Security Cooperation 2003 Conference: Strengthening Alliances for the Future

By Grafton, Jeffrey S. | DISAM Journal, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Security Cooperation 2003 Conference: Strengthening Alliances for the Future


Grafton, Jeffrey S., DISAM Journal


The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) hosted its 2003 Annual Security Cooperation Conference, October 28-29, 2003 in Alexandria, Virginia. Strengthening Alliances For The Future served as the conference theme. This article summarizes the various conference speakers' presentations. Several speakers utilized briefing slides in conjunction with their comments. The presentations in their entirety may be accessed via the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's website at www.dsca.mil.

Lieutenant General Tome H. Waiters, Jr., USAF, Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) welcomed an audience of approximately 450 people representing the Department of Defense, the Department of State, U.S. industry, media representatives and international customers. He described this year's conference as being more internally focused than past conferences with a view specifically toward the security cooperation practitioner. In an ever changing world with new challenges such as the global war on terrorism, he emphasized that the business of security cooperation serves as an increasingly important tool of the U.S. Although the spotlight typically focuses on the large system sales, the smaller sales of basic equipment are more important than ever in building crucial bridges in security cooperation.

Lieutenant General Waiters stated that, as the security cooperation community works to meet the high expectations of customers, the community must adapt and change. Although legacy processes were not designed for speed, the demands of today's customers and world environment have pushed the community to look for new and creative ways to conduct business. As an example, he cited the request from the Coalition Provisional Authority this past summer to, within thirty days, competitively award a contract to train and equip the Afghan National Army. Based on historical parameters, most security cooperation and contracting practitioners would conclude that a competitive award for an effort of this scale would not be possible within thirty days. In this instance, through high level teaming coupled with creative hard work, remarkable performance was achieved. A competitively awarded contract was issued within thirty days and actual training began shortly thereafter.

Next, Lieutenant General Walters commented on the changing nature of security cooperation. He stated that DSCA, in addition to traditional security cooperation, is now involved in managing several humanitarian assistance programs in association with the Agency for International Development. Examples of humanitarian outreaches include daily ration food distribution, wheelchair collection and redistribution activities, school construction projects, seaport repair and medical facility outfitting.

The DSCA Director cited the singularly most prominent security cooperation accomplishment over the past year centered on Poland's selection of the F-16 aircraft through their international fighter competition. The U.S. security assistance community in conjunction with U.S. industry expended considerable effort to prepare and support the offer of F-16 aircraft. As part of this offer, the U.S. government approved a $3.8 billion loan to support the sale. This was the first loan of this type granted by the U.S. government since 1998. In addition to supporting Poland's national defense and enhancing their role in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the selection of the F-16 package opens the door for significant U.S. and Poland military-to-military interactions in the years ahead.

On the horizon, the security cooperation community is preparing to support another key international fighter competition initiated by the Czech Republic. Breaking new ground, the U.S. government will not only submit its own offer of F-16A/B aircraft but will also provide logistics and training support packages for the competing offers being tendered by the governments of the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada. …

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