Director's Message: DSCA Celebrates DSCU's One-Year Anniversary

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Security Cooperation Colleagues,

As a long-standing member of the Security Cooperation community, and as the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), I am proud to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the founding of the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU).

Security cooperation (SC) is at the forefront of our National Defense Strategy (NDS). In order to fully realize the NDS goal to strengthen alliances and attract new partners, the SC enterprise must have a workforce of trained, equipped, and knowledgeable security cooperation professionals. This ensures that we will be able to continue to respond effectively to shared security challenges with our Allies and partners and remain a U.S. foreign policy tool of first resort.

As the scope and complexity of security cooperation evolve, our SC knowledge base and capabilities must also evolve to meet the demands of the mission. It is not enough for SC professionals to have mastered all that goes into arms sales and transfers. Our workforce must also be prepared to support the diverse security cooperation mission set that includes institutional capacity building, international education and training, humanitarian and disaster assistance, and assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of our programs.

To achieve this, and as a response to the National Defense Authorization Act 2017, DSCA established the Security Cooperation Workforce Development Program (SCWDP), an ambitious initiative to certify and professionalize the entire SC workforce of almost 20,000 personnel around the globe. As a key component of the SCWDP, DSCU was established on September 25, 2019 to be the Department of Defense’s Center of Excellence for security cooperation education and training. Our vision was that DSCU would be a virtual and physical destination for SC professionals to convene, collaborate, and share knowledge. 

Little did we know when we opened DSCU’s doors last September that in its inaugural year our country and our partners around the globe would be impacted so greatly by a global pandemic. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that COVID-19 presented, DSCU was able to rise to the challenge and continue to build its virtual presence to meet the needs of our workforce. DSCU did a tremendous job in pivoting to serve our global student population - rapidly converting courses that were traditionally instructed in person to virtual learning platforms.

In just one year, the SC workforce has risen to the challenge of accessing the training necessary for certification and to expand its knowledge base. Since September 25, 2019, students in the SC workforce have completed over 25,000 discrete courses! In this time, DSCU has developed 26 new courses for our students, and rapidly transitioned 20 courses to virtual learning platforms during the pandemic. We are also reaching SC executives across the globe, having converted all DSCU Executive Education Courses to be completely online. 

DSCU also launched the SC Workforce Certification Program on January 1, 2020. Since this time, over 13,000 SC professionals have begun the training required to progress toward their certification, with over 2,000 of our personnel completing their basic level certification already.

Finally, I am excited to announce that DSCU just released its LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-security-cooperation-university/. This social media site will be a great tool for connecting the SC community and workforce.

DSCU faculty and staff remain excited to continue to serve our global SC enterprise as a virtual and physical destination for SC professionals and educators to learn, grow, collaborate, and become leaders in their field. All of us at DSCA look forward to continuing to serve the SC enterprise to help the U.S. government to tackle the national security and foreign policy challenges that lie ahead through the dedication and hard work of our nation’s SC professionals.

Yours in Strategic Partnership,
Heidi H. Grant