News   Partnerships

Defense Security Cooperation Agency Sees Growing Interest in Partnerships

May 6, 2020 | BY C. Todd Lopez , DOD News

Strengthening alliances and attracting new partners is one of the National Defense Strategy's lines of effort, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency is a large part of that effort.

Attracting new partners doesn't get as much discussion as it should, but that doesn’t mean the Defense Department or DSCA hasn't been effective in meeting the requirement, the agency’s director said.

Military officers confer via a cell phone app.
Best Practices
Army Brig. Gen. Ralph Hedenberg, right, dual-status commander of forces in Connecticut, talks by videoconference with Karina Rando, head of the COVID-19 task force for the Uruguayan Ministry of Public Health and Uruguayan Colonel Antonio Nunes, the military liaison to SINAE - the Uruguayan equivalent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to share best practices for fighting COVID-19. The Connecticut National Guard and Uruguay have a 20-year relationship under the National Guard's State Partnership Program.
Photo By: Timothy Coster, Army
VIRIN: 200409-A-UQ901-162C

"The initial instructions that I received upon taking this position were, we were to push forward and adhere to line of effort two in the National Defense Strategy, which is, strengthening alliances and attracting new partners," Army Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper said during a discussion with the Atlantic Council yesterday.

Hooper said attracting new partners is something DSCA takes as seriously as every other mission for which it is responsible, and that the U.S. effort at growing alliance relations is strong.

Three ships sail near each other in open water.
Sail Together
The USS McCampbell sails in formation with South Korean navy ships during a photo exercise in the East China Sea, April 10, 2020.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Markus Castaneda
VIRIN: 200410-N-WI365-1054

"I will tell you that I've seen a strengthening of our existing alliances and relationships," he said. "And I'm proud to say that I've seen efforts by countries not normally aligned with the United States that are moving in our direction to align with us. I've seen us attracting new partners. So I'm very optimistic about it. I think it's strong, and I think it's so strong that we're attracting new partners."

One reason, Hooper said, is the way the United States conducts partnership agreements, noting that DSCA operations are driven by four principles: transparency, responsiveness, integrity and commitment.

A soldier gets his temperature checked.
Soldier Safety
Thai army medical personnel take U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Donald William’s temperature as a preventative measure against COVID-19 in Krabi, Thailand, March 29, 2020, before a key leader engagement as part of Hanuman Guardian. The bilateral exercise demonstrates commitment to the U.S.-Thailand alliance.
Photo By: Army Spc. Ezra Camarena
VIRIN: 200329-A-UH335-0002M

"Transparency in everything that we do. ... The United States is the only great power where the entire menu and procedure for procuring weapons and equipment is online and a matter of public domain and public record," he said. 

The United States also is fast in responding to partner needs, he said, and conducts relations with an integrity that's unmatched by other potential partners. 

"The integrity of the U.S. approach to security cooperation ... is virtually incorruptible," the general said. "I like to tell many of my interlocutors, counterparts and defense ministers that I deal with [that] when you do business with the United States, the books are always open for inspection."

Two sailors in uniform, both wearing face masks, load boxes into a van.
Packing Up
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bethany Caldwell, a religious programs specialist assigned to the religious ministries department at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, loads a van with food to be donated to the local Italian community, April 24, 2020. The donation is part of a new program led by the NSA Naples religious ministries department that helps to provide basic necessities to families in need.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Donavan K. Patubo
VIRIN: 200424-N-HP061-1074

The U.S. approach to partnership differs from other great powers in that the United States enters relations with partner and allied nations with more than simple sales or profit in mind, Hooper said, adding that the United States enters such partnerships with long-term relations in mind.

"I think that that is one of the most unique characteristics of this very American approach to security cooperation," he said.