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DSCA’s Institutional Programs

Defense Institution Building and Humanitarian Assistance – DSCA’s Institutional Programs

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA’s) Institutional Programs provide immense return on investment. Funded by a mix of appropriations, they reach out across the globe to improve the capacity, capability, and transparency of emerging and developing defense institutions, and address a broad array of humanitarian needs in partner nations and beyond.

The collective effect of the Institutional Programs is measurable in both short- and long-term efforts, ranging from disaster mitigation and mine-risk education to crafting defense policy and improving interoperability. They represent a more nuanced layer of engagement in support of U.S. foreign policy, complementing and augmenting other more narrowly focused programs DSCA manages.

Lt. Brad Mirkovich, from the 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, plots coordinates with his multinational counterparts from Armenia, Georgia, and Romania during Saber Guardian 2013, a U.S. European Command Black Sea regional exercise planned and executed by Romanian land forces and U.S. Army Europe, April 21, 2013. This was the first time these Black Sea regional countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) came together to train and exercise their battlestaff and command post procedures at one location. Serbian and Polish land forces were also participating to enhance their relationships with these Black Sea countries. There are more than 150 training audience members, support staff, and contractors supporting the training at the Romanian Land Forces Combat Training Center in Cincu, Romania, from April 15-25. U.S. Army photo by Richard Bumgardne

Lt. Brad Mirkovich, from the 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, plots coordinates with his multinational counterparts from Armenia, Georgia, and Romania during Saber Guardian 2013, a U.S. European Command Black Sea regional exercise planned and executed by Romanian land forces and U.S. Army Europe, April 21, 2013. This was the first time these Black Sea regional countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) came together to train and exercise their battlestaff and command post procedures at one location. Serbian and Polish land forces were also participating to enhance their relationships with these Black Sea countries. There are more than 150 training audience members, support staff, and contractors supporting the training at the Romanian Land Forces Combat Training Center in Cincu, Romania, from April 15-25. U.S. Army photo by Richard Bumgardne

“They’re geared toward long-term soft power engagement at the ministerial level,” Programs Deputy for Centers Management James Miner said of the Defense Institution Building (DIB) programs.

DSCA supports the work of improving the defense acumen and defense policy world via four primary programs; the Department of Defense (DoD) Regional Centers, the Warsaw Initiative Fund, the Defense Institution Reform Initiative, and the Ministry of Defense Advisors Program.

DoD Regional Centers

Bringing strategic level military and civilian leaders together at international venues for bilateral and multilateral study, communication, and exchange of ideas has been the central mission of the Department of Defense’s Regional Centers for Security Studies since their formation in the 1990s.

The five regional centers – the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), the Near-East South Asia Center (NESA), the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS), the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC) – align under the DSCA umbrella, with the agency serving as the “executive agent” for the organizations.

Staffed by a combination of academic, governmental, diplomatic, and military practitioners from the United States and their respective regions, the centers are led by senior officials within DoD.

Essentially, DSCA provides daily oversight for the centers, overseeing programming, budgeting, and financial management of the resources necessary to support their operations. The centers receive policy guidance from the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)) via the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Security Cooperation as well as the Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense for regional areas covered by the centers.  The centers also work closely with their respective Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs).

Participants engage in a range of courses, seminars, workshops, research and dynamic outreach in an educational environment aimed at creating and expanding a network of alumni among U.S. and foreign military, civilian, and non-government actors.

Resident programs conducted at the centers not only provide academic instruction, they leverage the opportunity for participants to gain an American cultural experience at the same time. Alternately, regional in-theater programs provide unique “outreach” opportunities to understand regional challenges and concerns and tailor the content of seminars, courses, and workshops.

Staffed by a combination of academic, governmental, diplomatic, and military practitioners from the United States and their respective regions, the centers are led by senior officials within DoD.

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Jan Tegler is a writer/broadcaster from Severna Park, Md. His work appears in a variety...