At U.S. Embassy Belgrade, the Office of the Defense Attache and the Office of Defense Cooperation represent the United States European Command (EUCOM) and are responsible for coordinating Security Assistance activities and Defense Cooperation programs with the Serbian Ministry of Defense. These activities include military education training, humanitarian assistance, the Joint Contact Team Program, and the State Partnership Program with the Ohio National Guard.
IMET, or the International Military Education and Training program, makes up a significant and very important part of our engagement partnership with the Serbian Armed Forces. Since initial IMET eligibility in 2007, Serbia has received $1.47 million in IMET funding and augmented this with $924K in host nation funding. In total, 137 personnel have successfully completed training. Sixty percent of Serbia’s overseas military training and education takes place within the United States. IMET has focused on senior leadership professionalization at United State war colleges and junior officer/ non-commissioned officer corps development.
Specifically, for the next couple of years IMET will fund at least four Senior Service School seats either at the National War College (NWC), the Army War College and Air War College. IMET will provide three slots for officers at the respective Army and Air Force Command and Staff Colleges; one position to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy; one at the Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Course (ANCOC) and five at the Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course (BNCOC) to help develop a strong Serbian NCO corps. Further, IMET will target five junior Officers for mid grade branch specific courses. NCOs will also benefit from opportunities in order to develop the core of the Serbian Armed Forces future leadership along US/NATO standards.
Another very important part of our engagement is the State Partnership Program with Ohio. The Serbian Armed Forces have a unique relationship with the Ohio National Guard, one of our country’s largest. The State Partner Program links Ohio with Serbia for the purpose of improving bilateral relations with the United States. The program’s goals reflect an evolving international affairs mission for the National Guard, to promote regional stability and civil-military relationships in support of U.S. policy objectives. In addition to Serbian interaction with the Ohio National Guard our Military to Military program includes engagement with various parts of European Command (U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Air Force Europe, and Marine Forces Europe) and various Department of Defense agencies and directorates. The program is currently working to improve shared peace keeping capabilities, defense reform, and disaster management. This year we will collaborate on close to 60 military exchanges, conferences, exercises and workshops of various types.