Brig. Gen. Garrick Harmon, Security Assistance Command’s commander, hosted his first Army Materiel Command’s Security Assistance Enterprise Senior Leader Forum Oct. 27. The goal of the cross-enterprise discussions is to formally initiate changes that will make foreign military sales more agile, flexible and responsive as a strategic tool in the competitive environment.
In addition to the USASAC team, there was largely a virtual participation from the AMC Life Cycle Management Command’s Security Assistance Management Directorates and Army Contracting Command. Harmon set the framework for the meeting, stating that his intent was to provide guidance, define the problem effectively, and organize the planning effort. He also indicated it was the first of many operation planning team meetings and in-progress reviews, both internal and external, with the security enterprise. In the future, Harmon said, he will also include the Deputy Assistance Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, the Program Executive Offices, other implementing agencies, and industry partners as required.
After posing the initial question about how foreign military sales can become more agile and flexible tool in the competitive environment, the free form discussion included topics as varied as legislation, policies, contracting, and roles and responsibilities, and more case- and execution-specific categories such as development, prioritization and security assistance tools.
“While it may seem that there are some issues that are not in our control, there may still be ways we can influence the processes,” Harmon said.
USASAC’s Deputy to the Commanding General Myra Gray said proposals and planning should not be constrained by the current context. “We need to look beyond who our current (foreign) partners are, as that can change, and the same can be said of industry partners,” she said regarding the importance and need to be agile and flexible.
Gray’s final comments also highlighted the necessity for members of the security enterprise to work together to achieve the flexibility needed. “Full participation and followup,” she said, “with clarity in what right looks like.”
USASAC Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Rice took a few moments to describe recent feedback from industry partners. “We have had many industry engagement recently, and the one thing we heard again and again was the need for accurate P&A (price and availability) data from both industry and government,” he said. “Industry wants for our allies and partners to get the best information possible, just like we do.”
Rice also encouraged participants to continue to bring ideas forward.
Harmon’s closing guidance was focused on the strategic impact of security assistance. “While FMS is one of many tools at our disposal, it is arguably one of the most impactful on a large scale,” he said. He encouraged participants to keep the strategic impact as their focus at all levels of the FMS process. “We need to discuss (with others) the impact FMS brings as a tool in competition.”
Harmon noted that transparency was something that was important to allies and partners in a competitive environment.
He also stated the need for prioritization. “Prioritization is key to understanding the priorities, and whose priority it is. We need to develop a shared definition.”
Defining, or redefining the “Total Package Approach” should also be considered, according to Harmon. “I also want us to consider what our ‘Total Package Approach’ means to allies and partners.” Harmon suggested that global integration or understanding the role of security cooperation/security assistance tools to support the Total Package Approach offered to allies and partner should be considered.
The enterprise’s senior leaders will provide an update on potential improvement categories during the AMC commander’s USASAC Update early next year.