DSCA Celebrates 50th Anniversary

On September 1, 1971, the Department of Defense (DoD) established a small agency, the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), to direct, administer, and supervise Title 22 security assistance programs for the transfer of defense articles and services to other countries.  Among its initial four programs were the International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programs, which still exist today.  The staff comprised only 94 people and was headquartered in the Pentagon.

Across the subsequent five decades, DSAA, now known as the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), has transformed considerably.  Not only does DSCA manage and execute additional Title 22 security assistance programs under the authority of the Department of State, such as the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programs, it now also oversees a number of Department of Defense Title 10 Security Cooperation programs and initiatives, such as Global Train and Equip, Institutional Capacity Building, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.  In 2019, DSCA also stood up the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU), a milestone that recognizes Security Cooperation as a true profession.  DSCU now oversees the education, training, and certification of the entire Security Cooperation workforce, which numbers almost 20,000 personnel.

DSCA’s staff has also grown more than tenfold to over 1,000 people.  In addition to its headquarters staff located in Arlington, VA, DSCA has dedicated professionals working at other components such as DSCU West in Ohio, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) in Rhode Island, and the Institute of Security Governance (ISG) in California. DSCA now also serves as the executive agent for the five DoD Regional Centers for Security Studies in Washington, DC, Hawaii, and Germany. 

DSCA’s Security Cooperation mission directly supports U.S. national security and foreign policy.  In FY 2020, the agency cooperated with over 160 countries, oversaw over 15,000 FMS cases worth more than half a trillion dollars, and executed over $50 billion in FMS sales. 

DSCA also:

  • Trained over 27,000 foreign military students;
  • Under DIILS, conducted over 90 advisory, training, and education events with over 900 international participants from 63 partner-nation militaries;
  • Under ISG, conducted over 200 institutional capacity building advisory activities delivered by 179 U.S. faculty and subject matter experts as part of ongoing multi-year programs with 38 priority allies and partner-nations involving more than 5,500 ministerial and military personnel, as well as education events with almost 400 international students from 70 countries;
  • Deployed 43 Ministry of Defense Advisors in 15 countries;
  • Oversaw dozens of international competitions of various types; and
  • Under DSCU, registered approximately 18,000 security cooperation personnel for online courses.

Please continue to visit this website over the coming months as DSCA showcases its history and recognizes the achievements of our “security cooperators” from over the past 50 years. DSCA is proud to lead the Security Cooperation community into the next 50 years and will continue to demonstrate why the United States remains the global partner of choice in an increasingly competitive environment.