There’s a Big Problem Limiting Us Interoperability With Allies

The United States military is woefully unprepared for a critical element of the wars to come. The issue isn’t one of weapons systems or equipment, physical fitness or doctrine—it’s one of process. Despite an enormous network of allies and partners around the world, and nearly two decades of continuous multinational military operations, members of one of the key groups of people who actually make such cooperation possible are understaffed, overworked, and all but impossible to find in the bureaucracy. These professionals, known as foreign disclosure officers, are the ones who write, interpret, and apply the rules and policies that govern sharing (or disclosure) with foreign partners. In essence, if process is the US military’s valentine to partners, disclosure officers are their cupids.

As it stands, the United States military trains disclosure officers, but it has almost no way to keep track of them. Consequently, a critical force multiplier is lost. Creating skill identifiers within the services is a low-cost way to rectify this using authorities and processes that already exist in doctrine and law. Moreover, by doing so, the services would meet key objectives of the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy while strengthening interoperability and enhancing lethality of its alliances.

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