Award winning Army SES, international expert, moves to OSD

Kris Osborn

 

WASHINGTON – Award-winning former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, Mr. Keith B. Webster, will build upon his many successes as he transitions to a new role with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

Webster, who now serves as Director, International Cooperation, OSD, is in charge of managing a host of key issues for Mr. Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Issues within his purview include international partnerships with key global allies, significant acquisition and technology-related matters affecting U.S. global military development and coordination with OSD policy personnel.

“Inside Mr. Kendall’s portfolio of AT&L and inside the broader context of OSD, we will decide our priority activities and examine how we should be organized and engaged globally. Within AT&L, we are here to inform the requirements process with the J8 and ensure timely consideration of foreign technology opportunities and foreign product opportunities. We want to make sure that the JCIDS [Joint Capabilities Integration Development System] process is well-informed—to include international cooperation,” said Webster, while expressing enthusiasm for his new role.

In particular, Webster’s role will call upon his considerable expertise in technology- and acquisition-specific international cooperation issues, Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales and international policy issues, among other things.

“I am chartered to advise him [Kendall] on all international matters and to be knowledgeable of global political military events–and to be in contact and in touch with those in OSD policy who have a pre-eminent role in international policy formulation here in the Pentagon,” Webster added.

That means advising Kendall on the international aspects of key programs like the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) effort and the acquisition of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. In many instances such as these, Webster will examine the possibility of connecting with foreign research and development during the developmental process to further collaborate with allies and improve the development of next-generation capabilities.

In fact, international developmental partnerships can be a key to sustaining production capacity for significant U.S. programs and technologies, Webster added. Along these lines, Webster’s duties will include research and academic pursuits aimed at examining industrial base issues in partnership with those in AT&L chartered with working industrial base matters.

“FMS and Direct Commercial Sales programs are critical as they address potential gaps in production. How do we appropriately generate international interest in a product so that we don’t have a break in production? We will partner with our OSD policy colleagues to see where we can leverage engagement to help Mr. Kendall and help the industrial base,” Webster added.

Webster’s expertise is informed by a distinguished career, spanning a range of high-profile, high-responsibility assignments. Most recently, he managed the Army’s Security Cooperation programs as the DASA (DE&C), the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology’s deputy for international acquisition. This involved policy generation and execution oversight of Army security assistance, direct commercial sales, and international armaments cooperation. In this role, Webster supervised more than $18 billion in annual sales, managed programs that involved more than 2000 Army civilian and military personnel, and worked to identify those critical capabilities which will need to be sustained into the future.

In addition, Webster oversaw the development and maturation of significant large-scale U.S. Army Foreign Military Sales cases, many of which helped build partner capacity and solidify important relationships with important international coalition members—to include sales of CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, Patriot missiles, Excalibur 155mm precision artillery shells and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, among others.

These efforts were recognized by some of his foreign counterparts, and Webster was awarded the rank of Chevalier (Knight) in the French Order National du Merite. The ceremony took place June 8, 2012, and was officiated by the Ambassador of France to the United States, Francois Delattre.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Director General Lena Erixon presented the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration’s Medal of Merit (Silver), specifically recognizing Webster’s efforts on behalf of Sweden in acquiring UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters through FMS, and for being instrumental in obtaining training seats for Swedish pilots and maintainers. The entire process from Sweden’s submission of a formal Letter of Requirement to initial operating capability was completed in record time, resulting in the helicopters being deployed to Afghanistan. His continued efforts to develop strong relationships and support the overall mission will continue to be remembered.

Before joining ASA(ALT), Webster held several positions with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), including Principal Director for Business Operations and head of the agency’s Policy, Plans and Programs Directorate.

Webster has an MA in International Relations from Catholic University, a BS in Business/Finance from Towson State University, is a Level 3 Certified Acquisition Professional and is a Fellow of the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.