International Cooperation in DoD Acquisition

The DoD 5000 series (DoDD 5000.01 and DoDI 5000.02) require acquisition managers to pursue international cooperation and exportability, develop systems that are interoperable with coalition partners, and identify potential technologies from both domestic and foreign sources. A key objective of international cooperation in acquisition is to reduce weapons system acquisition costs through cooperative development, production and support, Foreign Military Sales, and Direct Commercial Sales, in accordance with defense guidance. Program Managers shall pursue international cooperation in acquisition to the maximum extent feasible consistent with core business practices and with the overall political, economic, technological, and national security goals of the United States. Defense acquisition policy mandates that interoperability shall apply within and among U.S. Forces and U.S. coalition partners. A cooperative development program with one or more allied nations is preferred to a new joint Component or Government Agency development program, or a new DoD Component-unique development program. Cooperative development may lead to a cooperative production program, and common systems may lead to common in-service support agreements being established.

DoD Requirements Setting

Acquisition programs are initiated after a capability gap has been identified and validated. Under the Joint Integration Capability Development System (JCIDS) Directive (CJCSI 3170.01) and Manual, requirements sponsors identify threshold and objective requirements for a materiel solution. Once validated, the acquisition community uses these requirements to develop systems and platforms for the DoD end-users. As part of JCIDS, sponsors are required to identify the concept of operations and capability requirements that both protect the system and enable the solutions to complement Joint/Multinational warfighting forces, and assessments of domestic and foreign solutions before establishing the requirement document. These requirements are critical to design the system with the necessary elements (e.g. interoperability, protection) within the acquisition program.

DoD Acquisition Setting

International program aspects are monitored throughout the life of the program based on four major areas: foreign solutions, cooperative programs, sales and export (Foreign Military Sales (FMS)/Direct Commercial Sales (DCS)), and technology security/foreign disclosure. Title 10 U.S.C. 2350a (e) requires an analysis of potential international cooperative opportunities/exportability at the first major milestone or decision point, and at all major milestones, which is included in the program’s Technology Development Strategy (TDS) or Acquisition Strategy (AS). Following guidance in DoD Directive 5000.01, DoD Instruction 5000.02, and the Defense Acquisition Guidebook, IC makes recommendations on the cooperative opportunity and exportability potential of acquisition programs during acquisition documents reviews, and informs Milestone Decision Authority decisions at Milestone and Interim program review Defense Acquisition Boards (DABs). The assessment also includes looking for mature foreign solutions to save development costs, potential cooperation in areas of common interest, and interoperability to support U.S. and coalition forces. The Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) provides a TDS/AS outline, which requires acquisition strategies to address the following:

  • Limitations on foreign contractors being allowed to participate as prime contractors
  • Needs for system or subsystems to be interoperable with international partners
  • Plans for cooperative development with foreign governments
  • Plans to increase the opportunity for coalition interoperability
  • Using AT&L-developed template, provide a coalition interoperability section (using this template will satisfy the cooperative opportunities document requirement of 10 USC 2350a).
  • Potential or plans for Foreign Military and/or Direct Commercial Sale and the impact on program cost due to program protection and exportability features.