An international program is a classified contractual agreement with a foreign entity for the sharing of classified information and/or material. An international transfer is a lawful and authorized government or commercial effort in which there is information and/or technology transferred from one country to another.
All international transfers of classified material shall take place through channels approved by both governments. This is accomplished by Designated Government Representatives (DGRs).
Reference: NISPOM 10-401a. International Transfers of Classified Material
All classified information provided or exchanged, whether it originates in the U.S. or a foreign country, must be protected so U.S. national security and foreign relations are not threatened. For this reason, specific requirements for protecting information in international programs are mandated by laws, executive orders, regulations, and international agreements.
Direct Commercial Sales
Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) are direct contractual arrangements between a U.S. company and a foreign government, international organization, or foreign company (export of defense articles, repairs or maintenance - defense services). The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is the licensing authority for export of defense articles and services.
Reference: NISPOM 10-201. Direct Commercial Arrangements
Foreign Military Sales
Foreign Military Sales (FMS) are the government-to-government method for the U.S. Government to sell U.S. defense equipment and services, including training to authorized foreign governments and international organizations. The vehicle for conducting FMS between the U.S. Government and the foreign government is the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) and the DSP-94 (Authority to Export Defense Articles Sold under the Foreign Military Sales Program). The DSP-94 is part of the LOA package. It gives the authority to export the defense article or services referencing the LOA as the export authorization. The U.S. Customs representative executes the form and returns it to DDTC each time an export occurs. DCSA does not have cognizance over FMS because the DSP-94 is an addendum to the LOA and involves government parties only.
- FMS are direct contractual arrangements between the U.S. Government and a foreign government.
- DCSA responsibilities include overseeing the security of international transfers when a U.S. cleared defense contractor (e.g. freight forwarder or carrier) is involved in shipping classified defense articles to the foreign government.