Security Assistance

Security Assistance is a group of programs, authorized under Title 22 of the U.S. Code, by which the U.S. government provides defense articles, military education and training, and other defense-related services to eligible foreign governments by grant, loan, credit, cash sales, or lease. The State Department supervises and directs the U.S. government's security assistance programs, in consultation and coordination with the Defense Department and other government entities.

The Secretary of Defense establishes military requirements and implements programs to transfer defense articles and services to eligible foreign countries and international organizations. Within the Defense Department, the principal responsible agencies for Security Cooperation are:
  • the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA),
  • the Geographic Combatant Commands (CCMDs),
  • the Joint Staff,
  • the Security Cooperation Organizations (SCOs), and
  • the Military Departments (MILDEPs), including the U.S. Army.
DASA (DE&C) leads the U.S. Army Security Assistance Enterprise (ASAE) -- the collective Army organizations involved in security assistance -- providing leadership, resource management and policy oversight for Foreign Military Sales (FMS), International Military Education and Training (IMET), and Department of Defense global train-and-equip missions.

Procurement Programs

Foreign Military Sales

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) administers the FMS program. The purchasing government pays all costs associated with a sale. Under the program, military articles and services, including training, may be provided from existing Defense Department stocks or from new procurement.

DASA (DE&C)'s Regional Desk Officers facilitate U.S. Army FMS programs by processing the necessary policy approvals from U.S. Army, Defense Department and interagency counterparts to ensure compliance with National Security Policy and guidance, and protect U.S. technologies from being transferred to unauthorized parties. Desk officers seek U.S. Army and other sourcing solutions to meet Combatant Command-validated urgent operational requirements and partner nations' delivery timelines; maintain continuous oversight of highly visible/sensitive cases to optimize opportunities to achieve successful outcomes; and play a pivotal role in fostering relationships with all stakeholders.

Excess Defense Articles (EDA)

Under the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) section 516, once the U.S. Army deems an article to be excess to its requirements, such articles may be available to eligible foreign countries as EDA on an "as-is, where-is" basis, meaning that the purchasing country is required to pay for any refurbishment or transportation costs associated with the acquisition. EDA is an extremely effective program, as it allows the U.S. Army to provide valued defense articles to our partners while reducing costs.

Foreign Military Construction Services (FMCS)

FMCS is a program administered by DSCA and authorized by the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) Section 29 and includes the sale of design and construction services by the U.S. government to eligible purchasers. The construction sales agreement and sales procedures generally parallel those of FMS and are usually implemented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

International Military Education and Training (IMET)

The IMET program provides financial assistance for training selected foreign military and civilian personnel in the U.S. and some overseas facilities. Recipient countries rely on this grant program and it often serves as the only method to receive training from the U.S. military. At a time of declining defense and foreign aid budgets, IMET advances U.S. objectives on a global scale at a relatively small cost.

More than 12,000 International Military Students (IMS) attend training at U.S. Army institutions annually alongside their U.S. counterparts providing not only the best training available, but an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of U.S. values and society and develop enduring social and professional bonds with U.S. counterparts. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Security Assistance Training Field Activity (SATFA) manages foreign military training at U.S. Army institutions.

Training and Technical Assistance Teams

The U.S. Army provides military training to allies and partners at U.S. Army training institutions and by deploying training and assistance teams to the foreign countries. These teams are deployed to foreign countries on a short- or long-term basis depending on the requirements of the FMS case. Teams can be composed of active duty military and civilian personnel and/or contractors depending on case requirements and organizational capability.

Financing Programs

Foreign Military Financing Program (FMFP)

FMFP is a program administered by DSCA which consists of Congressionally-appropriated grants and loans, which enable eligible foreign governments to purchase U.S. defense articles, services and training through either FMS or Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) under the provisions of AECA sections 23 and 24.


The AECA Chapter 6, authorizes the U.S. Army to lease defense articles to friendly governments or international organizations for up to five years (renewable). The law allows the lease of defense articles only for compelling foreign policy or national security reasons and stipulates that the full cost of the lease, with some exceptions, must be borne by the recipient. Leases may be cheaper for the recipient country than purchasing the article outright and can provide a convenient method of obtaining defense articles for temporary use. Lease agreements are associated with an FMS case covering repair, training, supply support and transportation when required.

Special Programs

Drawdowns & Special Presidential Waiver Authority

During a crisis, FAA section 506 authorizes the President to provide U.S. government articles, services and training to friendly countries and international organizations at no cost, to include transportation, spares and training. There is a $100 million ceiling per fiscal year on articles, services and training provided for military purposes and another fiscal year ceiling of $200 million for articles, services and training required for non-military purposes. When emergency support for peacekeeping operations is required, FAA section 552(c)(2) separately authorizes the President to drawdown up to $25 million per fiscal year in articles and services from any agency.

Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)

PKO is an appropriated program authorized by chapter 6 of part II of the FAA. PKO has provided funds to support peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans, East Timor, sub-Saharan Africa and lately in the Darfur region of the Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia.

International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE)

The INCLE program is a grant program administered by the State Department and authorized by FAA section 481 to suppress the worldwide illicit manufacture and trafficking of narcotic and psychotropic drugs, money laundering, precursor chemical diversion and the progressive elimination of the illicit cultivation of the applicable crops. This program can include the purchase of defense articles, services and training, similar to other programs within the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security.

Third Party Transfer (TPT) and Retransfers/Reexports

Partners nations who acquire U.S. Army defense articles may want to permanently transfer them to another country because they are excess to their needs, or temporarily transfer them to other partner nations or to entities within their own country (e.g., for modification, participation exercises, training, etc.). All such transfers must be approved by the State Department via the TPT process. TPTs for U.S. Army equipment are sent from the State Department to DASA (DE&C) for technology security/policy review and recommendation.