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Posted: Mar 12, 2024

Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) is an art more than a science. From a definitional standpoint, it encompasses Security Cooperation activities that directly support partner nation efforts to improve security sector governance and core management competencies needed to achieve shared security objectives.

From a practical standpoint, it involves a myriad of soft skills combined with a deep knowledge base to arrive at a strategically driven, problem focused, partner centric plan to build partner capacity responsibly and sustainably. 

Some of those soft skills may include relationship and trust building; agility and adaptive thinking; patience and pacing; active listening; strong verbal communications and an ability to adapt to non-native English communication; awareness of non-verbal and culture-specific cues; and iterative thinking beyond best practices (nimble tailoring).

Some of those knowledge bases may include a deep understanding of the United States Government, the U.S. military, Foreign Military Sales/ Foreign Military Financing; a nuanced understanding of the partner’s will and ability; awareness of the partner’s historical, cultural, and geo-political context; and the ability to quickly learn about the partner’s governmental and military structure, its military assets and capabilities.

As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. This photo, which captures ISG and DoS experts alongside their Brazilian Escola Superior de Defesa counterparts – hard at work, side-by-side, assisted by interpretation services, to enhance Brazil’s ability to engage in sustainable, repeatable, and accurate Capability Based Planning – is the embodiment of those soft skills and knowledge bases, mutually employed to achieve bilateral objectives.