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Immediate Release

DOD Establishes First Learning Agenda for Security Cooperation

The Department of Defense announced today the establishment of the Department’s first Learning and Evaluation Agenda for Partnerships (LEAP) framework.

The LEAP framework aligns with Office of Management and Budget standards and best practices for evidence-based policymaking.  It identifies the most urgent knowledge gaps in the security cooperation community, and plans and prioritizes evidence-building activities over the next five years to help fill these gaps. 

In 2017, the Department implemented a number of security cooperation reforms, including establishing DOD’s first comprehensive program of Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation, in order to improve the practice and impact of security cooperation activities.  Building on this foundation, the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for global partnerships established the LEAP framework.

The learning agenda framework builds on existing DOD processes and guidance, streamlining security cooperation learning and evidence building under a common framework to increase coordination, collaboration, and return on investment across the security cooperation community.  A robust evidence base will help the Department better understand the effectiveness and efficiency of security cooperation and inform key decisions to improve security cooperation policy and practice.   

“We’ve developed the LEAP framework in line with best practices in evidence-based policymaking to learn from past security cooperation efforts.  It includes the most critical learning questions for security cooperation and prioritizes a range of evidence-building activities, including evaluations, monitoring, research studies and tabletop exercises,” said Michelle Strucke, deputy assistant secretary of defense for global partnerships.

“The Department’s first learning agenda will help ensure our approach to security cooperation is effective, efficient, and directly supports the key defense objectives outlined in the National Defense Strategy,” said Dr. Mara Karlin, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities.  “These are hard issues to figure out, and we’ve come up with a quantitative and qualitative approach that represents a leap forward for the Department.”

About Global Partnerships 

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships has policy responsibility for security cooperation; humanitarian assistance and disaster response, including COVID-19 global response; and international humanitarian law, rule of law and protection of human rights. Global Partnerships is the DOD lead to prioritize, integrate and evaluate bilateral and multilateral security cooperation activities to strengthen U.S. and global security.