Defense Official Discusses Security Cooperation Reform
Army Lt. Gen. Charles W. Hooper, the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, discussed his agency’s role in the new National Security Strategy, and its role in ongoing reform efforts within the security cooperation enterprise during a Center for Strategic and International Studies panel event here today.
“The NSS directs the use of diplomatic, economic and military tools to assist and encourage aspiring partners to modernize, to create a network of states that advance our common interests and values,” he said.
Improving Business Practices
As part of the NSS, Hooper quoted Defense Secretary James N. Mattis: “When we pool resources and share responsibilities for our common defense, our security cooperation burden becomes much lighter.”
The drive for efficiency has become a significant portion of security cooperation reform for DSCA in an effort to improve DoD’s business practices.
“The improvement of efforts underway within the security cooperation acquisition and program execution are important components of improving the department’s business practices,” Hooper said. “We collaborate very closely across the department to analyze the timeline and milestones associated with the execution of foreign military sales and other practices in order to ensure priorities are being met.”
The overall goal of this reform is to reduce the duration spent between identifying a partner requirement and the delivery of a total package capability, he said.
To accomplish this goal, the general outlined several conditions necessary for success.
First, there is a need for a quality workforce, Hooper said, describing it as one that is fully trained, certified, resourced and managed.
Second, he said, there must be strategic guidance across the spectrum of security cooperation programs and activities that aligns with U.S. national security interests and foreign policy priorities and objectives.
Combining these conditions ties in with a third condition: effective execution, the general said. “A qualified workforce and strategic guidance will enable responsive and innovative processes, supporting more effective and efficient execution of security cooperation,” Hooper said.
The pinnacle condition, he said, is full-spectrum capability -- that is, delivering a capability to partners that includes defensive systems, enablers, personnel, strategy, doctrine plans and institutional support.
Becoming More Efficient, Effective
During 2017, DSCA initiated the first-ever security cooperation workforce inventory to enable a better understanding of size, composition, and functions of personnel within security cooperation responsibilities, Hooper said.
The agency created a workforce development directorate to focus on these efforts, he said, noting that the directorate has already completed the first step: to determine the scope of the security cooperation workforce. Next, it will create a DoD-wide defense competency assessment tool, and develop a revised education and training curriculum and a competency-based certification program.
Following the scope determination, the workforce increased from 10,000 to 18,000 personnel, the general said.
“I’ve made personnel and human resource development a central focus of my theme during my tenure in the agency,” Hooper said. “Moving forward, workforce analysis will be a recurring function to ensure the department provides training and experienced-based opportunities necessary to develop and maintain security cooperation-related competencies within the workforce.”
He added that this will ensure the DoD has a security cooperation workforce that is improved, certified and has the capacity in both personnel and skills to properly perform its mission. Furthermore, the general said, this provides appropriate support to the assessment planning, monitoring, execution and evaluation of security cooperation, and is assigned in a manner that ensures personnel have the appropriate level of training and experience, as well as being assigned in sufficient numbers to fulfill the requirements for DoD security cooperation activities.
“I’ve been nothing but impressed by the great team and the great people I work with every day,” Hooper said. “Nevertheless, we are going to work on codifying and certifying this workforce to make them more efficient and effective.”
While the general praised the 2017 efforts of security cooperation, highlighting the more than $40 billion in activities accomplished during that timeframe, he said there is always a need to get better.
Hooper emphasized four values of DSCA’s vision which hallmark the agency’s approach to security cooperation: transparency, responsiveness, integrity and commitment.
“The U.S. remains committed to our partners,” he said. “We have recognized a need to take a look at our practices and ensure those practices are as efficient and effective as they can, so that the U.S. may remain the partner of choice around the world for security cooperation needs and fulfill the needs of our allies and partners.”