FMS allows for the sale of U.S. defense equipment and services with the objective of strengthening bilateral relationships, protecting U.S. national interests and increasing interoperability of U.S. military forces with foreign allies. FMS also provides the training to operate and maintain sophisticated U.S. weapons. Weapons are given from the stock of arms the Department of Defense already has or new equipment through a U.S. contractor. FMS is conducted using cash or FMS financing (FMF)-Congressionally appropriated grants and loans given to foreign governments. FMS is operated by the Department of Defense on a no-profit, no-loss basis. Countries usually pay a fee price ($15,000 or 3.8% of item and service cost) for the articles or services to recoup costs to the United States to administer the program. A country can request to participate in this program by sending a Letter of Request (LOR) to the U.S. representative contact, who then forwards it to the Department of State Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The official LOR is sent to the Department of Defense Military Department, which then responds in the form of Price and Availability information or a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA). It is also required by law to publicly announce FMS major arms sales. The controversial participation of countries as part of the U.S. coalition to fight terrorism has led to the provision of military assistance to nations previously targeted as violators of human rights or nuclear weapons controls (Pakistan and India).
IMET is conducted solely on a grant basis and provides U.S. training of foreign military personnel. IMET was established in 1976 to provide leadership and management services to top foreign military officers from countries incapable of paying for training under the Foreign Assistance Act. The goal of the IMET is to allow the U.S. more influence diplomatically and militarily in foreign countries. Some of these countries receiving assistance are controversial because they cannot be categorized as friendly, democratic nations. These nations include Egypt, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.
DSCA also houses the Department of Defense’s humanitarian programs as part of its security cooperation to provide regional stability and promote U.S. interests. The programs within the HDM provides emergency response, providing medical and infrastructure basic necessities along with providing U.S. trained forces to detect and eliminates mines. Foreign Disaster Relief and Emergency Response provides immediate assistance to crises such as the January 2008 Bolivian flood. Humanitarian Assistance Program was authorized by Congress in 1986 to transport Department of Defense non-lethal property and privately donated relief material. Recent humanitarian assistance programs include the building of a primary school in Rwanda or providing medical services to Haiti. The Humanitarian Mine Action program trains host nations in landmine clearance, mine risk education, and victims assistance. Armed forces members cannot participate in detection or clearance of mines unless authorized by a U.S. military operation.