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ISG IDARM team conducts “Principles of Defense Acquisition Management” Resident Course

Samantha Schwellenbach, edited Ellen Shipitalo

Posted: Apr 6, 2020

The Institute for Security Governance (ISG) International Defense Acquisition Resource Management (IDARM) team convened a two-week resident course entitled “Principles of Defense Acquisition Management” from 24 February – 6 March 2020. Hosted at ISG headquarters in Monterey, California, instructors worked alongside participants to explore both the theoretical and practical aspects of defense acquisition and logistics decision making.

ISG-IDARM’s approach to the subject matter is unique, focusing on international best practices in a multilateral, discussion-based course environment. Twenty-two military officers and government officials from Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Latvia, Lebanon, Oman, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Rwanda, Tunisia, and Uganda were able to share their experiences in a wide range of defense acquisition management fields including finance, legal, logistics, contracting, and foreign military sales (FMS) case management.

Group photo in front of Herrmann Hall

This diverse set of individuals came together to examine the defense acquisition cycle from capabilities-based planning through disposal of defense equipment. The curriculum highlighted the challenges of program implementation and weapon system sustainment with an emphasis on exploring solutions that can be tailored to national context. Key concepts were applied to a defense acquisition case study throughout, culminating in briefs from four participant working groups. One individual remarked on the value of the continued working-group engagement, stating that “working with officers from different backgrounds, cultures, competences, languages, and different levels of experience offered a huge learning opportunity.”

In addition to the working group briefs, participants took the lead in crafting original presentations detailing successes and challenges with their own national acquisition and logistics decision making systems—ensuring that participants were able to learn from one another. “Principles of Defense Acquisition Management” also incorporated Field Studies Program (FSP) activities, which enhanced the curriculum by further fostering interpersonal relationships and providing international military and civilian students a better understanding of American culture.

Three women and two men working together behind a laptop

The course was led by ISG-IDARM’s in-house faculty team, which is comprised of academics and practitioners that regularly create and deliver curriculum both in resident activities and on Mobile Education Teams (METs). Resident courses also offer the opportunity to include a variety of guest lecturers and subject matter experts from the Naval Postgraduate School of Defense Management (GSDM), international military universities, think tanks, and defense industry.

Instructor presenting to group in front of projection screen

Participants returned home with tools to enhance and improve defense acquisition management processes in their respective countries and a network of colleagues who are passionate about this important work. One course participant reflected on their experience with ISG-IDARM in Monterey as “the most rich and valuable program I have ever attended. I find it very useful in concept, procedures and practice.” The next iteration of "Principles of Defense Acquisition Management” (MASL P159200) is scheduled for 19-30 October 2020. All course programming is managed through the U.S. Embassy Security Cooperation Offices (SCOs) and the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity(NETSAFA).

Participants on a beach