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2022: Quarter 1 - November 15, 2021

ISG Brings the Principles of Defense Acquisition to Latin America and the Caribbean

Brooke Love Adame, International Defense Acquisition Resource Management (IDARM) and Tally Helfont, Strategic Communications and Outreach Lead

The United States has been working with Latin American and Caribbean partner nations to strengthen their defense capabilities; to enhance regional security; to build partner capacity to acquire, employ, and sustain defense articles; and to remain the partner of choice in an era of long-term strategic competition. In the 2021 US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) posture statement, USSOUTHCOM Commander Admiral Craig S. Faller highlighted the elevated threats in the region, citing the disproportionate impacts of the global pandemic that have compounded longstanding socioeconomic challenges and increased the region’s vulnerability to external state actors actively seeking “to exploit the region’s resources and proximity to the United States.” As a trusted partner and ally, the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) remains committed to partnering with the USSOUTHCOM-J5 and Department of State (DoS) to offer educational and advising Security Cooperation programs that enhance the region’s capability and capacity to effectively plan for and manage acquisition life cycle costs.

"As a trusted partner and ally, the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) remains committed to partnering with the USSOUTHCOM-J5 and Department of State (DoS) to offer educational and advising Security Cooperation programs that enhance the region’s capability and capacity to effectively plan for and manage acquisition life cycle costs."

For example, at the 2018 USSOUTHCOM/USNORTHCOM Security Cooperation Education and Training Working Group (SCETWG), DoS presented schoolhouse providers with an opportunity to propose educational offerings to Central America partners funded through the Central America Maritime Regional Initiative (CAMRI) Foreign Military Financing Case. ISG’s international defense acquisition and resource management experts seized upon the opportunity, recommending a progressive course series on defense acquisition for a cohort of students from Central America (including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama) over a period of two years. The proposal was welcomed by the partner nations, Security Cooperation Officers, DoS, and the SOUTHCOM J5 CAMRI Integrator.

The initial course series began in 2019, and primarily focused on an examination of the principles of defense acquisition management; contract management; supply chain and logistics management; and life cycle cost management. Project-based planning tools and program management strategies were provided to effectively plan for and respond to maritime maintenance challenges. Participants engaged in identifying challenges and opportunities to improve the logistics systems within their maritime forces. An overarching case study and working group exercises provided participants the opportunity to practically apply workshop concepts to a real-world scenario. Participants worked in small groups to exchange ideas and explore collaborative and innovative solutions, delivering presentations to highlight their accomplishments. An emphasis was placed on applying theoretical concepts to the national context of each participating nation in addition to identifying opportunities to overcome challenges and enhance regional collaboration.

Follow-on courses in 2020 were cancelled because of the global pandemic. However, ISG was able to reconfigure the program into a series of three-day, intensive, virtual workshops that would take place between June - September 2021. Twenty-four military participants from each of the CAMRI-eligible countries, including Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, were specifically selected to participate in this progressively tailored workshop series because of their current positions and ranks within their services.

Partnering with the USSOUTHCOM J-5 CAMRI Integrator to provide educational opportunities in Central America via CAMRI not only expanded ISG, Institutional Capacity Building (ICB), and Security Cooperation exposure within the region, but it has also enabled our valued partners to access much needed educational opportunities in defense acquisition, contracting, and logistics management. Apart from Belize, most partner nations participating in the workshop indicated an interest in programs that do not have an English Comprehension Level (ECL) requirement due to limited professional English language skills. Accordingly, for this workshop series, ISG’s international defense acquisition and resource management experts incorporated simultaneous interpretation in English/Spanish and Spanish translated written course materials so that partners could exchange ideas and fully participate in this educational opportunity in their native language. Positive participant feedback coupled with strong support from our partners at DoS and USSOUTHCOM highlight the continued demand and desire for educational programs that fulfill Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) ICB objectives in defense acquisition management and decision-making.

"Partnering with the USSOUTHCOM J-5 CAMRI Integrator to provide educational opportunities in Central America via CAMRI not only expanded ISG, Institutional Capacity Building (ICB), and Security Cooperation exposure within the region, but it has also enabled our valued partners to access much needed educational opportunities in defense acquisition, contracting, and logistics management."

ISG’s International Defense Acquisition Resource Management (IDARM) program will continue to support USSOUTHCOM and DoS by tailoring programs to meet the needs of the region and incorporate other annual professional development opportunities. These programs include regionally specific defense acquisition management in-residence courses for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Additionally, in partnership with the ISG Advising and Consulting Western Hemisphere Regional Program Lead, IDARM will support the development and implementation of a pilot bilateral program with El Salvador to support Resource Management and Capability Cost Estimation. Together, these multilateral educational programs and bilateral advising efforts are designed to complement and reinforce fundamental operations and sustainment considerations to support DSCA’s overarching mission of strengthening partnerships and institutional capacity with our valued partners.

For more information on IDARM programs within Latin America and the Caribbean, contact Course Director, Ms. Brooke Love Adame.

For more information on the functional areas covered in the CAMRI program, ISG has developed a series of concise papers designed to inform USG stakeholders and partners known as ICB Smart Sheets. These primers linked below discuss the specific challenge faced; the current state of the field; the role ICB plays in resolving these challenges; and ICB best practice recommendations related to Defense Acquisition and Building Enduring Logistics Institutions.