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News | Feb. 24, 2022

Senegal capability bolstered through Foreign Military Sales

By Tim Hanson U.S. Army Security Assistance Command

The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command’s delivery of the latest tranche of 1,250 M4A1 rifles arrived in Dakar, Senegal Jan. 21, providing partner capacity for counterterrorism efforts. 

The shipment of weapons is part of a foreign military sales effort that will include up to 5,000 M4A1 rifles and accessories expected over the next couple of years.

The Senegal Armed Forces (SAF) are upgrading their small arms and light weapons as part of a broader modernization effort. The first phase is replacing its current M16A1s with M4s.  

The President of Senegal, Chief of Defense Staff and Gendarmerie Commander have all expressed a preference for U.S. manufactured weapons. 

“This {delivery} will be physical proof of our reputation as a reliable partner who is responsive to their needs,” said a representative from the Office of Defense Cooperation in Senegal. 

Allies and partners are a top priority for both the Department of Defense and Army. This sale helps build partner capacity by improving Senegal’s capability to deter threats through greater interoperability.

Senegal’s budgeting process does not allow for large procurements, so they have been purchasing the acquisitions with Senegalese national funds in small tranches and have been willing to pay for rapid delivery. 

According to an U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD) official, “the M4A1s are one of our high demand commodities and buying more to support urgent requests will be a good strategic decision.” 

Deliveries, however, can be a long and complicated process due to the many touch points between DOD, the defense industrial base, manufacturers, global logistics, country teams, partner requirements and various timelines.

One way USASAC is able to support urgent or timely requests is through Special Defense Acquisition Funds (SDAF). SDAF is a program where the Army Security Assistance Enterprise can project FMS requirements and obtain funding to buy those items ahead of an official request from a partner nation.

"Another really cool aspect of using SDAF, is you can combine demand signals from multiple FMS customers, and ultimately save money by ordering in a large quantity, which in turn lowers the price per item," said AFRICOM forward Country Program Manager, Stefanie Adkins.

Using SDAF stocks or other means to improve acquisition and delivery times, have bolstered a key partner aligned with shared objectives in the region. 

"In this situation, what TACOM is really doing a great job of is, they are anticipating the partner's requirement and ensuring it can be met quickly when they are prepared to purchase additional
stock," added Adkins.

While delivery is a critical case milestone, under USASAC’s Total Package Approach, the post-delivery training and follow-up sustainment support are equally important considerations to ensure the customer can operate and sustain their equipment.

USASAC’s M4A1 rifle delivery to Senegal is an example of the strategic effects achieved through small FMS cases, with the ability to build trust and create long-term partnerships that help ensure a stable regional capability.