That stands for Foreign Military Training. Since 9/11, we have spent more than $250 billion training foreign military and police personnel in a variety of programs, such as International Military Education Training (IMET) and CTFP (Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program). Year after year, we train 200,000, from 154 countries, of these soldiers and security officers.
Sometimes the training doesn't work out too well. According to official U.S. government documents, at least 17 high-ranking foreigners -- including five generals -- trained through IMET between 1985 and 2010 were later accused and in some cases convicted of criminal and human rights abuses. An open-source study by the non-profit Center for International Policy found another 33 U.S.-trained foreign military officers who later committed human rights abuses.
There have been 275 military-backed coups worldwide between 1970 and 2009. In 165 (60%) of them, members of that country’s armed forces had received some IMET training the year before the coup. They succeeded in overthrowing their governments in 72 (43%) of the 165 coup attempts.
“There are no standard guidelines for determining the goals of [counter-terrorism] security assistance programs, particularly partner capacity-building training programs, or for assessing how these programs fit into broader U.S. foreign policy objectives,” reads a 2016 Center for a New American Security report. “And there are few metrics for measuring the effectiveness of these programs once they are being implemented.”