Security cooperation personnel – civilian and military – across the Department of Defense are now required to become certified in the career field.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency launched the DOD Security Cooperation Workforce Certification Program Jan. 1, the start of a one-year transition period that will allow DOD components and the workforce to familiarize themselves with the program prior to full implementation.

Personnel are considered members of the security cooperation workforce if they routinely perform SC functions. The certification requirements do not include contractors, locally employed staff and foreign service nationals.

SCW members must maintain their certification as long as they remain in an SCW position.

Although course deadlines will not apply during the first year of implementation (transition period Jan. 1 to Dec. 31), employees are encouraged to take courses as soon as possible.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the SCW will be required to complete certification courses by the following deadlines:

• Basic-level certification: One year to complete all required basic-level courses. Note that all SCW members require at least basic-level certification.

• Intermediate-level certification: One year to complete basic-level courses and then two years to complete all required intermediate-level courses (three years total).

• Advanced-level certification: One year to complete basic-level courses, two years to complete intermediate-level courses, and then two years to complete all required advanced-level courses (five years total). Note that advanced-level courses will not be offered until 2021.

• Expert-level certification: One year to complete basic-level courses, two years to complete intermediate-level courses, two years to complete advanced-level courses, and an additional two years to complete required expert-level courses, including “cross training” courses at the intermediate-level in an-other area of concentration (seven years total). Note that expert-level courses will not be offered until 2022.

The “one year” for course completion deadlines start Jan. 1, 2021 for personnel who are SCW members at that point. For those who join the SCW after that, the “one year” begins the day they enter the SCW.

Note that it is often possible to complete required certification courses substantially faster than the aforementioned deadlines.

SCW members in the SC Acquisition Management area of concentration will receive credit for courses that they have already taken from Defense Acquisition University that are required in the SC Acquisition Management area of concentration.

Some legacy DISCS courses are considered equivalent to the new certification courses. Personnel who completed one or more of those legacy DISCS courses within a specified timeframe will receive credit for the equivalent certification course.

This process is automatic and does not need to be requested by SCW members or DOD components.

The current list of course equivalencies is in the guidelines at Annex 3 (visit the SAE blog – link at right). More information about DISCS legacy course credit will be available on the DSCU website.

Some certification courses will have a test-out option. This will allow experienced SCW members registered for those courses to take a pre-test. A member who scores high enough on the pre-test will receive credit for having completed that course.

The test-out option will not be available immediately. When available, it will be indicated on the DSCU website. DOD components should encourage experienced SCW members to take advantage of the test-out option.

For more information about this requirement, contact your command’s Human Resources point of contact.

Editor’s note: This information was obtained from the Workforce Development Directorate, DSCA.

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