As its short and convoluted history is discussed, the one constant has been the idea that FMTU would be responsible for creating professional advisor teams to develop foreign militaries utilizing a holistic, long-term approach.
The Foreign Military Training Unit (FMTU) is a unique unit with a unique mission. It is a unit that was originally formed to meet the Marine Corps' operational requirements for advisors in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it transferred to the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCom) to relieve the operational tempo demands of the special operations forces (SOF), and finally, it refocused toward neutralizing emerging threats elsewhere in the developing world by training and advising foreign militaries.
In its short and convoluted history, the one constant has been the idea that FMTU would be responsible for creating professional advisor teams to develop foreign militaries utilizing a holistic, long-term approach. The primary focus of FMTU has always been to provide foreign internal defense (FID) assistance to developing countries.
The ungoverned spaces within and across these countries often harbor subversives, terrorists, insurgents, and lawless elements. They, in turn, recruit, train, plan, and conduct operations against law-abiding nations. To counter these threats, FMTU focuses on training counterterrorist forces in small unit, light infantry, and counterterrorist tactics. Thus, instead of directly going after these terrorist elements, FMTU seeks to utilize the "indirect approach" of building others' capabilities-in other words, FMTU is a unit of kingmakers, not kings.
Structure and Background
The FMTU is structured with a staff composed of the normal functional areas, plus its own internal training cadre. Major subordinate elements are 2 companies of 12 teams each. Company A was activated in April, and Company B is scheduled for activation in spring 2007.
The company headquarters (HQ) (see Figure 1) is designed to be deployable as a command and control (C^sup 2^) node, similar to a Special Forces' Operational Detachment Bravo/Charlie. Current issues for the company HQ include building their staffs, gaining the necessary equipment to be operational, and identifying a time/mission for deployment in a C^sup 2^ capacity.
The teams themselves have 11 Marines. (see Figure 2.) The two officers of the team are a Marine major (team leader) and a captain (assistant team leader), both with the 9911 (unrestricted ground officer) military occupational specialty.
The enlisted members of the team include an 0369 (infantry unit leader) gunnery sergeant as the staff noncommissioned officer in charge, a communications Marine (0621), a corpsman (8404/8425), an 0331 (machinegunner), 0341 (mortarman), 0351 (assaultman), and three 0311s (riflemen). The target grade for the Marines is sergeant.
FMTU is continuing to assess the individual roles, structure, and personnel of the teams. Should a major be on the team? Should one of the 0311s be replaced by an intelligence/counterintelligence Marine? Should a similar change be made for an engineer?
These are questions that will be addressed as the command gains operational experience. In the meantime, FMTU has incorporated provisional specialist training to generate very narrowly defined capabilities in the aforementioned functional areas.
FMTU's initial operational focus was on the nations in the Pan-Sahel region of Africa. The original mission statement was "to train and provide deployable teams for tailored basic military combat skills training and advisor support" to foreign military forces. However, in October 2005 the secretary of Defense directed the establishment of a Marine special operations component to USSOCom.
In February the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operatio
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