Prospective IMET students are selected with an eye to how those individuals may support the U.S. in coalition or allied international operations in the future whether such military operations take place within a couple years or decades later. All IMET stakeholders – Geographic Combatant Commands (GCC), military departments and Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) staffs, the State Department, U.S. Ambassadors, and their Security Cooperation Organizations (SCO) – take a forward-looking view of the students who receive the IMET funding. The U.S. is searching for long-term relationships and a return-on-investment from education and training offered.
“The U.S. and IMET funded IMSs who go through the PME courses are at similar stages in their careers. Many IMSs return to leadership roles back in their own countries, while the U.S students they met here are also assuming leadership roles in our military,” BPC Division Chief Jim McGaughey said. “The goal is to encourage those relationships to continue to develop over the remainder of their careers.”
The State Department and DSCA actively use IMET and other programs to build alumni networks to maintain relationships with them. The relationships extend to friendships made with American military students while attending IMET courses in the U.S. Such friendships can prove invaluable, allowing U.S. military officers to reach out personally to individuals they formed bonds with via IMET.
Judkins adds that DSCA also has a system through which Security Cooperation Officers (SCO) can update information for ex-IMET students, following their progress within their military after they participate in the program. The Security Assistance Network (SAN) is both a database and communications network that provides the SCOs and others in the SC community access to financial and logistics management systems, information via various bulletin boards, and a library system for large files.
The SAN is a useful interface for a variety of stakeholders including local SCO and GCCs officers who use it for a variety of purposes, from viewing remarks entered regarding IMET selections and progress to viewing current status of students.
Each prospective IMET student is vetted to ensure he or she possesses the requisite security clearance and skills to succeed in the program and has not been involved in human rights violations.
How are candidates selected? The process begins with the State Department, which considers a broad strategic picture in determining which countries it will admit to IMET and how many positions will be allotted to each benefiting country.
Once these decisions have been made, U.S. SCOs in a particular country work with the GCC and representatives of that nation’s armed forces to identify or receive nominations for individuals. Each prospective IMET student is vetted to ensure he or she possesses the requisite security clearance and skills to succeed in the program and has not been involved in human rights violations.
Among those recently selected is Col. Raymundo Acorda of the Philippine army infantry. Acorda was made aware of the IMET program by Philippine army personnel officers who regularly distribute information about IMET to service personnel. The Philippine army’s official website also includes a listing of available foreign courses that include IMET offerings along with education and training available from American allies like Australia, and United Nations offerings.
“I applied for the IMET program, then through the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] Training and Education deliberation board they considered [my application] based on their prescribed standards and criteria,” Acorda said.
Once nominated by the AFP Training and Education deliberation board, the colonel was vetted by the SCO for the U.S. Security Assistance Organization in the Philippines, the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group to the Republic of the Philippines (JUSMAGPHIL).