Joint Combined Exchange Training


Joint Combined Exchange Training

Joint Combined Exchange Training or JCET programs are exercises designed to provide training opportunities for American Special Forces who are stationed outside of the United States by holding the training exercises in countries that the forces may one day have to operate in, as well as providing training opportunities for the armed forces of the host countries. Typically, each JCET program involved 10–40 American special forces personnel, though can sometimes involved up to 100 [Lt. Col. Ralph E. "Butch" Saner, Jr, "Joint / Combined Exchange Training Program (JCET" [http://www.specialoperations.com/Focus/jcet.html article] retrieved on March 14 2007] . The United States Congress permitted the use of funds from the military budget to be used in overseas training such as JCET's in 1991, providing that the Secretary of Defence submits to Congress annually a report on overseas training activities.

Begun in the 1970s, JCET programs were expanded in 1988 to Belgium, Denmark, West Germany and Italy. A Pentagon report from 1997, the year of a JCET in Equatorial Guinea, stated that a JCET program "involves small deployments of special operations personnel—sometimes fewer than a dozen troops—that conduct exercises jointly with foreign security forces to train the participants in a variety of areas that 'sharpen critical SOF mission essential task list... skills and enhance host-nation skills." [1997 Pentagon report.In order for the program to be labeled a JCET, the nation to which the special operations personnel were deployed to must receive at least 55% of the training. ] In 1997, there were 101 JCET programs operating worldwide, with 95 operating in 1998 [Lt. Col. Ralph E. "Butch" Saner, Jr, "Joint / Combined Exchange Training Program (JCET" [http://www.specialoperations.com/Focus/jcet.html article] retrieved on March 14 2007.] .

From 30 May to 30 June 2006, a JCET program was conducted by the U.S. military involving Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia ["Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) of U.S., Albanian, Croatian, and Macedonian Armed Forces" (May 30, 2006) at the [http://tirana.usembassy.gov/06pr_0530.html U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania] retrieved on March 14 2007.] . The course involved classes on "leadership and planning, rifle marksmanship and drilling techniques, close quarter battle and military operations in urban environments, small unit tactics, basic individual troop-leading procedures, and collective war fighting skills" ["Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) of U.S., Albanian, Croatian, and Macedonian Armed Forces" (May 30, 2006) at the [http://tirana.usembassy.gov/06pr_0530.html U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania] retrieved on March 14 2007.] , with over 100 American personnel taking part.

Flintlocks

Elements of the 1st, 3rd or 5th Special Forces Group conduct JCET programs twice a year in Africa. Designed to give the special forces experience of fighting on the continent, these JCET programs are known as Flintlocks and vary from search and rescue exercises, disaster management, or combat life saving ["Flintlocks" at [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/flintlock.htm GlobalSecurity] retrieved on March 14 2007.] . The funding for these programs is provided by the Department of Defense, with the locale being decided by Special Operations Command.

Flintlock exercises provide an integral part of a Special Forces groups' annual training program. The program is designed to increase the strength of the host nation. The SFODA will provide over 60% of the training and usually receive 40% back in country specific training. The 1999 Flintlock exercise being held in the African country of Cote d'Ivoire, with the projects running to a total cost of $63,000 ["Flintlocks" at [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/flintlock.htm GlobalSecurity] retrieved on March 14 2007] . The 2003 Flintlock, held in South Africa, had a total cost of $80,000.

Flintlock 2005 ran from June 6 until June 26, having been planned since 2004 in North and West Africa, specifically Algeria, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad, with forces from Europe, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) taking part. The primary aim of the training operation was to increase the capability of African forces to halt the trade in illicit weaponry, anti-terrorism, illegal goods and human trafficking, improving command, control and communications, marksmanship, medical skills and human rights knowledge.

Controversy

There is, however, concern that forces trained by American Special Forces go on to use their new skills to commit war crimes in their home countries and would pose a threat to the stability of the regions. Unlike other US military operations, there is no screening of foreign participants prior to their involvement with JCET programs, therefore JCET are thought to provide military assistance the groups who would otherwise not qualify for aid due to their human rights records in accordance with the foreign aid appropriations bill.

There is concern that, as one of the directives of the 1998 Special Operations Forces Posture Statement indicates, the JCET's encourage the training of paramilitary forces to help combat lawlessness and insurgency, however there are fears that these forces could destabilise the local governments. One report on the subject states that "Militaries strengthened by the United States could end up toppling the very democratic governments that American policy makers want to keep in power." [John Rudy and Ivan Eland, "Special Operations Military Training Abroad and Its Dangers", Cato Institute, June 22, 1999]

Particular scrutiny has been leveled at JCETs in Colombia and Indonesia (East Timor especially), the latter in particular as there exists a ban on all other military assistance to the region, and JCETs are the only permitted contact between US and indigenous forces [East Timor news [http://www.etan.org/news/news1/houseban.htm article] retrieved on March 14 2007] as all other training programs are not permitted on order of the United States House of Representatives.

There are also concerns about full disclosure of JCET activities to the U.S. Government from the armed forces, as the current reports to Congress (known as the Section 2011 report) [The Centre for International Policy [http://www.ciponline.org/facts/fore99.htm Just the facts: A civilian's guide to U.S. defense and security assistance to Latin American and the Caribbean] retrieved on March 14 2007 ] are not required to mention JCET programs relating to counter-narcotic or anti-terrorism activities, however these form a large part of the worldwide JCET program, particularly in Latin America. There are also concerns that the report is incomplete due to problems with the definition of Joint Combined Exchange Training programs.

References


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