams (SAT's) provide advice, training or technical support on equipment, technology, doctrine, or weapons to countries throughout the world. Team members may be CONUS based U.S. Army soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, and/or contractors. Many of the training needs are long term, with the soldiers assigned for one to two years, while short term requirements are met with temporary duty teams. SATMO, SATFA and Security Assistance Organizations in the various countries are all key players in planning and implementing this training. The process is continuous and the timeline from request to deployment varies from 6-18 months, depending upon the type and composition of the team.

Foreign country officials select the students for training in the U.S. The U.S. government, however, determines which countries are eligible to send students to various kinds of training and also determines the level of aid for IMET students. Congress, the State Department, and the Department of Defense all have roles in security assistance training. The State Department, in accordance with the national security policies developed by the President, determines whether IMET/EIMET programs would further U.S. political and national security interests in particular foreign countries and recommends to Congress how much should be spent. Congress reviews these proposals and provides funds for approved IMET/EIMET programs. The State Department, in consultation with Congress, also determines which countries will be allowed to purchase particular equipment and training under FMS.

Officials from the U.S. State Department work with foreign governments, and representatives from the Defense Department work with foreign military personnel to develop training programs that are consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives and useful to the country concerned. Programs must be within the funding levels set by Congress if U.S. money is involved. The Security Assistance Organization in each country, under the direction and supervision of the U.S. ambassador, works with representatives from each of the military services to ensure that training programs are consistent with Department of Defense regulations.

Students selected for training in the U.S. must have the same qualifications as their U.S. peers. Students must understand and speak English to participate in most Security Assistance Training. Friendships that develop between IMS and their classmates often endure for years and contribute to the understanding and rapport between our Army and those of other countries.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:36:56 ZULU