U.S. Military and Police Training in South Sudan

Last week, in an interview with the Sudan Tribune, South Sudan’s Interior Minister Aleu Ayeny Aleu praised U.S. assistance to South Sudan, especially the training provided to the country’s security forces.

Minister Aleu said this training has helped South Sudan “transform [the] security forces, particularly police and the [South Sudan army] (SPLA).” While a senior military officer told the newspaper that the “government of America has helped a lot in providing training to our soldiers as part of general transformation into becoming a professional army.”

According to the article, the type of training provided by the United States has ranged from “a two-week training program on agriculture management and prison industries” in June of this year to “training on tactical and intelligence gathering [in 2012] which . . . is now helping them a lot in carrying out their activities as part of the regional force hunting Lord Resistance Army.”

The United States’ “commitment to help the SPLA transform into a modernized army” is reflected in multiple U.S. government documents and statements.

According to the 2012-2013 Foreign Military Training Report (FMTR), submitted jointly to Congress by the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, training of South Sudanese security personnel increased by almost 100 trainees in 2012 to 128 trainees total, after a significant dip in 2011. Much of the increase can be attributed to the Foreign Military Sales program, which trained 68 South Sudanese forces in 2012.  

ImageYou can find the data for the chart here.

The most recent Foreign Military Training Report details “all military training provided to foreign military personnel by the Department of Defense and the Department of State” in 2012, so much of the recent training referred to in Sudan Tribune article is not reflected in the above chart. However, there is some question as to whether the FMTR reflects the full picture of all South Sudanese security sector personnel trained by the United States.

The Fiscal Year 2011, 2012 and 2013 CBJs and a 2013 State Department factsheet on Support to South Sudan’s Justice Sector suggest that both International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) and Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) funds are being used to train South Sudanese security sector personnel. However, the most recent FMTR, which covers training carried out in 2012, does not report on any training of South Sudanese forces or personnel through either of those programs.

Often, the training reported in the FMTR is carried out with funds allocated in prior years, so it is possible that 2012 funding priorities are not reflected in the 2012 FMTR. Yet, the State Department has stated its intention to use INCLE and PKO funds for training since 2011. The 2013-2014 FMTR is due on March 1st, 2014. It will be interesting to see whether training of South Sudanese forces through INCLE and PKO is reflected in the new report.


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