WASHINGTON -- The Defense Security Cooperation Agency Wednesday launched the Department of Defense Security Cooperation Workforce Certification Program for civilian and military members of the security cooperation workforce.

'We are proud to elevate security cooperation as a profession through the new Security Cooperation Workforce Certification Program,'' DSCA Director Army Lt. Gen. Charles W. Hooper said.

Security cooperation is the effort to advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by building the capacity of foreign security forces to respond to shared challenges. That effort involves, among other things, building and maintaining military-to-military relationships, combined training efforts, and foreign military sales.

''We will provide our workforce the education and training they need to help the DOD strengthen alliances and build partnerships using our security cooperation toolkit,'' Hooper said. ''As the program matures, we look forward to offering DOD professionals new career path opportunities in the important field of security cooperation.''

The Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed DSCA to create a professional workforce development program and career paths for the thousands of DOD civilian and military employees supporting security cooperation programs and activities.

In addition to developing the certification program, DSCA opened the new Defense Security Cooperation University in September 2019. With campuses in Arlington, Virginia, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the university provides training and serves as a center of excellence for security cooperation education and training across the DOD.