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Defense group builds partnerships among U.S. allies

May 17, 2012
By Ms. Kim C Gillespie (USASAC)

REDSTONE ARSENAL, ALA. -- The Defense Memorandum of Understanding Attaché Group (DMAG) visited Redstone Arsenal and the U.S. Security Assistance Command Headquarters for its Army service-branch update. It was supported by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation (DASA-DEC) to help articulate the Army organizations involved in security assistance. The DMAG consists of 21 allies with reciprocal defense procurement Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with the U.S. Department of Defense facilitating bilateral defense trade cooperation, and/or procurement of defense items through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or Direct Commercial Sales (DCS).

Ten DMAG countries and a total of 12 members participated in the event held May 1-2. The nations represented were Australia, Canada (three members), Finland, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The meeting was designed to promote greater understanding of the Army FMS process, challenges by both sides conducting business and one-on-one discussions with USASAC Country Program Managers (CPMS).

"First, It's important that our partners understand how business is done and the various processes," Richard Genaille, Deputy Director, DSCA, stated. "Second, the insights we receive provide another benefit by building a sense of community in security cooperation…we do good, but we can do even better if we approach cases from a community standpoint. It is important for all of us to understand the community, understand what they do, how they do it and who is involved."

Genaille also noted that in addition to having representatives from the Air Force and Navy FMS programs and industry participating, DSCA was using the meeting as an opportunity to educate newer members of its workforce.

"We have a developmental program at DSCA for those in entry level positions where these employees rotate through all the directorates at DSCA and participate in meetings such as this, which is good news for everyone because having employees who've had these types of [learning] opportunities makes us more effective," he explained.

Redstone Arsenal's selection as the site for the DMAG meeting was based not only on USASAC's role in Army FMS, but also the numerous other organizations that are part of the Army's Security Assistance Enterprise. In addition to USASAC and its G4, which outlined the requisition flow of FMS materiel, the group also learned about the process of requisition flow and freight forwarders from the AMCOM Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD). The roles of the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Missiles and Space and the Program Manager (PM) Patriot were also presented, while critical actions and customer participation were the focus of the Army Contracting Command (ACC) briefing and discussion.

On the flip-side, a presentation titled "Customer Perspectives: Dealing with the FMS system" was given by Wing Commander Debbie Richardson, Counselor, Australia Air Force. Richardson noted that the Australians had received "excellent support from the U.S." in recent years, particularly in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She also specifically cited an FMS case for two CH-47Ds lost in theater. "The LOA was completed in July 2011, and we received the CH-47Ds in January 2012," Richardson said.

The highlight of the two-day event, however, was the one-on-one meetings between the USASAC CPMs and their DMAG counterparts.

"They [DMAGs] had a similar meeting earlier this year with DISAM (Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management) and AFSAC (Air Force Security Assistance Center). What made this unique was the time we set aside to give the DMAG members and their respective CPMs anopportunity to meet each other and discuss their programs which we hadn't done before," Clayton H. Holt, Security Cooperation Policy, DSCA, said.

Maj. Ann Karin Sondov, Assistant Air Attaché, Norway, echoed his sentiments. "It was nice to finally to put a name to a face," she said. The face she was referring to belonged to Andrew Neuschaefer, CPM for Norway and Germany and an employee of USASAC EUCOM Regional Operations Directorate. "We talk on the phone quite a bit, but it was great to finally meet her," he added.

Holt was also impressed with the support USASAC provided to the event. "It really meant a lot to have USASAC leadership, people like MG Del Turner (Commanding General, USASAC) and Mr. (Robert) Moore (USASAC Deputy to the Commanding General) and all of the Regional Directors sitting in the room throughout the briefings and discussions and answering questions. It is important for the customers to see, first hand, the extremely high-level of expertise and professionalism resident in the U.S. Security Assistance Community."

For the Army, the success and the benefits of the event were mutual. "This allows us to continue to move forward toward building partnerships that will make the entire FMS process run more efficiently. Everyone took away a common understanding from the experience." Pat Hill, Director, Strategy and Plans, DASA-DEC, summarized.

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