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Security Assistance Command plants its flag

Sep 16, 2009

By Kari Hawkins (AMCOM (AMC))

Brig. Gen. Chris Tucker takes reins as command grows world relations

Quoting words of freedom spoken by President John Kennedy, the new commander of the Army Security Assistance Command said the nation's sacrifices during the past eight years have proven that Americans stand for freedom throughout the world.

And USASAC stands to ensure those freedoms are protected.

Brig. Gen. Chris Tucker, who took command of USASAC during a ceremony that included the uncasing of the organization's colors, shared the podium Friday with his commander, Gen. Ann Dunwoody, the commanding general of the Army Materiel Command, and Richard Alpaugh, who has served as executive director of USASAC in recent months and who will assume the responsibilities as USASAC deputy under Tucker. USASAC is a subordinate command to AMC.

"Today is a very special day in the history of USASAC," Tucker said. "We are officially establishing USASAC headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, and continuing a long history of service to our Army and our nation."

And, with that he quoted Kennedy's words - "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price - bear any burden - meet any hardship - support any friend - oppose any foe - to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Tucker said USASAC's 400 employees "volunteer to support our nation's national interests ... and step forward to improve and increase the relationship with strategic partners."

USASAC - "The Army's Face to the World" -- implements Army security assistance programs, including foreign military sales of defense articles and services to eligible foreign governments. USASAC is responsible for life cycle management of FMS cases, from pre-letter of request, development, execution and closure. Each sale to overseas customers comprise the same "total package" of quality material, spare parts, training, publications, technical documentation, maintenance support and other services that AMC provides to Army units. The command manages about 4,300 FMS cases valued at more than $85 billion.

"USASAC employees are creating great relationships with over 140 countries around the world," Tucker said, as it provides support to U.S. allies worldwide.

While the day was one of ceremony for USASAC, it was also a day of remembrance of the attacks of 9/11. Dunwoody opened the event with a moment of silence to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks.

"It was an attack that took the lives of men, women, moms, dads, children and, for some of us, friends," the four-star general said. "Today will forever signify a solemn day in our nation's history ... But today will also go down in history as a remarkable day in its own right as USASAC plants its flag and new home at Redstone Arsenal. This is a proud BRAC achievement for AMC and the Army."

The USASAC move to Redstone Arsenal is ahead of schedule. Although construction of its new facility is not yet completed, 150 USASAC employees are now co-located with AMC in older facilities near the Arsenal's Gate 3.

During the last couple months, as Alpaugh has overseen USASAC, the organization has continued its success in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in adopting an enterprise approach to business and in continuing its mission despite the move to Redstone Arsenal.

"We have continued our work with our friends and allies to establish and maintain the peace and democratic ideas that we all treasure," Alpaugh said, giving credit to the team of USASAC employees at Redstone Arsenal, Fort Belvoir, Va., New Cumberland, Pa., St. Louis, Mo., and Saudi Arabia.

"It's the power of that team that makes all this possible. It's become crystal clear to me that the Army team is a team like no other."

At a press conference following the ceremony, Dunwoody said AMC is just as eager as USASAC to establish itself at Redstone Arsenal and to "be one of your neighbors." There are currently 300 AMC employees at the Arsenal, with that number planned to increase to 500 by next summer. Both AMC and USASAC are scheduled to complete their moves into new Arsenal facilities by September 2011.

"I've really been impressed with Redstone Arsenal. We are looking forward to joining the Tennessee Valley community," she said.

Dunwoody is the first female four-star general in the Army. Since her promotion in late 2008, she has come to realize the significance of her position as a role model for both the Army's female Soldiers and civilian employees.

"I didn't realize then (at the time of the promotion) how humble I am to have this opportunity. I probably didn't appreciate the thousands and thousands of cards I would receive from third-graders all the way up to World War II veterans," Dunwoody said.

"I realize I represent hope and possibility for youngsters. For seniors, they've told me their hard work is not for naught."

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