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US DoD eyes better training for arms sales staff

US Pentagon officials unveiled changes to improve the arms sales process. (Getty Images)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) plans to establish a Defense Security Cooperation Service to improve training for personnel who facilitate Foreign Military Sales (FMS), the Pentagon announced on 13 June.

Requests to buy US weapon systems sometimes get bogged down because they do not clearly state what a country wants, or they ask for something the US cannot provide, said Sasha Baker, deputy undersecretary of defence for policy. The new service will teach security co-operation officers how to help allies and partners develop requests that are more likely to receive approval.

β€œWe know we need to improve the department's front end understanding of ally and partner requirements,” Baker told reporters. β€œIn other words, if we put good information into the system at the front, we know it's more likely to result in a positive outcome on the back end.”

The new service will be similar to a training-focused entity that exists for US defence attaches. Many details need to be worked out for the new organisation, including when and where it will be set up and who will lead it, Baker said.

The service's creation is among several changes the DoD unveiled as part of an effort to streamline the FMS process, which many countries complain is cumbersome and slow. β€œWe've heard fairly regularly from partners and allies that FMS can be a pain point for them,” Baker added.

Other steps the DoD intends to take include incorporating ally and partner requirements into ongoing efforts to expand defence production capacity, and reviewing and updating policies for the release of technology to allies and partners.

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