DoDD 5530.3 governs international agreements, and specifically prohibits DoD personnel from initiating or conducting negotiations of an international agreement without the prior written approval of the appropriate DoD official. In the case of cooperative RDT&E and cooperative production programs, this authority lies within USD(A&S), delegated to Director, International Cooperation. International Agreements (IAs) are the formal agreements between cooperating nations that delineate respective commitments and responsibilities.

The Department of Defense has a highly structured process governing the development, negotiation, coordination, and implementation of cooperative international agreements (IAs), also known as Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) or Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs), Projects Agreements and Arrangements (PAs), and Equipment and Material Transfer Arrangements (E&MTAs). IAs are used to establish information exchanges, personnel exchanges and assignments, E&MTAs, cooperative research, development, test and evaluation projects, cooperative acquisitions, cooperative production (including licensed coproduction), or cooperative or reciprocal logistics support. IAs document the agreement between the U.S. and one or more foreign partners when the cooperative activity includes a commitment of resources – funds, equipment, labor, information or action. U.S. legal authorities vary based on the scope of the IA and the partner(s) involved, but include Titles 22 U.S.C. 2767, 10 U.S.C. 2350(a), 10 U.S.C. 2350(l), 10 U.S.C. 2358, and 22 U.S.C. 2796d (AECA Section 65).

Development and execution of international agreements must be consistent with DoD Directive 5530.3, DoDI 5000.02, and the Defense Acquisition Guidebook.  Any international agreement between the U.S. and another nation constitutes a commitment binding in international law on the part of the U.S. and the foreign government. Such agreements obligate both governments to provide funds or other resources, or to perform certain activities. The clearly defined IA authorization and approval process ensures that the U.S. only commits to a course of action that is implementable and in its best interest.
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