Letter of Request (LOR) Writing Guide

Letter of Request (LOR) Writing Guide

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Target Audience

This learning guide is designed primarily for use by the foreign customer engaged in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. It provides an overview of the Letter of Request (LOR) prepared and submitted by the foreign nation to the United States Government which requests an FMS case for defense articles, services, and/or training.

A secondary audience is U.S. Government personnel who work in security assistance, especially personnel in Security Cooperation Organizations (SCOs) who are often called on to assist their host nation counterparts in preparing LORs.


This learning guide addresses the complete spectrum of issues to be addressed by the foreign customer as it prepares a Letter of Request. The guide is divided into four major sections:
  1. Mission Planning
    Addresses the host nation’s analysis of threats to its national security, a needs analysis of capabilities, the importance of collaboration with the SCO, and an approach to a cost-effective solution.
  2. Letter of Request
    Addresses the document itself, its format, channels of submission, and introduction to the “total package approach.”
  3. LOR Elements
    Addresses a range of considerations, including the end item, support requirements, services, and financial aspects.
  4. LOR Preparation
    Addresses the use of existing checklists for major items and covers the various options for addressing the LOR elements introduced in Section 3 above.

The importance of a complete and accurate LOR is key to the entire FMS process. In 2011, DSCA sent a memo to all SCOs worldwide emphasizing this point. The text below is from that memo:

The critical first step in progressing a successful Foreign Military Sales (FMS) initiative is drafting a complete and actionable Letter of Request (LOR). The more accurately international partners define their requirements for defense goods and services via FMS, the better Implementing Agencies are able to team with the program office or item sponsor to develop a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) that meets the partner’s defense requirements. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is teaming with the military departments and the DSCU to ensure Security Cooperation Officers (SCOs) are well prepared to help international partners understand what is required for a complete and actionable LOR.”

This learning guide is for reference or professional development only. No certificate is awarded for completion.


The LOR Writing Guide takes approximately one hour to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other resources are available to help draft a complete and accurate LOR?

First, check the online SAMM, especially Chapter 5.1, "Letter of Request Submissions." This is always the official guidance to the partner nations. DSCU’s Green Book, Chapter 5, “Foreign Military Process” provides a thorough outline of FMS including the request phase which culminates in the submission of an LOR. The Green Book is also available online. Finally, the Military Departments have online checklists for most major weapon systems.

Who do I contact if I have any technical issues with this learning guide?

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