Africa then Middle East Top List of U.S. Military and Police Trainees
According to the U.S. government’s latest foreign military training report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, the United States trained 29,784 military or police personnel from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), significantly more than any other region in the world. By contrast, the United States trained 12,157 personnel from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and 10,043 personnel from Latin America and the Caribbean in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 (see below chart).
The State Department’s annual report titled “Foreign Military Training and DoD Engagement Activities of Interest” covers U.S. military and police training aid as well as training purchased by foreign countries that occurred or was planned to take place in FY 2013. It also lists projected training for FY 2014. Importantly, this report, which can be easily analyzed on our trainees database, includes the number of U.S. trained foreign security forces, the security force units to which the trainees belonged, types of U.S. courses given and location of the training.
Worldwide, the State Department indicates that there were about “64,000 students from 152 countries” that participated in U.S. security training with a total cost of $738 million for FY 2013. This includes both classified and unclassified training.
Of the total 29,784 trainees from SSA in FY 2013, 92 percent (or 26,578) of them received training through the State Department’s Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) program. Although the majority of PKO aid supports peacekeeping operations in places such as Somalia, South Sudan and Mali, these funds also assist African countries with border and maritime security, counterterrorism, infrastructure and security sector reform. The United States also supports the training of peacekeepers through separate funding to the United Nations and African Union, which is not included in the PKO program or the U.S. government's foreign military training report.
The Sub-Sahara African countries receiving the most U.S. security assistance training in FY 2013 were Nigeria (6,264), Uganda (5,579) and Burundi (4,915). The largest increase in the number of trainees from FY 2012 to FY 2013 was Benin (from 225 to 1,856) and Niger (from 19 to 1,442), mostly likely in response to peacekeeping efforts in Mali.
Compared to SSA, the majority of trainees from the Middle East and North Africa received training through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) (with 4,642 trainees) and Section 1004 counter-drug assistance (with 2,455 trainees). Through FMS, individuals from countries such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates pay for training on how to operate or maintain U.S. provided arms and equipment such as missiles, rocket launchers and military vehicles. The top Middle East and North Africa recipients of Section 1004 training included Lebanon (with 2,400 trainees) and Tunisia (with 55 trainees).
In Latin America and the Caribbean, security forces from Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala accounted for the bulk of U.S. trainees for the region, with 4,464 students from Colombia and 2,659 from Mexico. Of the 18 different U.S. security assistance programs that provided training to Latin American and the Caribbean, the Defense Department’s Section 1004 program accounted for the most students (4,924) to the region with the International Military Education and Training program a distant second (1,841). There was also a notable jump from FY 2012 to FY 2013 in the number of U.S. trainees from Honduras (from 290 to 503) and Dominican Republic (from 257 to 455).
Within Central Eurasia alone, the United States significantly increased the number of security force trainees from Kyrgyzstan in FY 2013 (from 345 in FY 2012 to 1,024 in FY 2013). Of the total 1,024 students for Kyrgyzstan, 880 received Section 1004 counter-drug training. Tajikistan was the second largest recipient of U.S. military training with a total of 425 personnel attending various types of instruction ranging from counter-drug to counterterrorism to operating military equipment to peacekeeping and leadership development.
Stay tuned for more blog posts based on information from the State Department’s “Foreign Military Training and DoD Engagement Activities of Interest” report as we continue to delve deeper into this new data.