Born in 1988 by the initiative of the U.S. Defense Systems Management College (DSMC) and the German Federal Academy of Defence Administration and Defence Technology (BAkWVT), the administrative arrangement of the International Defence Educational Arrangement (IDEA) was signed in November 1989 by the above stated academies and the Royal Military College of Science in the United Kingdom. Shortly after, France joined the IDEA network with an accession letter signed in July 1991. And last but not least Spain, Sweden and Australia came aboard.
IDEA has brought together senior leaders of defence acquisition training and education, members of the acquisition workforce and defence high level officials from the member nations to exchange information about best practices in the training and management of the acquisition processes. Since the beginning IDEA and its annual seminar has become a key enabler of enhanced understanding and cooperation among defence acquisition training establishments of the member nations. Over the ensuing years, the names and designations of responsible organizations have changed. Early seminars were held in various European capitals such as London, Bonn, Brussels and Paris.
But in 1993, the IDEA Board of Directors decided to organize the annual seminars at the participating defence educational institutions. Accordingly, the fifth seminar was held at the Federal Academy of Defence Administration and Technology in Mannheim, Germany. In 1994, the seminar was held at the Centre d'Enseignement et de Formation d'Arcueil in Paris, France. In 1995, for the first time, the IDEA seminar was hosted at the U.S. Defense Systems Management College. In 1996, the seminars returned to Europe at the Royal Military College of Science in the United Kingdom. During the last years, the venues have broadened to include Cranfield University in the United Kingdom in 2004 (16th) and 2010 (21st); Berlin, Germany in 2005 (17th); Toledo, Spain in 2006 (18th); and the DAU in the U.S. in 2007 (19th) and 2009 with the 20th anniversary seminar.
During the 2007 seminar, the Board of Directors decided to alter the name to "IDEAA" standing for International Defence Educational and Acquisition Arrangement, reflecting the dual seminar emphasis on both acquisition and the education process that supports it.
The 22nd seminar in 2011 was held again at the Federal Academy of Defence Administration and Technology in Mannheim, Germany, which was at the same time celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. The 23rd seminar took place in Paris, France, and the 24th in Fort Belvoir, Washington D.C., U.S.
The 25th anniversary of IDEAA has been celebrated at the Cranfield University in Shrivenham, United Kingdom, in 2015.