Joint Military Exercises: Introducing a Dataset
Joint military exercises (JMEs) are an indicator of military cooperation that has the potential to reveal much about the nature of the international system's underlying relationships. States participate in JMEs for a variety of reasons and receive a host of benefits, ranging from improved military coordination during natural disasters to disguising troop buildups in advance of military operations. Quantifying this interaction is valuable because it provides an insight into latent relationships in the international system that are not revealed when examining higher-cost options such as formal alliances or arms transfers. However, quantifying them also presents a host of challenges due primarily to their high frequency of occurrence and the fact that JMEs are not always newsworthy events. This article of record presents the first systematic attempt at collecting data on all JMEs from 1970 through 2010. During this time period, 1,479 JMEs have been recorded. Generally, JMEs appear to be proliferating in both time and space, although the data themselves do contain certain biases. Importantly, these data do not express the same underlying relationships represented by formal alliances and arms transfers, two other indicators of military cooperation. Thus, JMEs are shown to be a distinctly important indicator for measuring the nature of cooperative relationships in the international system.