Mr. Robert Helfant

Mr. Robert Helfant
Assistant Director for International Operations


In January 2022, Mr. Helfant assumed duties as the Assistant Director for International Operations at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. He is responsible for DoD oversight of global execution of security assistance activities that span both Title 22 and Title 10 authorities. These include: Foreign Military Sales, Excess Defense Articles, Special Defense Acquisition Fund, leases, and Foreign Military Financing on behalf of the Department of State; and DoD- Funded global training, equipping, and institutional capacity building.

From April 2021 through December 2021, Mr. Helfant was on detail to the Office of the Executive Director for International Cooperation in the Office of the Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment. There he led efforts to educate key foreign partners about DoD acquisition policies and procedures related to cybersecurity, specifically aimed at establishing processes necessary to ensure partner nation industrial entities comply with U.S. cybersecurity standards, including Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements, so they can continue to be suppliers to U.S. defense programs.

From April 2017 to March 2021, he was the Principal Director for the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) Directorate at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. BPC was the focal point within DOD for management, and oversight of numerous Security Cooperation (SC) authorities, including global train and equip and institutional capacity building programs. From November 2015 to April 2017, Mr. Helfant was DSCA’s Principal Director for Strategy, where he led DSCA development and dissemination of security cooperation policy, strategic planning to better integrate security cooperation authorities with combatant commander requirements, strategic relations and engagements by DSCA within DoD and with key external counterparts, and execution of several security cooperation programs designed to advance partner nation capacity and capabilities through the provision of training.

Prior to joining DSCA, he was Deputy Director for International Affairs at the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). He was responsible for shaping and coordinating country engagement activities in support of the expansion of international cooperation in missile defense. Mr Helfant was at MDA (and its predecessor organizations) for more than 20 years in assorted contractor and then US government capacities. He became a career US government civilian in August 2001.

Over his 30 year career, Mr. Helfant has touched many aspects of security cooperation, including cooperative research and development, partner capacity building, international acquisition, and strategic outreach and planning. He is a certified member of the Defense Acquisition Corps. Before joining MDA, Mr Helfant worked in the defense industry where he supported various US Government customers in the areas of theater missile defense requirements and operations, political and military threat assessment, mission and force posture planning, and arms control.

Mr. Helfant graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science and Technology Studies. He has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.