International Military Education and Training (IMET) is the title of a United States security assistance programme, a type of student exchange programme.
Congress established the IMET programme in the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (Pub. L. No. 94-329, 30 June 1976), which amended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (Pub. L. No. 87-195, 04 September 1961). The policies underlying this program are directed by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and the constituent projects are administered by the United States Department of Defence.
The mission of the IMET is to enhance regional stability through mutually beneficial military-to-military relations.
Projects under the programme include, but are not limited to, invitations for officers from foreign countries to attend various military schools in the United States, such as the US Army War College or the National Defence University, as well as providing funding for trainers to travel to foreign countries to provide specific, localised training. Topics of instruction are varied and range from English language classes to familiarisation training with human rights concepts and the law of war. A complete list of topics varies by year, and may encompass several hundred distinct courses.
In December 2019, the Department of Defence had 5,181 foreign students from 153 countries for security training. Saudi Arabia was restricted due to the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting. Pakistan was reinstated into the programme, following its suspension in August 2018 as part of the Trump administration’s pressure to have it crack down on Islamist militants.
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