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The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) works with many agencies in the Department of Defense and the Department of State to provide financing, resources and/or contractors for the sale of arms, defense technologies, training and other services to foreign governments. This agency was created to work towards security cooperation with other nations and has meant the controversial proliferation of arms and military training to non-democratic, oppressive governments. Prohibitions on arms sales and training are removed as they double international revenue for U.S. contractors and support U.S. national interests.


The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 authorized a variety of aid, including foreign military sales and international military training. Section 502B of this Act explicitly states that the U.S. may not assist governments involved in consistent gross human rights violations. However the president can waive this prohibition in “extraordinary circumstances.” The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 was created to limit and further regulate the sale of U.S. arms. This act also prohibited military assistance to countries in violation of nuclear weapons control. The “Leahy Amendments” are provisions to Congress’ annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Act that provide human rights-based restrictions for military sales or training assistance. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Public Law 107-57 suspended sanctions on and expedited military assistance to Pakistan and other previously marked countries as part of the Bush Administration’s efforts to fight terrorism.


What it Does  

FMS allows for the sale of U.S. defense equipment and services with the objective of strengthening bilateral relationships, protecting U.S. national interests and increasing interoperability of U.S. military forces with foreign allies. FMS also provides the training to operate and maintain sophisticated U.S. weapons. Weapons are given from the stock of arms the Department of Defense already has or new equipment through a U.S. contractor. FMS is conducted using cash or FMS financing (FMF)-Congressionally appropriated grants and loans given to foreign governments. FMS is operated by the Department of Defense on a no-profit, no-loss basis. Countries usually pay a fee price ($15,000 or 3.8% of item and service cost) for the articles or services to recoup costs to the United States to administer the program. A country can request to participate in this program by sending a Letter of Request (LOR) to the U.S. representative contact, who then forwards it to the Department of State Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The official LOR is sent to the Department of Defense Military Department, which then responds in the form of Price and Availability information or a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA). It is also required by law to publicly announce FMS major arms sales. The controversial participation of countries as part of the U.S. coalition to fight terrorism has led to the provision of military assistance to nations previously targeted as violators of human rights or nuclear weapons controls (Pakistan and India).
IMET is conducted solely on a grant basis and provides U.S. training of foreign military personnel. IMET was established in 1976 to provide leadership and management services to top foreign military officers from countries incapable of paying for training under the Foreign Assistance Act. The goal of the IMET is to allow the U.S. more influence diplomatically and militarily in foreign countries. Some of these countries receiving assistance are controversial because they cannot be categorized as friendly, democratic nations. These nations include Egypt, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.
Professional Military Education (PME) - Prepares military officers for leadership, although many students attend on an invitation basis only.
DSCA also houses the Department of Defense’s humanitarian programs as part of its security cooperation to provide regional stability and promote U.S. interests. The programs within the HDM provides emergency response, providing medical and infrastructure basic necessities along with providing U.S. trained forces to detect and eliminates mines. Foreign Disaster Relief and Emergency Response provides immediate assistance to crises such as the January 2008 Bolivian flood. Humanitarian Assistance Program was authorized by Congress in 1986 to transport Department of Defense non-lethal property and privately donated relief material. Recent humanitarian assistance programs include the building of a primary school in Rwanda or providing medical services to Haiti. The Humanitarian Mine Action program trains host nations in landmine clearance, mine risk education, and victims assistance. Armed forces members cannot participate in detection or clearance of mines unless authorized by a U.S. military operation.
Where Does the Money Go  

Stakeholders include:

Top Pentagon Contractors, FY 2006: Major Beneficiaries of the Bush Administration’s Military Buildup

(by William D. Hartung and Frida Berrigan, World Policy Institute) (PDF)



U.S. Arms Sales to Foreign Governments
U.S. arms policy and arms makers are controversial, as the increasing sale of military technologies finds its way to nations prohibited in the past due to gross human rights or nuclear weapons control violations.
U.S. Arms Sales to Pakistan (Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
Myths of Mideast Arms Sales (by William D. Hartung, New America Foundation)
Taking Defense’s Hand Out of State’s Pocket (by Walter Pincus, Washington Post)
Foreign Sales by U.S. Arms Makers Doubled in a Year (by Leslie Wayne, New York Times)
U.S. Weapons at War: Promoting Freedom or Fueling Conflict?: U.S. Military Aid and Arms Transfers Since September 11 (by Frida Berrigan and William D. Hartung, with Leslie Heffel, World Policy Institute)
Is What’s Good for Boeing and Halliburton Good for America?: New Data Shows How Contractors Are Cashing In On War On Terror (by William D. Hartung, Michelle Ciarrocca and Frida Berrigan, World Policy Institute)

Post Sept. 11 Arms Sales and Military Aid Demonstrate Dangerous Trend

(by Rachel Stohl, Center for Defense Information)


Suggested Reforms  
Congressional Oversight  

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations


Former Directors  

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Table of Contents

Founded: 2000
Annual Budget: $300 million. It manages $12 billion in foreign military sales.
Employees: 900 security personnel in 120 countries, and supervision of 12,000 international military students

Defense Security Cooperation Agency
Landay, William

Vice Admiral William E. “Bill” Landay III of the U.S. Navy has served as director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) since August 2010. The DSCA oversees the sale of arms, defense technologies, training and other services to foreign governments, which has put it in the awkward position of trying to increase profits for U.S. weapons makers even if some of the regimes are less than democratic.

Landay holds a Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy (1978). He also has a Master of Science degree in systems technology (C4I) from the Naval Postgraduate School, and is a graduate of the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. Also, Landay was the 1998-1999 Navy Fellow in the Defense Systems Management College, Military Research Fellowship Program. He is a level three certified acquisition professional and a proven subspecialist in C4I Systems.
His first naval assignment was as gunnery assistant and combat information center officer aboard the USS Hepburn. Subsequent sea tours included ship control officer aboard the USS Nicholas, commanding officer of the USS Aquila and commanding officer of the USS Paul Hamilton.
Ashore, Landay has served as a team training instructor and Harpoon course director at Fleet Combat Training Center, Pacific; and C4I program officer and executive assistant to the director of Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems at the U.S. Transportation Command. His acquisition tours included assignment as surface, strike and underwater warfare manager and fleet support officer in the Aegis Program Office; executive assistant to the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command; major program manager for fleet and lifetime support in the Program Executive Office for Theater Surface Combatants; and executive assistant and naval aide to John Young, the assistant secretary of the navy for research, development and acquisition.
In his first assignment as a flag officer, on February 27, 2004, Landay took over as the program executive officer for littoral and mine warfare.
In 2006, he became the 21st Chief of Naval Research. In January 2008, he also assumed the duties of the deputy commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps for science and technology and director of test and evaluation and technology requirements.
From August 2008 until taking over the leadership of DSCA, Landay was the program executive officer for ships, responsible for all non-nuclear shipbuilding programs.
He is married to Tess Landay.
Biography (Defense Security Cooperation Agency)
Biography (U.S. Navy)
Wieringa, Jeffrey
In his capacity as director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Vice Admiral Jeffrey A. Wieringa oversees the International Military Education and Training program. Wieringa was appointed director of DSCA on August 29, 2007. He entered the Naval Service in 1973 through the Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate Program. In 1975, he received a B.S. degree in Physics form Kansas State College. Prior to his appointment, Wieringa served as deputy assistant secretary to the Navy for International Programs and director of the Navy’s International Programs Office. He has served 34 active years in the Navy also serving as chief test pilot and chief engineer for naval aviation. During his active years, he flew 51 different types of aircraft with over 4,000 flight hours and 534 carrier landings. Wieringa also commanded the F/A-18 Program (PMA-265) to support the first combat deployment of the Super Hornet in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Official Bio