Security Assistance:

Observations on Post-Cold War Program Changes

NSIAD-92-248: Published: Sep 30, 1992. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. security assistance programs, focusing on: (1) the programs' purposes and goals; (2) changes in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program; (3) human rights training and violations; and (4) the impact on military personnel's careers of being assigned to security assistance organizations.

GAO found that: (1) the programs' emphasis has shifted from responding to perceived threats to supporting emerging democracies, due to changes in the world's political structure; (2) the Gulf War and international drug trafficking show that threats to vital U.S. interests have continued, and coalition building remains an essential objective; (3) the major recipients of security assistance during the Cold War continue to receive the bulk of funding; (4) the Department of Defense (DOD) developed an initiative to focus IMET program training on civilian control over the military, defense resources management, military justice systems, and human rights education; (5) both host country and U.S. officials believe IMET training has taught civilian and military personnel how to interact, and thus increased their cooperation and understanding; (6) while the United States funds military civil action projects to promote infrastructure and improve living conditions, some host countries sponsor such projects without U.S. involvement; (7) only one school with the IMET program teaches a civil action course; (8) most students receive technical training and little human rights awareness training; and (9) DOD has increased its emphasis on developing military justice/human rights training courses, but has no system for monitoring the effectiveness of such training. GAO also found that: (1) each military service has its own selection and promotion process for personnel assigned to security assistance organizations, with the Army and the Marine Corps having specific programs; and (2) except for the Army, an officer's career advancement was not helped by a security assistance assignment.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DSAA funded and the Army Training and Doctrine Command evaluated the effectiveness of IMET in the Republic of Korea. This was the first phase of a broader effort to develop a process for measuring the effectiveness of the IMET program. Agency officials said further efforts to develop a system to evaluate effectiveness were delayed indefinitely due to lack of funding. However, DOD's revised Security Assistance Management Manual dated May 10, 1994, and the Department of State's June 1994 revised guidance on annual training plans requires an annual assessment of training goals and effectiveness of the training program. Security assistance officers have been instructed to include evaluation data in annual 2-year training plans.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), to complete the implementation of a mechanism to evaluate the Expanded IMET program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The revised Security Assistance Management Manual, dated May 10, 1994, has been issued. Chapter 10, which covers IMET and expanded IMET training and education, was completely revised and emphasizes human rights. Further, in August 1994, DSAA issued a revised Information Program (IP) Handbook with specific objectives, guidelines, and lesson plans for IMET students on human rights training.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DSAA, to revise the Security Assistance Management Manual to reflect the language in the Foreign Assistance Act concerning human rights awareness training to international students.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DSAA issued a revised Security Assistance Management Manual in May 1994. Chapter 10 of the revised manual includes language on human rights awareness training.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DSAA, to develop programs that will make more specific human rights training available to international students.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An effort was started to develop a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of human rights training. DSAA funded and the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) evaluated the effectiveness of training in the Republic of Korea. Korea was the first IMET effectiveness evaluation effort in a broader effort to develop a process for measuring the effectiveness of the IMET program, including human rights training. Agency officials said that further efforts to evaluate program effeciveness have been delayed indefinitely because of a lack of funding. Also, in June 1994 the Department of State revised its guidance on annual training goals and effectiveness of the training program, including human rights.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DSAA, to continue efforts to develop a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of the human rights awareness training, as part of the evaluation system for IMET.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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