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Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC)

What is it?
The WHINSEC is a Department of Defense (DoD) institution with the Secretary of the Army as its Executive Agent. The WHINSEC is part of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) with the Combined Arms Center as its intermediate headquarters. It was established by the National Defense Authorization Act of FY01 and opened for training on January 17, 2001.

The mission of WHINSEC is to provide professional education and training to military, civilian, and law enforcement personnel from eligible nations in the Western Hemisphere, while supporting the democratic principles set forth in the Charter of the Organization of American States. Just as importantly, the institute’s tailored curriculum, international environment, and cultural orientation, serve to promote regional interdependence. In addition, WHINSEC’s focus on maintaining a model human rights program and efforts to be transparent is a clear reflection of Congress’ intent when it created the institute.

The WHINSEC’s faculty and staff are drawn from members of the U.S. Army and other branches of Service, the Department of State (DoS), and Drug Enforcement Agency. Also included is a robust partnership nation Guest Instructor Program as well as civilian professors and subject matter experts drawn from academia. Students come from throughout the hemisphere, including Canada. Student selection follows the standard DoS vetting process that is applied to all foreign students attending DoD schools, both in and out of the U.S. There can be as many as 22 or more nations represented at WHINSEC at any given time.

What is the Army doing?
As executive agent, the Army provides support and helps coordinate the activities of the congressionally mandated federal advisory committee for WHINSEC, otherwise known as the WHINSEC Board of Visitors (BoV). The Chair and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, or their designees, occupy 4 of the 13 Board seats. The BoV meets twice a year to review the institute’s programs and policies. Its recommendations are provided to the Secretary of Defense through the Secretary of the Army at least once a year. Additionally, and in close coordination with the Army and DoS, the Secretary of Defense in turn provides an annual report to Congress on WHINSEC. Furthermore, the Army supports and coordinates the congressional and public outreach activities for WHINSEC.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army will continue to support WHINSEC through TRADOC to ensure that it meets or exceeds its congressional mandate, provides professional training to partnership nations, and remains a vibrant part of the combatant commander’s Theater Cooperation Strategy.

Why is this important to the Army?
The WHINSEC is a model security cooperation program and helps to anchor U.S. and Latin-American relationships in the hemisphere. It supports the Secretary of Defense’s Security Cooperation Guidance and builds partnership capacity. It accomplishes this by working closely with the combatant commanders and by providing a relevant, tailored curriculum, which responds to the respective theater cooperation strategies while strictly adhering to TRADOC doctrinal and administrative requirements. The WHINSEC also works closely with Army Component Commands such as U.S. Army South and U.S. Army North. On average, since its creation, WHINSEC has trained 48 percent of Army-funded individuals from the U.S. Southern Command’s area of operations with just 9 percent of available Army-managed security cooperation funding.

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