REDSTONE ARSENAL, AL –
The U.S. Army’s top commander for the provision of materiel to its forces received an in-depth look at his foreign military sales operations March 23 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
U.S. Army Security Assistance Command reps briefed Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command, on how the organization is supporting America’s foreign partners more efficiently while managing challenges to the complex process.
The sale of military materiel to America’s allies remains strong because its products are considered well-made and reliable, but it is a complicated process that involves not only presidential approval and State Department control, but also congressional oversight and military priorities affected by rapidly changing political events.
During the two-hour quarterly update, team members discussed their attempts at decreasing sluggish turnaround time for the repair and return of partner equipment. The team also discussed their initiatives to eliminate re-work by maintaining higher quality control during case development. These initiatives are resulting in fewer FMS case revisions and delays.
USASAC’s Jon Neil attributed the drop in case revisions to increased training and a strong mentorship program that employees seem eager to participate in.
“Over the past five to 10 years, USASAC has seen a large turnover of employees involved in case execution because of retirements,” explained Neil. “We realized we needed stronger programs for our younger, less seasoned employees such as updated SOPs, mentorship programs and strong operational training, all of which we’ve implemented over the past several years.”
Decreasing what has been considered a sluggish repair and return rate, however, is a challenge the command continues to focus on.
“To improve R&R we’ve had to look across the entire enterprise and make improvements to our processing timelines. It has been a joint effort between USASAC, the SAMDs, the LCMCs and our organic Army depots,” said Neil, but we are bringing the entire enterprise to bear on the problem and related issues with positive results.”
Other challenges that are drawing the attention of the security assistance workforce are authorities migration and obsolescence management as the Army continues modernizing.
USASAC Commander Maj. Gen. Jeff Drushal said this is something the team is taking a proactive role in managing as end items and spare parts will be key to partner readiness.
Pleased with the FMS update, Perna cautioned that the U.S. will not go into combat alone, and the efficiency of FMS operations will play a significant role in successful coalition operations on the battlefield.
“In almost two centuries, the U.S. military has not fought a war alone,” he said. “The next war will likely be no different. While we must be capable of fighting and winning on our own, we are stronger and more formidable when we can rely on partner nations and allies to stage, support, maneuver and execute the fight together.”
“While USASAC has done tremendous work, you must continue to move the ball forward, recognize and respect your role in the larger materiel and defense enterprise, and always remember, you are a critical supporting organization to combatant commander priorities," said Perna.
To help U.S. partners defeat shared security threats, stabilize their regions and ready them to participate in Coalitions operations, thousands of U.S. security assistance workers throughout the world execute FMS around the clock. For more information about FMS and how it supports the national security strategy, visit www.army.mil/usasac.