Security Assistance Survey Teams (AECA, Section 26 )


  1. General

    1. The Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) coordinates DoD actions on surveys to assess country or international organization capabilities and future needs. This includes the interface with DoS and other agencies. Survey actions, including personnel details, are also coordinated with the Joint Staff and DSCA.

    2. The decision to dispatch a survey team includes an assessment of the U.S. and country impact on funding for the program on which the survey is conducted, the program’s regional arms control implications, interface with current arms sales policies, and pertinent data beyond strictly military considerations, such as human rights factors. This information is reflected in the Terms of Reference (TORs) developed by the combatant command/lead agency and provided to the team.

    3. Teams normally are led by DoD with DoS invited to provide a deputy team chief of roughly comparable rank/grade. MILDEP affiliation is determined by the survey purpose. For surveys to meet a requirement rather than to evaluate overall capabilities, the lead agency is identified during initial staffing of the requirement. When a joint team is required, the team chief is determined on the basis of the MILDEP having predominant interest. DoD participation is limited to the minimum number required to effectively gather the technical information necessary to ensure the success of the survey. The Secretary of State has the final authority to rule on the survey team participation by agencies other than DoD, although these decisions normally are reached by DoD/DoS consensus. Concerns of other agencies are carefully considered in determining team composition.

    4. DSCA, based on AECA, section 26(b) and as part of the overall AECA, section 36(a) quarterly report to Congress, includes a list of Security Assistance surveys authorized during the preceding calendar quarter. The report includes the following information: country surveyed, dates of survey, purpose of survey, and number of USG personnel participating.

      1. The lead MILDEP is responsible for submitting the report to DSCA (Directorate of Business Operations (DBO)) no later than 30 days after the end of each quarter. The report identifies Security Assistance surveys conducted during the preceding quarter. Negative reports are required.

      2. DSCA reviews each submission and provides a consolidated report with the quarterly report to Congress.

    5. Necessary staffing is accomplished before finalization of survey reports to ensure each report reflects a coordinated USG position. Coordination with DSCA is required for each draft survey report within 30 days of the return of the team to the U.S. Consistent with AECA, section 26(c), individual survey reports should not be provided to Congress upon request. The lead MILDEP ensures that a copy of each such request is forwarded to the Director, DSCA, for submission to Congress.

  2. Terms of Reference (TORs)

    1. Security Assistance Survey Teams will:

      1. Report to the U.S. Ambassador or, in his or her absence, the Charge d’Affaires, upon arrival in country and serve under the overall supervision of the Ambassador. Formal consultations with the host nation are conducted subject to the concurrence of the Ambassador, with the participation of such Embassy staff as he or she may direct (the SCO is normally the coordination office within the mission). Prior to departure, the team briefs the Ambassador as well as the SCO on preliminary conclusions. Additionally, the team considers, on a case-by-case basis, whether its evaluation warrants leaving an interim report with the host nation upon departure.

      2. Ensure recommendations reflect the total package approach concept including end-items, ancillary equipment, training, ammunition, and logistics. Recommendations are not necessarily based on U.S. force solutions. At least three levels of funding alternatives should be presented in the report.

      3. Evaluate the military manpower base, its capacity, the existing logistics support capability, the capability of the country to prevent compromise of sensitive data and equipment, training requirements, and compatibility of recommended equipment with the host nation’s current inventory.

      4. Debrief the respective Combatant Command on preliminary findings prior to its return to the United States

    2. Security Assistance Survey Teams must avoid:

      1. Making comments to host governments concerning possible availability of USG resources in any form.

      2. Providing the host government any Price and Availability (P&A) data, DoD lead times on equipment, or indicate prospects for accelerated deliveries. P&A or Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) data estimates can only be provided through channels and procedures described in Chapter 5. The team may provide general orders of magnitude information for illustrative purposes.

      3. Committing the USG to the sale of any specific defense article or service.

      4. Providing any possible indication that the USG would assist in construction of airfields, camps, or other military facilities.

      5. Providing any kind of independent assessment or confirmation of the external threat as perceived by the host nation. Release of classified information is in accordance with the National Disclosure Policy (NDP-1).

      6. Providing military advice concerning tactics, doctrine, basing, combat planning, or operations.

      7. Making commitments to follow-up technical discussion or further surveys.

      8. Except as discussed in II.A.1 above, providing the host nation with an interim report.

  3. Security Assistance Survey Team Procedures

    1. Security Assistance Survey could be a result of the country requesting for a significant defense purchase, or requesting the USG’s survey of its defensive capabilities and requirements. The USG may, at its own initiative, propose a survey team.

    2. The normal response to the initial request for a survey is that the scope of the request requires review before a decision on the survey can be given. A comprehensive review of current defense sales restraint policies, regional arms control considerations, potential economic impacts, and human rights implications of defense sales are then initiated.

    3. DoS and DoD review the defense sales request within the context of policy guidance, highlighting areas requiring policy decisions. DoD prepares a preliminary assessment of the availability of the requested equipment or services, as well as the requesting nation’s requirement for and technical ability to absorb the items in question. DoS reviews the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) situation for the host nation, where applicable. Any statement regarding FMF beyond the current fiscal year’s approved budget must receive Executive Office clearance by the National Security Staff (NSS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Future financing contributions can only be made in accordance with prevailing procedures.

    4. DoS and the Agency for International Development (AID) estimate the extent of the ability of the host nation to devote its economic resources to defense purchases without harmful effect on the host nation economy. Needs for additional information are identified during this review.

    5. Simultaneously with the above review, the U.S. Embassy is instructed by DoS to contact appropriate host nation ministries to ascertain the extent to which the host nation is willing to commit its own resources to military purposes over the next 3 to 5 years, noting that financial parameters are essential ingredients in a realistic survey effort.

    6. The Director, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is requested to produce an interagency threat assessment.

    7. Information gathered above is incorporated by DoS into an Action Memorandum to the Secretary of State, coordinated with DoD, OMB, and NSS, to determine:

      1. Whether to send a survey team; and

      2. The mission of the team. If a decision is made to send the team prior to completion of the information gathering process outlined above, as many of the steps as possible must be completed prior to the departure of the team. Affirmative decisions are reported to Congress by DSCA as required by AECA, section 26(b).

    8. If the decision is made to dispatch a survey team, TORs and team composition are developed by DoD in coordination with DoS and AID, if appropriate. The NSS and OMB must clear the TORs and team composition. The U.S. Embassy ensures that the government of the country to be surveyed understands and accepts the projected scope. If a decision is made not to dispatch the survey team, the U.S. Embassy, by direction of DoS, conveys this decision to the government, with rationale.

    9. Pre-departure briefings for Security Assistance survey teams include:

      1. Scope and mission of the survey, Congressional or legal considerations, and arms control considerations (DoS/DoD).

      2. Condition of the host nation economy (DoS/AID).

      3. Political situation in the host nation and personal conduct in-country (DoS).

      4. Threat assessment and armed forces (CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)).

    10. In-country gathering of information. The survey is conducted in accordance with the TORs.

    11. Within 10 duty days after returning to the continental United States (CONUS), a preliminary briefing is given by the team chief to appropriate DoS, DoD, AID, NSS, OMB, CIA, and DIA personnel, with special attention to issues requiring high-level policy review.

    12. Within 30 days of return to CONUS, the team provides the draft report for review.

    13. All appropriate agencies simultaneously review the draft report. The Arms Transfer Management Group (ATMG) serves as the interagency forum for the coordination of the report and the formulation of policy issues (ATMG is an interagency board, chaired by the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology, which serves to advise the Secretary of State on matters relating to security assistance program funding levels and arms transfer policies.) The NSC staff, as necessary, reviews the survey findings and makes recommendations to the President.

    14. The approved report is presented to the host nation and to Congress, if requested, pursuant to AECA, section 26(c).