DSCA Director's Blog

Here you will find thoughts and messages from the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and his staff.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Americans have a lot to be thankful for. In spite of the fact that we have combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a stressed economy and significant unemployment, we enjoy a safe and secure homeland.

As I travel around the world, it is good to come home and enjoy what we have.

Now, as we pause to give thanks for all we do have, it is particularly important to thank our men and women both in and out of uniform around the world contributing to our safety and security.

So, here is my most personal thanks to those serving our country and our global partners, with special thanks to those in the security cooperation community serving our country by strengthening our global partners.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

H1N1 Risk to Continuity of Operations

Several months ago, I admitted to our leadership team, after considering the impending risk of an H1N1 pandemic, I was very uncomfortable with our preparedness to deal with this threat.

Our strategy directorate conducted research and facilitated a table-top exercise. This effort resulted in some exceptional pre-mishap planning, including clarification of trigger levels that initiate leadership and team actions. Action plans were also laid out and clarified.

A key challenge faced by the team was that in any one week, DSCA personnel can be spread around the world. This makes gathering accurate organizational data daunting. Yet, on a daily basis, we know, by desk location, if there is an H1N1 illness. We can then track the world for potential travel plans.

What was most remarkable was to watch a trustworthy and motivated leadership in action displaying a diversity of thoughts, as they worked through the measure/countermeasure options to an effective strategy remarkably different than what we started with.

It is yet another remarkable example of what the DSCA team can accomplish with trust, talent, tactical information, communication, and action.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Transitioning to 2010

As we transition into Fiscal Year 2010, I’ve identified three priority issues that need to be resolved as we move toward the agency’s strategic goals.

First is the world-wide review of the security cooperation staffing requirements. This effort has only just begun, yet we intend to be complete in about 6 months.

Second is ensuring at least 95% of the folks who work in the domain of security cooperation are trained. Historically, my instincts tell me it was not that much of an issue – but now, with an explosion in scope, it is an issue. About a month ago, as I looked at the data, nearly half of the folks forward in Iraq and Afghanistan working security cooperation have no experience and no training. One of our first challenges is to clarify which billets require what security cooperation training. We have begun that task, but like many things, it is more complicated than it appears at first glance.

Our third priority is to operationalize our strategic plan. Several weeks ago, I signed the Strategic Plan. Our Chief Performance Officer Freda Lodge wanted to go beyond that. So, over the past few months, each of the directorates in DSCA developed detailed action plans on how they would execute their part of the Strategic Plan. Last week, the DSCA leadership team traveled to an off-site and reviewed, critiqued, and made recommendations. We left, inspired, energized, and determined to operationalize the Strategic Plan. I look forward to keeping you appraised of our progress.