A key goal of the U.S. Military is interoperability among U.S. forces and coalition partners. The Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5000.1 and DoD Instruction 5000.2 govern the DoD systems acquisition process. The directive also states that a cooperative development program with one or more Allied nations is preferred over a new joint Component or Government Agency development program, or a new DoD Component-unique development program.
The International Agreements directive (DoD Directive 5530.3) governs the armaments cooperation international agreements process. An international agreement is any agreement concluded by any DoD Component, or in certain situations by the Department of State, with one or more foreign governments including their agencies, instrumentalities, or political subdivisions, or with an international organization that constitutes a commitment binding in international law on the part of the U.S. and the foreign government. Such agreements obligate both governments to provide funds or other resources, or to perform certain activities. While the directive lists many possible denominations for an international agreement, the most common is the Memorandum of Understanding or Memorandum of Agreement.
All DoD-related international agreements may use the Under Secretary of Defense (AT&L)- issued streamlined procedures in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook for review and approval rather than the procedures in DoD Directive 5530.3. Navy IPO is responsible for negotiating such international agreements under the purview of the Department of the Navy and, on occasion, on behalf of the DoD.