Joint / Combined Exchange
Training Program (JCET)
U.S. Special Operations Forces conduct
JCETs (Joint/Combined Exchange Training) throughout
the Asia-Pacific region at the invitation of regional
governments. Highly skilled U.S. personnel improve regional
unit and individual combat skills and humanitarian capabilities.
Here U.S. Army Special Forces teach FN/FAL rifle marksmanship
to Republic of the Solomon Islands National Reconnaissance
and Surveillance Force personnel.
Special-forces activity in Latin America and the Caribbean
also takes place, in part, under the Joint Combined
Exchange Training (JCET) program. JCET involves sending
small special forces teams overseas to work with, or
to train with, foreign militaries. The average JCET
group is comprised of 10 to 40 troops, though groups
can include as many as 100. The JCET program operated
in 101 countries worldwide in 1997, and is operating
in about 95 countries in 1998.
JCETs in the Pacific
By Lt. Col. R. E. Saner, USA and Sgt. First Class D.
J. Poulos, USA
Located above Pearl Harbor, Hawaii sits Camp H. M.
Smith, the starting point for the Joint/Combined Exchange
Training Program (JCET) in the Pacific. The JCET program
is a series of joint and combined Special Operations
Forces (SOF) deployments for bi-lateral training conducted
in the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) area of responsibility.
The USPACOM JCET program began in 1992. The Commander
Special Operations Command, Pacific (COMSOCPAC) serves
as the executive agent for the program. JCET events
cover a wide range of activity. The primary focus of
the program is to improve unit and individual combat
readiness of United States SOF as well as friendly Asia-Pacific
armed forces and to enhance bilateral relations and
interoperability with regional nations through improved
JCET Events and Focus
SOCPAC plans JCETs based on the SOF unit's Mission
Essential Task List and the host nation's requests.
The size of an event can be tailored to meet host nation
objectives. SOF which participate in these events include
U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Air Force Special Operations
Forces, U.S. Navy Sea Air Land (SEAL) forces and/or
Special Boat Units, and U.S. Army Psychological Operations
forces and Civil Affairs units. The average JCET consists
of one or two Special Forces Operational Detachment
"Alpha" (SFODA) (12 personnel) or one SEAL
platoon (16 personnel), and one or two fixed-wing or
rotary-wing Air Force Special Operations aircraft.
Though the primary focus is combat readiness, the JCET
program directly supports regional stability throughout
the theater. Training typically focuses on humanitarian
assistance operations, disaster assistance/relief operations,
civic assistance projects, and foreign internal defense.
These projects allow constructive interaction among
Asia-Pacific military and civilians and U.S. SOF.
COMSOCPAC sponsors semiannual JCET conferences to plan
the overall program. For Fiscal Year 1998, SOCPAC is
planning 44 JCET events in 23 countries. Significant
breakthroughs have taken place in countries like Kazakhstan,
Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, and Uzbekistan. In some of
these countries, the JCET program provided the first
USCINCPAC military contacts with their national military
SOF are flexible and can work effectively across the
broad spectrum of military operations, from peace through
general war. For example, SOF can assist other nations
in attaining higher training standards, military skills
proficiency, and professionalism. Many nations without
SOF equivalent counterparts want to train with the United
States, but prefer to start at a small level. When it
is appropriate, U.S. SOF can conduct training with both
conventional forces and civilian government agencies.
This type of training has been done in Bangladesh and
Nepal, for example, where the program concentrated heavily
on training for disaster preparedness and humanitarian
In many cases JCET events combine Medical or Engineering
Civic Action Projects (MEDCAP/ENCAP). Some recent JCET
events have focused on medical cross-training and culminated
with a MEDCAP providing medical, dental, and veterinary
clinics for communities in areas far from any health
services. ENCAPs have rebuilt storm-damaged water distribution
or storage systems, refurbished school classrooms, and
re-paved road surfaces.
Why Special Operations Forces?
U.S. SOF are ideally suited for these missions for
a number of reasons. They are highly trained, well led,
flexible and adaptable. They can adjust quickly to meet
the needs of the country they are assisting. Also, SOF
are area oriented. Most SOF supporting SOCPAC's JCET
program have spent the majority of their careers in
the Pacific Theater. Thus, SOF not only participate
in the host nation's training activities, they have
learned to respect the customs, may speak the language,
and often participate in host nation special cultural
JCET programs are one of the most commonly employed
programs by U.S. embassies in the Pacific to assist
the host country's armed forces. The JCET program is
considered particularly useful since its personnel possess
the needed combination of military, linguistic, cultural
and technical skills. Equally valuable are the detailed
training packages and the quality of training provided.
In future multilateral operations, SOF will likely remain
the common element uniting the various host nation military
participants and combined counterparts.
Program of the Future
President Clinton's national security strategy of engagement
signals that operations other than war (humanitarian
assistance, disaster relief, and peace operations) will
be the "growth industry" in future
U.S. relations with other nations. The SOCPAC JCET program
sustains these relations.
SOCPAC's Joint/Combined Exchange Training program is
prepared to move into appropriate emerging mission areas
to help fill new training needs in the Asia-Pacific
region. The JCET program serves several purposes which
are increasingly important in promoting cooperative
operations with Asia-Pacific nations. JCETs act as a
force multiplier in support of a host nation's goal
of training its forces. JCETs expand the host nation's
capabilities to react to situations requiring exceptional
sensitivity, including non-combat missions such as humanitarian
assistance, security assistance, and peace operations.
JCETs are the stepping stones to the future, providing
participating nations with capabilities that extend
their vision beyond the battlefield, increasing their
flexibility, enhancing their effectiveness for maintaining
already existent high training standards, and gaining
experience not available through other programs.
USCINCPAC intends to continue to work at its current
operations tempo while preparing to offer such training
to Asia-Pacific nations as the political situations
allow. The JCET program provides an excellent training
opportunity for all nations involved, since it emphasizes
the skills required to meet the most likely future military
scenarios at the lower end of the spectrum of conflict.
These exercises also enhance interoperability among
the militaries of the region and promote regional stability.
Thus, the JCET program serves many vital needs in the
Lt. Col. Ralph E. "Butch" Saner, Jr. is Chief
of International Training Division, Operations Directorate
at SOCPAC. Ten of his 13 years in Special Forces have
been with the 1st Special Forces Group (ABN), which
is the U.S. PACOM oriented Special Forces group.
Sgt. First Class Dan J. Poulos was attached to SOCPAC's
International Training Division as a Liaison Officer
for the 1st Special Forces Group (ABN). Ten of his 11
years in Special Forces have also been with the 1st
Special Forces Group (ABN).