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Career Development for the Department of Defense Security Cooperation Workforce


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Security cooperation workforce reform has become an increasingly important issue for the Department of Defense (DoD) and Congress in the past several years. Security cooperation, which consists of all actions undertaken with foreign partners to further U.S. security objectives, has grown in importance in U.S. national strategy. U.S. declaratory strategy has increasingly postulated that by working by, with, and through partners, the United States can mitigate the risks of international and regional instability, avoid costly unilateral interventions in foreign states, and reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of such actions if they are necessary. As security cooperations salience to U.S. national strategy has increased, Congress and other stakeholders have grown concerned that DoD has paid inadequate attention to developing its security cooperation workforce. Consequently, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Secretary of Defense to create and the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to manage a security cooperation workforce development program. The assignment of this responsibility to DSCA is consistent with its mission of [leading]the security cooperation community in developing and executing innovative security cooperation solutions that support mutual U.S. and partner interests (DSCA, undated). In anticipation of this requirement, DSCA commissioned this study to inform the development of career models for the DoD security cooperation workforce. One of DSCAs principal concerns is ensuring that the workforce has the required competencies and experience to support U.S. security cooperation efforts over the long run. DSCA faces challenges in developing policy for the workforce because most of that workforce is employed by other DoD components.



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