doca_logo History

Defense Orientation Conference Association (DOCA) was founded on March 30, 1952, by participants in the Secretary of Defense Executive Orientation Program, which was known at the time as the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC). Nominations for participation in the program were made by senior officers from the armed services and participants were selected by the Secretary of Defense and his staff. DOCA is a non-political, non-partisan, non-profit association directed toward the interest of national defense without special advocacy of any particular military service or defense concept. DOCA objectives are as follows: to provide a means of continuing the education of its members in matters pertaining to national security with the cooperation of the Departments of Defense and State; to enable members to pass on such information to others; to provide a permanent medium for cooperation between its members and the Departments of Defense and State.

DOCA membership is obtained by one of two methods. The first method is to be selected for participation in the Secretary of Defense Executive Orientation Program , formerly known as the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC). Following such participation, admittance into DOCA is by invitation. The second method is to be nominated by a current DOCA member. Such nominees must be approved for membership by the DOCA Executive Committee. It should be understood DOCA has no direct or indirect affiliation with business, political or religious groups or organizations. Members seek no special favors, political advantages, or material gains through DOCA.

DOCA is managed by a Board of Directors elected to office at the annual business meeting. An Executive Committee, composed of the President, the Chairman of the Board, two immediate Past Presidents, Executive Vice President, six Regional Vice Presidents, up to three Vice Presidents at Large, and the Secretary-Treasurer, has the authority to act for the Board of Directors on all matters between meetings of the Board. Elected officers or directors receive no salary, or reimbursement of any kind for the time given or money expended on behalf of the Association.

In all planning the foremost thought has been to keep DOCA distinct from conventional associations with multi-committees and top-heavy staffs. Association activities are administered by a staff from the headquarters office in Burke, Virginia. The staff consists of an Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Executive Assistant, and Coordinator of Conference Services. These are the only paid full time employees of the Association. The Association is supported by annual dues. Each field orientation trip is self-supporting, financed on pro-rata basis by the individual members participating.

It is the responsibility of the Headquarters staff to plan and implement programs for association members to stay current on issues and challenges related to national security and foreign affairs as it pertains to national security. This is accomplished by publication of written material, visual aids, and educational programs arranged under the auspices of the Department of Defense and/or the Department of State, and full briefings at the annual meeting. When these have been provided, it becomes the responsibility of the individual members to carry out DOCA’s other objectives. Individual members are in turn responsible for sharing, on a non-attribution basis, the information they learn with other community leaders.

Secretary of Defense Executive Orientation Program (SDEOP), (formerly known as the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference-JCOC), was initiated in 1948 by the Defense Department under the first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal. The SDEOP is an official program of the Department of Defense to acquaint leading citizens from all parts of the country with DoD programs and policies. The program consists of high-level briefings held in the Pentagon, and field trips to Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps installations to present the important aspects of each branch of the service. The program lasts approximately one week. Participants in an SDEOP review firsthand the military organizations and defense concepts of our country, and are given a frank appraisal of the awesome tasks and attendant problems faced by the armed services.

“…DOCA members educated themselves about the circumstances facing our country’s military and defense institutions through direct contact with all nine combatant commands… I extend appreciation for your membership’s efforts to remain engaged on these issues of utmost important.”

General Richard B. Myers, USAF Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff