ESEP is a reciprocal, but not one-for-one, exchange program to promote international cooperation in military research, development, test, and evaluation through the exchange of government military and civilian engineers and scientists. The ESEP provides on-site working assignments for U.S. government personnel in partner nation Defense activities as well as on-site working assignments for partner Defense personnel in U.S. Defense activities.
The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) is the executive agent for ESEP and has delegated management authority to the international program offices of the Air Force, Army, and Navy. The Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, Policy and Programs Directorate, Armaments Cooperation Division (SAF/IAPC) is the management agent for the USAF ESEP Program. The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), International Affairs Directorate (XPPI) administers the day-to-day functions of the program. A bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) must be in place to govern all ESEP exchanges. As part of the U.S. DoD Personnel Exchange Program, the ESEP legal authority is derived from Title 10 U.S.C. § 311. The following regulations prescribe the ESEP Program’s procedural/process guidance: DoDD 5230.20, Visits and Assignments of Foreign Nationals; DoDI 5530.3, International Agreements; AFI 51-701, International Agreements; AFI 16-110, USAF Participation in International Armaments Cooperation (IAC) Programs; AFMAN 16-110, Participation in International Armaments Cooperation Programs; and the Foreign Clearance Guide (FCG). ESEP provides the opportunity for military and civilian personnel to become well versed in international program management by providing new perspectives in approaching research development as well as learning the R&D processes of the USAF’s foreign partners. In addition, this program builds international cooperation through the promotion of interoperability and opens new areas of technical cooperation between two allied nations. Through ESEP, each participant, and thereby the USAF, will establish and increase international connections that can lead to long-term collaboration and foster the development of new cooperative programs or projects. There is a great return on investment to the USAF through the cooperative exchange of personnel.