Defense Security Cooperation University Co-Hosts FMS Symposium

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4 years 7 months

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) and their co-host, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)), facilitated the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Symposium, held May 23-24, 2024, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Approximately 250 policymakers, scholars, practitioners, and defense industry professionals gathered to discuss key issues facing the security cooperation community.

Security cooperation activities advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by enabling and encouraging foreign partners to address shared security challenges. Those efforts include the development of military capabilities, combined training efforts, military-to-military engagement, FMS, and the daily efforts of the U.S. security cooperation workforce across the globe.

The 1.5-day inaugural FMS Symposium, “Professionalization of the Workforce and the Promise of Security Cooperation,” featured remarks from leaders in the field, structured panel sessions on important FMS topics, and an Industry Day.

The panels on the first day, which observed the Chatham House Rule, discussed, among other topics, current issues within the FMS program, understanding partner nation needs, and whole-of-government perspectives on supporting allies and partners. Mr. Christopher Mewett, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships, provided the keynote address, which covered FMS and the strategic environment.  Mr. James Hursch, DSCA Director, gave an update on security cooperation workforce initiatives and announced the establishment of the FMS Center of Excellence within DSCU.  

During Industry Day, the Honorable Cara Abercrombie, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition; Ms. Madeline Mortelmans, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities; and Mr. Mike Miller, DSCA Deputy Director, began the day with a conversation centered on the importance of working with U.S. industry to enable the efficient delivery of security assistance to our allies and partners.  

The Symposium provided a collaborative forum for security cooperation stakeholders from across the Department of Defense, interagency, academia, industry, and foreign partners to engage in frank and rigorous exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of current processes. Additionally, the event set the stage for improved security cooperation enterprise interoperability, continued innovation within the FMS system, and initiatives to empower and strengthen the security cooperation workforce.

DSCU holds itself accountable to a high standard of security cooperation education and practice by building and using evidence-based knowledge to inform curriculum and professionalize security cooperation. Through events like the FMS Symposium and the Security Cooperation Conference held annually in October, DSCU partners with the security cooperation enterprise to help expand the intellectual foundations of and promote critical inquiry concerning security cooperation.

DSCU and all of DSCA greatly appreciates the contributions of all the esteemed Symposium participants who helped address key issues facing security cooperation and the FMS process.


The OUSD(A&S) mission is “Enable the Delivery and Sustainment of Secure, Resilient, and Preeminent Capabilities to the Warfighter and International Partners Quickly and Cost Effectively.”

DSCA’s mission is to advance U.S. defense and foreign policy interests by building the capacity of foreign partners in order to encourage and enable allies and partners to respond to shared challenges.

DSCU’s mission is to advance the knowledge and practice of security cooperation through the education, training, and development of the U.S. security cooperation workforce and through the education, training, and institutional capacity building of partner nations; and to produce research, analysis, and lessons learned that expand the intellectual foundations of security cooperation.