Thailand and the Philippines

Case Studies in U.S. IMET Training and Its Role in Internal Defense and Development

by Jennifer Taw

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This report summarizes the research conducted in a project entitled "The Effectiveness of U.S. Military Training Activities in Promoting Internal Defense and Development in the Third World." It presents the results of two case studies in which the role of U.S. international military education and training (IMET) in foreign internal defense and development (IDAD) is assessed, as well as more general observations regarding IMET's role in IDAD. The report concludes that IMET is an inexpensive means of exposing foreign militaries to the U.S. political system and military culture and, although such exposure may not translate into direct influence, it can provide a common language for negotiations (literally and figuratively). The role of IMET in promoting IDAD, however, is limited as well as controversial. A more direct approach is the relatively new expanded-IMET (IMET-E) program, which provides education and training to foreign military and civilian personnel in the basic elements of democratic reform and human rights. Unfortunately, nations must pay for IMET-E courses out of their general IMET allocations, which are small and, in many cases, being reduced. This may breed resentment and frustration among recipient nations and their militaries (thus to some extent obviating the positive political effects), and will further burden the small budget of the IMET program. IMET and IMET-E therefore should both receive adequate funding, especially given the relatively few dollars required.

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