DSCU: Academic Center for Security Cooperation

One of five components reporting to the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU).  DSCU delivers the education, training, research, and analysis to the U.S. Security Cooperation Workforce and the institutional capacity building to our allies and partners to meet the current and future global security cooperation mission.  DSCU aspires to be universally recognized as the center of intellectual life for the Security Cooperation Community.  Advancing the National Defense Strategy and foreign policy interests of the United States is the “North Star” of DSCU’s dedicated professionals.

The Secretary of Defense directed DSCA to establish a Security Cooperation Workforce Development Program and lead the Department’s education, training, and certification program per 10 USC, Section §384. In September 2019, DSCA launched DSCU to support the DSCA’s mission for training, certifying, and providing for the long-term development of the security cooperation workforce at home and abroad.  DSCU’s role was further expanded in April 2021 with the inclusion of the Institute of Security Governance, Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, and other elements of international training and education programs, thus broadening the scope of the university and inclusive of program implementation.

DSCU is comprised of:

  • Provost - The Office of the Provost, located on the DSCU National Capital Region campus, is the Chief Academic Officer of the university, and provides key university academic functions to ensure quality delivery of Security Cooperation Workforce education and training and oversees security cooperation training and education programs that improve partner nation capabilities.
  • Strategic Workforce Programs - The SWP Directorate, located in the National Capital Region, oversees the implementation of programs aimed at the advancement and development of a professional SC workforce capable of administering the full suite of security assistance and cooperation programs. 
  • School for Security Cooperation Studies – The School of Security Cooperation Studies, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (previously known as Defense Institute of Security Cooperation Studies (DISCS)) and in National Capital Region, supports DSCA’s mission of training, educating, and providing for the long-term development of the security cooperation workforce and training and education for the security cooperation enterprise.
  • Institutional Capacity Building Planning and Program Design – ICB PPD, located in the National Capital Region, provides collaborative strategic-level planning and design for synchronized ICB programs; advocates for ICB concepts and practices; and advances the development and professionalization of ICB practitioners within the Security Cooperation Workforce to support security cooperation objectives.
  • Defense Institute of International Legal Studies – The Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, located in Newport, RI, engages globally to strengthen partner nation legal capacity through activities that promote equitable and accountable defense and security sectors, civilian control of the military, enhanced military justice systems, compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law, and democratic rule of law.
  • Institute for Security Governance - The Institute for Security Governance, located in Monterey, CA, advances national security and foreign policy objectives by building partner institutional capabilities and enhancing the approach and conduct of Institutional Capacity Building to address security challenges.

Since the University opened their doors, DSCU students have completed over 45,000 discrete courses and approximately 12,500 personnel are in progress towards Security Cooperation Workforce Certification.  Additionally, DSCU faculty members have developed 26 new courses while rapidly transitioning 20 courses to virtual learning platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This team of teams is now working across functional areas to create synergies that benefit students, strategic partners, and other external stakeholders.  An agile mindset and desire to innovate in response to the real-world challenges and requirements of those the University serves characterizes the work DSCU performs in collaboration with DSCA.

For more information about DSCU, please visit the DSCU website at www.dscu.mil or LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/dscu/.



One of DSCA’s top five goals is to develop a diverse, certified, adaptable and resilient Security Cooperation workforce to meet shared U.S. and international security challenges.

Leading that role for more than 20 years was Dr. Ronald Reynolds, the former commandant of what is now DSCA’s Defense Security Cooperation University-West at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.

As we celebrate DSCA’s 50th anniversary, we are grateful for such dedicated professionals as Dr. Reynolds, who exemplifies public service, embodying our security through global partnerships ethos.

The veteran Air Force officer served both a full military and civil service career, shaping a generation of Security Cooperation leaders before retiring in December 2020. Click here for more.

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