Skip to Content

Secretary of the Army Mark Esper with Soldiers at Fort Irwin, California, (US Army photo by John Martinez)

Majority of US foreign ‘train and equip’ projects a failure

America's efforts to train soldiers in other parts of the world where they have committed their own treasure, are not going too well. The majority of these Global Train and Equip projects are failures.

Published: June 4, 2018, 3:18 pm

    According to a US congressional watchdog, the Pentagon’s multi-project initiative to train and equip local soldiers “to combat terrorism” around the world is failing. The programme was first authorised as part of the 2006 defense bill.

    The Inspector General report found the Pentagon had neither a strategy with clear objectives nor an overarching plan for execution.

    According to the report released on Wednesday from the government accountability office, the Global Train and Equip program has not been successful in enhancing the capabilities of individual forces in at least 13 of 21 projects undertaken.

    While the assessment does describe some positive outcomes, the military essentially spent some $2 billion on the program in 2016 and 2017 with little to show for it.

    Misuse of equipment, manpower shortages, and flawed project proposal designs all contributed to the low success rate of operations.

    Billions of US taxpayer dollars continue to flow into such projects earmarked for “counter-terrorism capabilities” in countries like Jordan, the Philippines and Romania.

    But the new government watchdog report raises questions about Pentagon and State Department oversight.

    Not only has the Pentagon’s track record been minimal, but of the 262 projects undertaken from 2006 to 2015, only a third of the initiatives were assessed for efficacy, according to the watchdog.

    Between 2016 and 2017 most funding – about $865 million – were spent on gear and training efforts in Jordan and Lebanon, according to the report.

    Kenya received $132 million for helicopter and artillery needs in Kenya and $83 million was spent on Tunisian intelligence, border training and helicopter projects. Some $83 million in force structure and counter-terrorism training went to Niger, where four US soldiers were killed in 2017 by jihadists.

    The train and equip missions seem to have been an open money spout, since project proposal guidance “was not sufficiently instructive or enforced,” project proposals contained insufficient information regarding costs, risks and benefits, and updates provided to Pentagon and State Department leaders, as well as to Congress, had not been “sufficiently informative in explaining the collective impact” of the missions.

    Pentagon officials often also failed to consider the ability of a partner nation to absorb new capacity, the report noted. In less than 75 percent of the proposals, did they consider future sustainment of the project in the partner nation.

    These missions were put together in haste many times. “One senior official also noted that pressing national security goals, such as quickly developing the capabilities of strategic partners for ongoing operations, required the US government to assume some risk by supporting a project without fully assessing or documenting a partner nation’s absorptive capacity,” the report states.

    But in many cases, Americans only discovered too late that the low education levels of the local forces hindered their ability to operate and maintain modern combat systems.

    But even Americans working at the embassies of  partner nations were unable to maintain consistent levels of due diligence on issues such as ensuring capacity and sustainment planning, the report stated.

    “According to DOD officials, negative effects of this inconsistent due diligence included the arrival of equipment not suitable for operations and overestimation of one partner nation’s absorptive capacity, necessitating unplanned training and resulting in project delays.”

    The Pentagon has not responded to the report.


    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    Senators from both US parties push for fresh sanctions against Russia

    WashingtonUS senators from both main parties are preparing additional sanctions against Russia, despite the Senate Intelligence Committee having uncovered no direct evidence of collusion between the President Trump's campaign and Russia.

    Russian meddling in US elections never happened

    WashingtonThe alleged Russian influence campaign - or meddling - in US elections never happened but was used to smear Russia and undermine the election of President Donald Trump.

    Italy’s Deputy FM urges EU to stop meddling in Venezuela

    RomeItalian Deputy Foreign Minister on Monday joined indignation expressed by Russia and China over efforts to meddle in crisis-hit Venezuela after the EU Parliament also voted, in a non-legislative resolution, to recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of the oil-rich nation.

    Covington: Innocent white teenagers framed by hostile media

    WashingtonAmerican mainstream media reported this week that a group of white school children harassed a group of Native American, black and minority adults when footage of the interaction shows that the exact opposite happened.

    Brazil withdraws from UN Migration Compact

    BrasiliaNew Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced the withdrawal from the UN Global Compact on Migration as he had promised to do earlier.

    US government shutdown could be bad for Israel

    WashingtonThe US government shutdown has continued for 18 days. Now defense contractors and lobbyists are starting to worry that it could be bad for Israel.

    US national defence hierarchy now run by women

    WashingtonThe United States' national defense hierarchy is, for the first time in history, largely run by women. According to mainstream MSNBC, women have taken over the US military-industrial complex.

    Facebook bans conservatives but fails to stop child exploitation apps

    Facebook monitors billions of posts per day in over 100 languages. The company’s solution is a network of ideologically-minded workers that ban content with the help of PowerPoint slides. That sadly does not include child porn on third-party apps.

    Columbia student defends his remarks about ‘white achievements’

    New YorkColumbia University student Julian von Abele, whose comments on Twitter about white people went viral earlier this week, released a statement on Tuesday defending himself.

    Chile pulls out of Marrakesch

    SantiagoChile has joined the growing exodus from the United Nations Migration Compact. It has become the latest country to withdraw, President's Sebastian Pinera's administration announced.

    Go to archive