Building partner capability and being accountable to ensuring Army readiness were the overriding messages from Army Materiel Command’s Gen. Gus Perna during last July’s change of command that welcomed Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Drushal as the commander of the Security Assistance Command.
Now almost a year later, during a USASAC/AMC quarterly update, Drushal and his staff, along with senior members of the security assistance enterprise, showcased their efforts toward building readiness, and how the ASAE is working to enhance accountability. USASAC is a major subordinate command to AMC.
The quarterly update, the 10th delivered by USASAC to Perna since 2016, continued to highlight accomplishments USASAC has made toward Army readiness goals and improving the foreign military sales process to build partner capacity.
“I think it’s really been illuminated in the last couple of updates to me, you are really demonstrating that you are a contributor to Army readiness,” Perna said. “That’s what I am really impressed with.”
Drushal opened the quarterly update by highlighting the accomplishments of six USASAC employees, who were all acknowledged by Perna. The employees included Ann Scott, Bonnie McCracken and Matt Siderias, all from USASAC New Cumberland office; and Beth Scavarda, Lauren Van Cleave and Capt. Alan Strange, from USASAC headquarters. Each received a four-star coin from Perna for their exceptional work and support to the foreign military sales mission.
Drushal then moved discussions toward the command’s foreign military sales initiatives.
“We would like to talk to you about four topics,” he said. “Restructuring some of our organizations, security assistance training integration, updating you on FMS performance, and outputs from the recently held Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) and AMC FMS two-star Senior Leaders Forum.”
During the past six months, USASAC has been focused on planning a restructure of two of its subordinate commands overseas.
Benefits of the restructuring, Drushal said, include developing synergy between programs, creating greater efficiencies between business processes, reducing capital expenses and converting staff personnel positions to create more trainer positions.
Perna expressed support but cautioned as he reflected on partner and host nation considerations and political sensitivities.
“Define the end state, lay out a plan, challenge your outputs to objectives, objectives to your purpose and we will massage it from there,” Perna said. “It may be intuitive, but what I don’t know is ‘is the juice worth the squeeze’ for this end state? Let’s put some more thought into it.”
Col. Nicole Heumphreus, director of USASAC’s Operations Directorate, provided updates to the training integration briefing she gave during the last update.
“We have come a long way since we briefed you in March, of course there is still a lot to do to account for training requirements within FMS cases,” she said. “We built a beta Common Operating Picture focused on FMS training lines within FMS cases. We are using this to clean up training lines with most cases going back as far as 2013.”
Drushal added that these separate databases, run by different organizations, couldn’t talk to each other, and had training data that was fallow from years of inattention.
“The good news is that we are working to correctly annotate these cases and clean up these databases,” Heumphreus said. “When we first built the COP in March, there were 2,178 training pipelines that weren’t being centrally tracked, but at the end of May there were only 1,491. Today there are roughly 957 pipelines that still need to be annotated. Once that is done the security assistance enterprise will have visibility and see training metrics, their training pipelines, and the ability to prioritize training efforts for our customers.”
Foreign military sales are typically long-term, complex projects that involve thousands of personnel, from hundreds of offices across the ASAE. Managing all that data is critical for mission success as the enterprise manages more than 6,000 FMS cases, worth in excess of $190 billion, for their customers.
John Neil, director of the USASAC’s Performance and Process Management Office, and Brian Wood, director of the Security Assistance Management Directorate from the Aviation and Missile Command, highlighted multiple initiatives and efforts the ASAE was taking to tackle and sustain FMS performance and accountability.
Some of the initiatives revolved around closer management of amber-coded cases, synchronizing battle rhythms, identifying ways to redefine protocol and relationships with defense industry contractors, and making policy and guidance updates.
The quarterly update concluded with results from recent Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) and AMC FMS two-star Senior Leaders Forum.
Drushal summarized the way ahead for the USASAC team and security assistance enterprise.
“I thought it was a great update as usual,” Perna said in closing. “You guys are pressing, you are listening to the updates, you are adjusting and moving out. Great brief, great update. Army strong.”