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Security cooperation activities conducted by Department of Defense (DoD) entities with other nations' defense organizations range from the very visible — training, equipping, and exercising together — to those that are less obvious, such as holding bilateral talks, workshops, and conferences and providing education. Yet it is often challenging to determine if these activities have contributed to U.S. objectives. This monograph, based on themes that emerged from a May 2008 assessment workshop held at RAND that included DoD security cooperation assessment experts, planners, and program managers, lays out a framework for security program assessment in terms of five general areas: setting direction, designing assessments, preparing for assessment, conducting assessments, and explaining assessments to others. Participants stressed the need for injecting a greater level of objectivity into the overall assessment process, thus moving away from the current, largely self-assessment approach to security cooperation programs.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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