Challenges of International Cooperative Programs

  • Colonel Jonathan B. Slater

The United States will not go to war in the foreseeable future without allies and international partners by its side. It is critical for the Department of Defense (DoD) to continue to pursue International Cooperative programs to promote interoperability, improve logistics efficiencies, harness the best technological capabilities among allies, and reduce costs for systems procurement. This paper will discuss the DoD International Cooperation guidance, national power (Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic) aspects of international cooperative programs, international considerations, DoD acquisition policy, and Congressional actions needed to further support international cooperative programs. There are challenges in all of these areas that need to be considered by a program manager and the requirements owner to ensure that policy directives are balanced with needs of the user. Ultimately, international cooperative acquisition programs pose many benefits to all nations involved, such as reduced costs, better operational interoperability, and stronger alliances that warrant the additional efforts required to execute an international program.