By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (May 06, 2020) -- Strengthening alliances and attracting new partners is one of the National Defense Strategy's lines of effort, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency is a large part of that effort.
Attracting new partners doesn't get as much discussion as it should, but that doesn't mean the Defense Department or DSCA hasn't been effective in meeting the requirement, the agency's director said.
"The initial instructions that I received upon taking this position were, we were to push forward and adhere to line of effort two in the National Defense Strategy, which is, strengthening alliances and attracting new partners," Army Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper said during a discussion with the Atlantic Council yesterday.
Hooper said attracting new partners is something DSCA takes as seriously as every other mission for which it is responsible, and that the U.S. effort at growing alliance relations is strong.
"I will tell you that I've seen a strengthening of our existing alliances and relationships," he said. "And I'm proud to say that I've seen efforts by countries not normally aligned with the United States that are moving in our direction to align with us. I've seen us attracting new partners. So I'm very optimistic about it. I think it's strong, and I think it's so strong that we're attracting new partners."
One reason, Hooper said, is the way the United States conducts partnership agreements, noting that DSCA operations are driven by four principles: transparency, responsiveness, integrity and commitment.
"Transparency in everything that we do. ... The United States is the only great power where the entire menu and procedure for procuring weapons and equipment is online and a matter of public domain and public record," he said.
The United States also is fast in responding to partner needs, he said, and conducts relations with an integrity that's unmatched by other potential partners.
"The integrity of the U.S. approach to security cooperation ... is virtually incorruptible," the general said. "I like to tell many of my interlocutors, counterparts and defense ministers that I deal with [that] when you do business with the United States, the books are always open for inspection."
The U.S. approach to partnership differs from other great powers in that the United States enters relations with partner and allied nations with more than simple sales or profit in mind, Hooper said, adding that the United States enters such partnerships with long-term relations in mind.
"I think that that is one of the most unique characteristics of this very American approach to security cooperation," he said.