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U.S. partner nation Montenegro is the first NATO ally to receive the U.S.-made Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. It is also the country’s first major military sale using national funds.

This historic $36 million sale was executed by the Security Assistance in support of one of America’s most powerful foreign policy tools – security assistance and foreign military sales.

The FMS program is a form of security assistance authorized by the Arms Export Control Act of 1976. Under Section 3 of this act, the U.S. may sell defense articles, services and training to other sovereign nations and international organizations, when the president finds that to do so will strengthen the security of the U.S. and promote world peace.

Countries approved to participate obtain materiel and services by paying with their own national funds or with funds provided through U.S. government-sponsored assistance and, in certain cases, on a grant basis.

Montenegro received its first shipment of five JLTVs in late October, followed by the delivery of an additional 15 in early November.

“These JLTVs will help ensure that Montenegro, one of the newest NATO members, meets its 2021 operational readiness requirement,” USASAC’s Glenn Lang, division chief with the EUCOM Regional Operation Directorate, said. “To that end, Montenegro plans to acquire a total of 67 JLTVs in various configurations.”

In addition to meeting its NATO requirement, the purchase will strengthen the partner nation’s military maneuverability and protective capabilities and enable them to participate in missions using their own resources.

Montenegro has a population of 622,000 and is roughly the size of Kentucky. It belongs to a number of the same organizations as the United States, including the United Nations, NATO, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. Montenegro also is a participant in the NATO Partnership for Peace program and the Adriatic Charter.

The U.S. relationship with Montenegro dates back to 1905 and is aimed at bolstering its Euro-Atlantic integration path, which includes improving its ability to fight organized crime and corruption, strengthening civil society and democratic structures, encouraging free and independent journalism, and promoting stability in the Balkans.

Following the release of official results from Montenegro’s peaceful parliamentary elections in August, the U.S. applauded the nation’s commitment to the democratic process.

This was “a historic moment for Montenegro’s democracy. The U.S. government looks forward to partnering with the next government, constituted through the democratic process as a reflection of the people’s will. The United States will continue to be a friend, partner and ally of the citizens of Montenegro,” U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro Judy Rising Reinke said in a Sept. 14 release.

Editor’s note: Joan Morgan is the Security Assistance Command country program manager for Montenegro.

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