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Sales & Transfers

Sales & Transfers is the largest U.S. international acquisition transaction area by volume and value​. Specific U.S. legal mechanisms for the various types of Sales & Transfers include:​

  • Foreign Military Sales (FMS) 
  • Building Partner Capacity (BPC)​ 
  • Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) 
  • Hybrid FMS/DCS and ICP/FMS Programs​ 
  • Acquisition & Cross Servicing Agreements (ACSAs)​

**REMINDER: Sales & Transfers must be addressed in the program’s Acquisition Strategy – International Considerations section.

Three boxes - Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales, and Building Partner Capacity.

Foreign Military Sales

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is the largest and among the most well-known of all Security Assistance programs. FMS is a non-appropriated DoD program through which eligible foreign governments, including eligible international organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), can purchase defense articles, services, and training from the U.S. Government.

Building Partner Capacity

BPC acquisition programs are used by the DoD and other U.S. Government agencies to improve the ability of other nations to achieve U.S national security and defense goals and objectives. A U.S. Code Requesting Authority initiates a BPC requirement submitting a Memorandum of Request (MOR) to the DoD Component Implementing Agency.

Direct Commercial Sales

Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) involves the commercial export of defense articles, services, training, or technical data under the authority of Arms Export Control Act or Export Administration Act, depending on the nature of what is being exported. Such exports are made by the U.S. defense industry directly to a foreign entity.

Hybrid FMS/DCS and ICP/FMS Programs​

  • FMS/DCS hybrid programs involve the use of both FMS and DCS transactions to deliver the required capability. 
  • ICP/FMS Hybrid programs involve the use of both ICP and FMS transactions to deliver the required capability. ICP/FMS hybrid programs typically result from successful ICP programs between the U.S. and partner nations that develop exportable versions of a system that can also be sold via FMS to other interested allied and friendly nations.​

Acquisition Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA)

​The U.S. and partner nations routinely use Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreements (ACSAs) to acquire needed logistics support from each other during wartime, combined exercises, training, deployments, contingency operations, humanitarian or foreign disaster relief operations, certain peace operations under the UN Charter, or for unforeseen or exigent circumstances. ACSA authority is typically exercised by the Unified Combatant Commands (CCMDs) and their allied/friendly nation counterparts through establishment of ACSA Implementing Arrangements.

Related Training/Tools

ACQ 230 – International Acquisition Integration

ACQ 380 – International Acquisition Management

INT 1110 – International Acquisition/Security Cooperation Foundation

INT 2110 – International Acquisition/Security Cooperation Program Management

Foreign Military Sales Wall Walk

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Job Support Tool

AQUipedia Article - Foreign Military Sales (FMS)

For more information on FMS and BPC transactions, please check out the training provided by the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) – www.dscu.edu


Security Assistance Management Manual

DSCU Green Book - FMS Process