The Air Force is moving aggressively to comply with new certification requirements for military and civilian Airmen assigned to positions in the Security Cooperation Workforce.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, developed the requirements in response to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which directed the Defense Department to establish a Defense Security Cooperation Workforce Development Program. The program, to be managed by the DSCA director, has four key elements:
- Define the Security Cooperation Workforce: identify positions with SC responsibilities
- Establish a SCW professional certification program
- Establish and maintain a school to train, educate and certify the SCW
- Develop a mechanism for assigning qualified SC personnel to key SC positions
Under the new program, all members of the SC workforce require certification. The basic elements of the certification program include training, experience and continuous learning. There are four certification levels, basic to expert, and five areas of concentration, each of which aligns to competencies required by the SCW. Legacy workforce members can be certified at basic and intermediate levels as soon as they complete required training. Others need one year of experience per level.
The training and certification requirements include both web-based and in-class sessions. A major step in implementation occurred in September when DSCA opened the Defense Security Cooperation University. The school will play a central role in efforts to certify the workforce. For available courses, Certification Center, news and resources visit https://www.dscu.mil/.
The Air Force will manage requirements for the program out of the Programming and Resources Division, Policy and Programs Directorate, Undersecretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, or SAF/IAPR. IAPR has worked hard to get out in front of these requirements by developing an Air Force SCWD Flight Plan, SCWD position guidance and communicating with key stakeholders.
“We still have a ways to go in terms of fully integrating the certification requirements into our manpower and personnel systems of record, but DSCA has given us a great start with what they’ve built at DSCU and we feel we’re on the right track,” stated James Federwisch, IAPR division chief.
DSCA release their final guidelines for the program mid-December 2019. A voluntary one-year transition period begins in January 2020 with full implementation of the mandatory program beginning in January 2021.