Security Assistance:

Observations on the International Military Education and Training Program

NSIAD-90-215BR: Published: Jun 14, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1990.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program to determine whether the Departments of State and Defense: (1) complied with program policies and procedures; and (2) met the U.S. foreign policy objective of exposing IMET trainees to U.S. values, including human rights.

GAO found that IMET program management lacked: (1) procedures for reviewing new training requirements added after programs were approved at training workshops; (2) a system for evaluating the program's success; (3) guidelines for monitoring the use of IMET graduates; and (4) the ability to ensure that IMET funds were efficiently and effectively used. GAO also found that U.S. and foreign military officials agreed that the IMET program was valuable because it: (1) enhanced the military-to-military relationship needed to address U.S. foreign policy objectives; (2) provided reciprocal training to U.S. personnel and promoted democratization; (3) provided weapon system sales opportunities for U.S. industry; (4) improved the overall professionalism of the recipient nation's military; and (5) enhanced understanding of U.S. military doctrine and technology.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DSAA has given increased management attention to IMET program changes initiated at the Security Assistance Training Program workshops and subsequent changes made during the program year. For example, subsequent program changes are reviewed by DSAA and the Unified Command and any inconsistencies are questioned and resolved.

    Recommendation: To further improve the management of the IMET Program, the Secretary of Defense should consider requiring the Director, Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), to develop procedures for reviewing and approving training requirements that are added after programs have been approved at the annual workshops.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DSAA, the Unified Command, and the military departments have developed additional guidance for the security assistance organizations to follow in monitoring the use of IMET graduates.

    Recommendation: To further improve the management of the IMET Program, the Secretary of Defense should consider requiring the Director, DSAA, to coordinate with unified commands in developing guidelines that specify how security assistance organizations should monitor the use of IMET graduates. Those guidelines should, at a minimum, require the organizations to periodically verify how countries use IMET graduates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Responding to GAO's recommendation, DSAA funded and TRADOC evaluated the effectiveness of IMET in the Republic of Korea. The Korea evaluation was the first phase of a broader effort to develop a process for measuring IMET program effectiveness. Agency officials said further efforts to develop a system to evaluate effectiveness were delayed indefinitely due to lack of funding. However, both DOD and the Department of State have issued instructions requiring in-country teams to assess training goals, assess the effectiveness of defense training, and gather data to evaluate the effectiveness of IMET. For example, data are required on (1) the use of IMET graduates, (2) evidence of the training program's contributions to IMET and expanded IMET goals, and (3) the host nation's strengths and weaknesses. Further, in-country teams were asked to propose criteria and standards of measurement for program effectiveness.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Defense and State should coordinate in designing a system that will enable them to periodically evaluate the success of the IMET Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Responding to GAO's reocmmendation, DSAA funded and TRADOC evaluated the effectiveness of IMET in the Republic of Korea. The Korea evaluation was the first phase of a broader effort to develop a process for measuring IMET program effectiveness. Agency officials said further efforts to develop a system to evaluate effectiveness were delayed indefinitely due to lack of funding. However, both DOD and the Department of State have issued instructions requiring in-country teams to assess training goals, assess the effectiveness of defense training, and gather data to evaluate the effectiveness of IMET. For example, data are required on (1) the use of IMET graduates, (2) evidence of the training program's contributions to IMET and expanded IMET goals, and (3) the host nation's strengths and weaknesses. Further, in-coutnry teams were asked to propose criteria and standards of measurement for program effectiveness.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Defense and State should coordinate in designing a system that will enable them to periodically evaluate the success of the IMET Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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