DSCA’s Components and the DoD Regional Centers

DSCA - A Look at DSCA’s Components and the DoD Regional Centers from DSCA on Vimeo.

To meet the current and future global security cooperation mission, the Defense Security Cooperation University delivers the education, training, research, and workforce analysis required to develop an agile, certified, and experienced U.S. Government security cooperation workforce and implements institutional capacity building, security cooperation education, and related programs and initiatives with our allies and partners. DSCU is the Department of Defense’s Center of Excellence for security cooperation education, training, development, research, and institutional capacity building and is universally recognized as the leading academic institution for security cooperation knowledge and practice.

As part of the DSCA vision, DSCU recently realigned to lead the Security Cooperation (SC) enterprise in delivering effective, enduring, and timely solutions, and serve as the source for SC expertise and innovation for our defense and foreign policy stakeholders to ensure the United States remains the global partner of choice. As part of this realignment, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) and the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) are now component organizations and key capabilities inside DSCU’s newly-formed International School for Education and Advising (ISEA). ISEA builds on several years of close collaboration between ISG and DIILS, aligning DSCA’s leading Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) organizations to enhance their shared capabilities, enhance complementarity, and further enable the DSCA’s leadership of the ICB functional area.


In addition, DSCU now supports OSD Policy by managing executive agency oversight for DoD’s six Regional Centers for Security Studies. This organization alignment is an evolution with the potential to be a force multiplier for the security cooperation mission as these key security cooperation centers collaborate within the University. ISEA and the Regional Centers play key roles in the capacity building function of DSCA. Through strategic (policy development and guidance), operational (implementation guidance, oversight, and management), and tactical (administrative support) means, greater intellectual interoperability and cooperation with foreign military and civilian partners is achieved in the interest of shared security objectives with U.S. allies and partners.


Institute for Security Governance (ISG)

ISG is the Department of Defense (DoD)’s leading ICB implementer and Center of Excellence for ICB. Founded in 1994 as the Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR), a partnership between DSCA and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, ISG was established as a practitioner-oriented international schoolhouse focused on strengthening civilian control of the armed forces and democratic governance, with particular emphasis on emergent democracies worldwide. In the ensuing 27 years, CCMR built on this foundation to become a leading international security cooperation schoolhouse and DoD’s primary ICB implementer. In 2019, CCMR became a full component of DSCA, changing its name to ISG to be more reflective of an expanded mission and mandate.

As DoD’s ICB Center of Excellence, ISG develops approaches and practices to further the ICB field and its integration into a full spectrum approach to security cooperation. ISG is also charged with building partner institutional capacity and capability through tailored advising, education, and professional development programs grounded in American values and approaches. ISG’s advising teams consist of more than 300 advising team engagements and more than 40 globally deployed advisors working with more than 80 nations annually to enable their institutional development, enhance capacity, and build key capabilities that enable shared objectives. The ISG education mission consists of resident programming on a range of security governance and capacity building topics conducted in Monterey as well as mobile and online education teams that deploy globally in support of the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program and Regional Defense Combating Terrorism and Irregular Warfare Fellowship Program (RDFP).

Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS)

DIILS has nearly 30 years of global experience as the lead U.S. defense security cooperation resource for professional legal engagement with international defense sector personnel. Located in Newport, RI, DIILS is jointly staffed with judge advocates from each branch of the U.S. armed forces as well as a cadre of experienced DoD civilian attorneys.

Since its inception in 1992 as the international training detachment for the Naval Justice School, and subsequent transfer to DSCA in 2000, DIILS has provided legal SC programming for more than 75,000 international military and civilian participants from over 160 countries. During that time, the DIILS mission has evolved to now include legal Institutional Capacity Building, congressionally-mandated Human Rights and Law of Armed Conflict training seminars, and resident and mobile educational courses. These courses focus on a broad range of Rule of Law subjects under the IMET program and RDFP as well as the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. In June 2021, DIILS celebrated the graduation of its 3,000th resident course student.

Regional Centers for Strategic Studies (RCs)

The Department of Defense RCs are international venues for bilateral and multilateral research, communication, exchange of ideas, and training involving U.S. and foreign military, civilian, and nongovernmental participants. The audience of RC programs includes senior policymakers and practitioners, both military and civilian, from defense and security stakeholders outside ministries of defense. RC participants come from across ministries—including foreign affairs, justice, law enforcement, and parliamentarians—and non-governmental and international organizations. In terms of demographic diversity, approximately 30 percent of RC participants are women. Utilizing their unique academic forums, the RCs build strong, sustainable international networks of security leaders.

The RCs offer executive-level education and professional development programs and resources, inclusive of strategic and security studies, research and publications, and rigorous outreach programs. These programs and resources foster long-term collaborative relationships, develop and sustain relationships and communities of interest among security practitioners and national security establishments throughout respective regions, and enhance enduring partnerships around the world.

While RCs support a range of policy priorities directed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs) as well as requests from foreign partners, they prioritize three functional areas in accordance with their statutory mandate: territorial and maritime security, transnational and asymmetric threats, and defense sector governance.

Regional Centers include:

Please visit the following links to learn more:

View this one-minute video on the mission-set: