The Overseas course (SCM-O) is designed to meet the educational requirements of U.S. security cooperation organization (SCO) personnel and geographic combatant command (CCMD) staff personnel directly supporting SCOs. The objective of this course is for the student to attain a working knowledge of SCO-relevant security cooperation (SC) policies and procedures. Graduates will have the basic skills to effectively implement SC aspects of U.S. foreign policy.
All students are required to attend the core portion of the course (4 weeks). All students identified by their sponsoring CCMD to participate in this course will attend specialized electives during Days 8 through 19 of the core course. In addition, select students will be required to attend additional training in the National Capital Region (NCR), sponsored by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
Core Instruction is provided on:
- The general interrelated aspects of security cooperation (SC) and security assistance (SA) at the field (SCO) and operational (CCMD) level. DoD Directive 5132.03 (DoD Policy and Responsibilities Relating to Security Cooperation) defines SC as “all DoD interactions with foreign defense establishments to build defense relationships that promote specific U.S. security interests, develop allied and partner nation military and security capabilities for self-defense and multinational operations, and provide U.S. forces with peacetime and contingency access to allied and partner nations.” This course therefore provides practical knowledge and hands-on training designed to enable students to plan, program, and assist in the execution of these interactions within DoD’s regional theaters of operation.
- The detailed specifics of working in an embassy environment, managing budget and other resources within the SCO, using SC databases, carrying out field-level international training management responsibilities, and executing SCO operational requirements.
- The geographic focus area of the student’s follow-on assignment. This includes instruction on SC-related regional/country-specific political, military, economic, geographic, security, and cultural topics impacting the historic and current defense relationships of the United States.
Specialized training for selected students is provided on:
- Advanced international training management.
- Advanced SCO resource management.
- The preparation of letters of request (LORs)/memoranda of request (MORs), the conduct of end-use monitoring (EUM), and financial billing procedures related to Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program cases.
The course includes platform lecture, seminars, and practical exercises. Instruction is provided by DISCS faculty members and guest lecturers who may include senior DoD officials as well as the representatives of other USG agencies, civilian universities, and private organizations.
This course meets International Program Security (IPS) training requirements of DoD Directive 5230.20 (Visits and Assignments of Foreign Nationals).
SDO/DATTs SCO Chiefs, Section Chiefs, FAOs, and Chiefs of Staff/Operations will per the JMD attend an Orientation in Washington DC immediately following the SCM-O course. The orientation will include consultations and briefings with Joint Staff, DoS, DASD (SC), DSCA, DTSA, OSD (P), OSD (AT&L), DoC, USTRANSCOM, DLA, and others supporting the security cooperation mission.
- Personnel selected for attendance should be assigned or pending assignment to SC management positions in SCOs or Defense Attaché Offices (DAOs) overseas, geographic combatant commands (CCMDs), or CCMD component commands. Students must have at least one year remaining in their assignment to be eligible for DISCS training. Exceptions to this standard require the approval of the DISCS Commandant.
- SCO and Defense Attaché Office (DAO) personnel with responsibilities related to SC management are required by DoD Instruction 5132.13 (Staffing of Security Cooperation Organizations and the Selection and Training of Security Cooperation Personnel) to complete this course; attendance at DISCS is mandatory, unless the course has been completed satisfactorily within the previous five years. Senior Defense Officials/Defense Attachés (SDO/DATTs) shall, if in the grade of O-6 or below, attend the SCM-O at DISCS. SDO/DATTs in the grade of O-7 and above should attend the SCM-E at DISCS. Any waiver for the requirement to attend must be submitted in accordance with the procedures in the following document:
- U.S. Government employees and contractor equivalents are eligible for attendance.
- Spouses/adult dependents of students are welcome to attend SCM-O, space permitting. Contact the DISCS Registrar’s Office to determine if space is available. Participation in unclassified portions of the regional seminar curriculum pertaining to historical, political, economic, social, religious, and cultural issues is, in fact, recommended for adult dependents. In addition, the DISCS Library has current holdings on these subjects, including audio-visual media, available for use by both students and their dependents. However, DISCS assumes no financial responsibility for travel costs or living expenses for dependents accompanying students.
- Note for personnel deploying to the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A): All personnel assigned to CSTC-A will attend Afghanistan-specific curriculum during the SCM-O. Attendance for CSTC-A personnel is determined by the CSTC-A reach back cell in Washington, D.C.
Members of the security cooperation (SC) workforce with extensive SC experience may qualify for "constructive credit" for SCM-O. See “Academic Info/Programs: Constructive Credit” on the DISCS home page for further details.
Requests for waivers
Requests for waivers of the above criteria will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Director of Instruction (DISCS/DI).
While there are no formal prerequisites for this course, prior to arrival at DISCS, students designated for assignment to SCOs are strongly encouraged to review the
online lesson entitled, "Security Cooperation Organization (SCO) Personal Entitlements." This lesson should take approximately
one hour to complete. This training is not applicable for students assigned to Iraq and Afghanistan. This learning guide is available on
the DISCS website (http://www.discs.dsca.mil/). All students should review Chapters 1, 2, and 4 in the online version of the DISCS textbook, also available on the DISCS website, in preparation for Day 1 academics.
Organizations approving enrollment in this course for a student must validate that the student requires a SAN account and is in compliance with all U.S. Government computer access requirements appropriate for this student.
The following on-line learning guides are required for course completion; completion prior to arrival to the course is highly encouraged:
- Civilian Diplomatic Attire
- Introduction to Protocol
- Dealing with the Press
- SCO Personnel Entitlements
- Visitor Management
- Overseas Crisis Readiness
English Comprehension Level
Not applicable to this course.
Continuous Learning Points
Graduates of this course may use the hours associated as Continuous Learning Points (CLPs, CEPs, etc.) for various professional development programs.
- 109 Defense Acquisition Workforce Continuous Learning Points
- 1.5 Financial Management Workforce Continuous Education and Training requirements
Detailed information can be found at Continuous Learning Points.
College Credit Information
The Office of Educational Credit of the American Council on Education (ACE) has evaluated the SCM-O course and recommended credit for three semester hours of upper division baccalaureate credit in business administration or international business administration. This recommendation is published as course code DD-1408-0038 in the ACE's annual Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services, the standard reference for determining transfer credits among U.S. institutions of higher learning. Students who wish to claim this credit should consult the DISCS Registrar’s Office after arrival.
Please visit the Ace Equivalency Course Information page to see the American Council on Education recommendation for this course.
Security Cooperation Workforce Development (SCWD) Database
Requests for DISCS courses will be compared with individual training requirements prescribed by organizations within the Security Cooperation Workforce Development (SCWD) Database. Military service quota managers and supervisors endorsing training requests should validate individual training requests from the SCWD Database prior to submitting a student nomination for training. Requests for training above the required level for the prospective student’s position will be allocated on a “space available” basis. DISCS may also “bump” requests for “desired” training to accommodate “required” training as designated within the SCWD Database. For further information on the SCWD Database please contact your military service/agency POC, your organizational quota manager or the Registrar.
SCWD Database levels of training are:
- Level One - Security Cooperation Familiarization (online training)
- Level Two - Security Cooperation Orientation Course (primarily online training)
- Level Three - Security Cooperation Management courses (resident and non-resident)
- Level Four - Security Cooperation advanced courses (resident)
SCM-O is a Level THREE Course.
A SECRET clearance is required for all students attending the SCM-O.
Spouses without a clearance can attend select lessons.
Classes and Hours
SCM-O is a four-to-five week course divided into two phases. Phase I lasts four weeks and consists of core courses and specialized training conducted at the DISCS facility at Wright-Patterson AFB; Phase II consists of an orientation course with various U.S. Government agencies, primarily DSCA, in Washington, D.C. in the fifth week (for select students). Students headed to Iraq and Afghanistan should plan on attending Phase I only unless informed differently. The following paragraphs describe the Phases in more detail.
This consists of 19 days of core and specialized instruction for all students, designed to familiarize them with the key concepts, entities, legislation, policies, programs, procedures, and systems involved in security assistance and security cooperation, and, addresses the daily internal management and operational duties associated with SCOs. This phase consists of classroom lectures (delivered by faculty and guest speakers), independent regional studies, and individual and group practical exercises. Formal evaluation is provided through four quizzes, two graded exercises, and faculty evaluation of student participation/interaction; in addition, students must complete seven online learning guides and an online instruction module on international programs security requirements.
Phase I SCM-O classes begin on Monday and are held daily, except Saturdays, Sundays, and U.S. holidays. Classes are generally conducted between 0830 and 1700, with the exception of the Protocol Dinner which occurs on Wednesday evening of the first week of the SCM-O between 1800 and 2030. For students attending only Phase I, the course will be completed by 1700 on Friday of the fourth week (or Thursday, if a U.S. holiday falls on the final Friday of the course). Departing students (not scheduled to participate in Phase II) should not schedule commercial airline departures from Dayton, Ohio any earlier than two hours after the conclusion of the last scheduled class on their final course day. DISCS will authorize early departure only for bona fide emergencies.
This phase, formally called the Security Cooperation Enterprise Orientation (SCM-EO), consists of three days of consultations, briefings, and panel/roundtable discussions with various components of the Department of Defense and Department of State in Washington, D.C. While students are not formally assessed during this phase of training, they will be continue to be informally evaluated on their ability to perform in their assigned SC position. Phase II involves only select students occupying key billets; participation in this phase will be determined prior to or during the course by DISCS, DSCA, and the relevant CCMD.
Students who attend Phase II will travel to Washington, D.C. on the Sunday immediately following the completion of Phase I and begin their orientation sessions on Monday of the fifth week. Each duty day during this portion of the training will typically run from 0800 through 1630. Departing students (at the end of Phase II) should not schedule commercial airline departures from Washington any earlier than two hours after the conclusion of the last scheduled event on their final day of training. DISCS will authorize early departure only for bona fide emergencies.
Cyber Awareness Training Verification Requirements
To complete this course, all students must access the Internet, and
specialized course materials available only on the DISCS intranet, using
assigned classroom computers. Because the DISCS intranet resides on the Air
Force Network (AFNET), DISCS is only authorized to create computer accounts
for students who have completed annual DoD Cyber Awareness training within
12 months of the course's end date. DISCS can access Cyber Awareness
training dates for students affiliated with the Air Force. However, students
not affiliated with the U.S. Air Force please scan and email a copy of your
current Cyber Awareness Training (or service equivalent) certificate to
DISCS Funding and Ground Transportation
Except for students in a PCS status, DISCS pays all CONUS travel expenses (or, for attendees arriving from OCONUS locations, travel expenses from the initial point of entry into CONUS to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base); other OCONUS travel expenses are covered by exception only and should be coordinated and approved in advance by the CCMD and DISCS. For students that are PCSing, DISCS will only fund per diem while attending a DISCS course (the student’s PCS orders must pay all travel). DISCS does not pay for the use of rental cars while in residence at courses; however, there is a shuttle van service from the assigned student quarters to area eating establishments and to and from the DISCS facility. The shuttle van service is free of charge for all DISCS students.
Uniform and Dress Requirements
For U.S. military personnel, any duty uniform prescribed by their service is appropriate. For USG civilians and USG contractors, appropriate business casual office attire is appropriate.
All students are required to wear business attire for the protocol dining instruction hosted by the “Ambassador.”
Food and Drink
There are limited options for meals at the VOQ and DISCS facility. However, VOQ rooms have microwave ovens, refrigerators, and other amenities, so students will have some capability to cook in their rooms. Students may want to bring cooking and eating utensils from home, though most find it more convenient to buy disposable utensils after they arrive.
Many DISCS students find it convenient to bring lunch to DISCS during the school week. DISCS’s student lounge has a kitchenette with a refrigerator, a freezer, several coffee stations with hot water dispensers, and several microwave ovens.
DISCS enforces a "covered mug" policy, that is, we do not allow open-top beverage cups anywhere in DISCS spaces, especially classrooms.
Additional information for students attending classes at WPAFB can be found in the Student Information Guide.