U.S. Reduced Foreign Military Training in All Regions Except Latin America in 2014

Latin America and the Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
Central Eurasia

The annual Foreign Military Training Report, recently released by the U.S. State and Defense Departments, reports on “all military training provided to foreign military personnel.” This report is a vital tool to better understanding U.S. efforts in building the partner capacity for foreign militaries. This year’s report highlights the trainings that occurred in 2014.

The total number of trainees last year, 56,346, was a 13.3 percent reduction compared to the 63,872 trainees in 2013. The top five recipients of foreign military training were Burundi (6,244), Colombia (4,969), Uganda (3,589), Mexico (3,213), and Rwanda (2,963). The top five programs, where training was allocated through, were Peacekeeping Operations (16,526), which saw nearly a 70 percent decrease from the previous year, Foreign Military Sales (13,443), Section 1004 Counter-Drug Assistance (7,725), International Military Education and Training (4,645), and Regional Centers for Security Studies (4,100).

Top Five Countries Receiving Foreign Military Training

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: In Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of foreign military personnel receiving U.S. training increased by 20 percent from 12,157 in 2013 to 14,600 in 2014. Colombian and Mexican forces received 56 percent of the training to the region, with 4,969 and 3,213 trainees, making them the top two recipient countries for the seventh consecutive year. Peru had the third most trainees (1,591) in 2014 and experienced a doubling of trainees from the year before, the highest increase in the region.

The Section 1004 Counter-Drug Assistance program trained the most military forces (7,714), followed by the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program with 2,145 trainees. The number of trainees by the Section 1004 program increased by more than 56% from 2013, while the Combating-Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) saw a 63% drop in trainees from the 1,127 trained in 2013.

Top Five Foreign Military Training Programs in Latin America

AFRICA: The top five recipients of training in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 were Burundi (6,244), Uganda (3,589), Rwanda (2,963), Benin (1,990), and Ghana (1,033). The top five programs in 2014 were Peacekeeping Operations (PKO), Section 1206 Train and Equip, Foreign Military Sales (FMS), IMET, and Regional Centers for Security Studies. PKO received far more trainees than any of the other programs with 15,920 trainees, while Section 1206, the second most prevalent program in Africa, trained 2,105 trainees.

PKO training has provided the most trainees since 2006 and for all five of the largest recipient countries, PKO makes up the majority of the training.

Top Foreign Military Training Programs for Africa in 2014

CENTRAL EURASIA: The top five recipient countries from Central Eurasia for 2014 were Georgia (441), Kyrgyzstan (358), Kazakhstan (275), Uzbekistan (127), and Tajikistan (119). Of these, Georgia and Uzbekistan were the only countries to receive an increase from the previous year, while Kyrgyzstan’s number of trainees decreased significantly in 2014 from the previous year. Regional Centers for Security Studies (560), FMS (537), CTFP (193), IMET (109), and PKO (52) were the top five programs for the year.

In a ten-year span from 2004 to 2014 the number of trainees to the region remained relatively consistent until a large spike in 2010 where the overall trainees reached 5,155. The increase was a result of a spike to Georgia in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) trainings. Georgia received more trainees, 3,647, in that one year than the rest of the countries did combined in any other year.

The 2010 report explains that Georgia received the funding to, “support defense reform and modernization efforts with a focus on developing transparent, NATO-interoperable defense institutions and support systems,” and to “enhance interoperability and support Georgia’s expeditionary capabilities to promote continued participation in coalition operations.”

Effect of Foreign Military Sales on Foreign Military Training

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: The region witnessed a 22.4% decrease in the total number of trainees in 2014. Personnel receiving U.S. training fell from 10,157 in 2013 to 7,880 in 2014. The drop marks the end of a 36 percent increase over the period from 2011-2013 which saw total trainees in the region rise from 6,451 to 10,157.

The Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates received the most training with 2,510 and 943 trainees, followed by Egypt with 736 trainees. The Lebanese military largely accounts for the regional drop off from 2013-2014 as the number of trainees fell by 76 percent from 2,864 to 678.

Close to two-thirds (5,283 trainees) of the trainees in MENA were trained under the FMS program, followed by the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program with 722 trainees. The Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program saw the greatest drop off in 2014, decreasing by 39 percent from 561 in 2013 to 341 in 2014 despite the increased focus on counterterrorism efforts in the region. 

Top Five Foreign Military Training Programs in MENA