• Army Security Cooperation Meeting Paints the ‘Big Picture’

    Christopher J. Mewett

    Faced with the challenge of new programs and authorities, support for two wars and several contingency operations, and a dramatic upsurge in case value and visibility, the leaders of the Army Security Assistance Enterprise (ASAE) came together in October for a day-long security cooperation (SC) meeting to discuss major issues, shape expectations, and share information about the impact of developments in the Army and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

    Keith B. Webster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, gave the Army Security Cooperation Meeting audience an outline of the Materiel Enterprise International Engagement Strategy. (U.S. Army photo.)

    Keith B. Webster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) for Defense Exports and Cooperation, and BG Christopher Tucker, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC), co-hosted the Oct. 27 meeting in Alexandria, VA, which was timed to coincide with the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC, to provide an opportunity for SC personnel from around the Army to attend. Invited guests included staff members from the host organizations as well as Security Cooperation Office (SCO) personnel from around the world, SC planners from the Geographic Combatant Commands and Army Service Component Commands, and representatives of various program executive offices (PEOs) and program management offices (PMOs).

    Foreign Military Sales

    Webster and Tucker described trends in the contemporary operating environment, shifting fiscal and operational realities, and the changing face of security assistance over the past decade. Along with the demands of supporting continuing relationships with more than 140 partner nations, Tucker noted, the enterprise has seen a dramatic increase in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) activity.

    New Army FMS in FY10 totaled $14.6 billion, with 701 new cases, 462 modifications, and 1,017 amendments. This increased operational tempo reflects a trend over the past several years, as evidenced by a total of $62 billion in Army FMS from FY07 to FY10, compared with $18 billion in FMS over the preceding four-year period. This high case volume has put pressure on the enterprise, demanding decisions to direct the allocation of resources and staff time to the most strategically important cases. Webster issued this prioritization guidance at the direction of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, committing to paper previously verbal guidance to focus efforts first and foremost on support to ongoing operations.

    Security Cooperation Reform

    In response to the evolving demands of the operational environment, OSD directed, through the 2010 Defense Planning and Programming Guidance, the formation of a task force on SC reform, with the mission of conducting a comprehensive review of DOD’s SC processes and examining ways to provide urgently needed capabilities to foreign partners in a more timely manner. COL Guy T. Cosentino, a representative of the Security Cooperation Task Force, gave a briefing on the task force’s mission, objectives, composition, and progress and provided useful context to members of the ASAE on the future of SC, including proposed changes in organizations, authorities, and processes.

    Equipped with this knowledge, SC planners and SCO personnel can better understand how industrial capacity, acquisition processes, and contracting concerns can influence security assistance timelines, which will help them manage the expectations of both foreign partners and U.S. senior leaders.

    Continuing with the meeting’s goal of managing expectations, Joseph M. Jefferson, an acquisition expert with the Office of the Director for Acquisition and Industrial Base Policy in the Office of the DASA for Procurement, familiarized participants with the basics of the acquisition process, helping them to better understand how international activities fit with the broader functions of the PEOs, PMOs, and industrial base. Anthony R. Incorvati, Director of Contracting Operations with the U.S. Army Contracting Command, explained how increased security assistance impacts the contracting community. Equipped with this knowledge, SC planners and SCO personnel can better understand how industrial capacity, acquisition processes, and contracting concerns can influence security assistance timelines, which will help them manage the expectations of both foreign partners and U.S. senior leaders.

    During a working lunch, LTG Mitchell H. Stevenson, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, addressed the audience on a number of subjects, including the integration of logistics policies, programs, and plans with the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model; the future disposition of Army equipment currently in Iraq; opportunities for the transfer of Excess Defense Articles; and the future of the Army’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle fleet. Stevenson outlined the many opportunities for the ASAE to take advantage of developments in the Army logistics community to build partner capacity and capability, again underlining the fundamental importance of coordination and communication between SC organizations and the Army’s equipping community—a relationship that is institutionalized through the nesting of the ASAE in the broader Materiel Enterprise.

    The Oct. 27 meeting was a rare opportunity for members of the ASAE and other Army SC personnel, gathered in one room, to develop a common operating picture and discuss major issues affecting the community, and it offers a template for similarly successful coordination meetings in the future.

    A series of briefings followed, focusing on specific security assistance-related topics including the organization and mission of the Project Management Office Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aviation, conducted by then-BG William T. Crosby, Program Executive Office Aviation; an introduction to the Excess Defense Articles program by COL David Dornblaser, Director of the Intensive Management Office of USASAC’s Washington Field Office; and a rundown of challenges and successes of the 1206 Global Train and Equip program, by Brandon Denecke, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency 1206 Team Leader. Their briefings provided details on three much-discussed, but perhaps poorly understood, topics in the security assistance community.

    LTC Alfred Padden of the HQDA G-35’s Security Cooperation Policy and Concepts Division followed this with a briefing on the Army’s approach to security force assistance, efforts to build partner capacity by aligning modular brigades to security cooperation missions in a specific Geographic Combatant Command’s area of responsibility through the ARFORGEN process.

    Wrapping up the day, Webster gave the audience an outline of the Materiel Enterprise International Engagement Strategy, part of an effort to shift the ASAE to a proactive, anticipatory footing, matching gaps in partner capability with possible materiel solutions in advance of a customer request, to allow for the timely elimination of potential barriers to sale.

    The Oct. 27 meeting was a rare opportunity for members of the ASAE and other Army SC personnel, gathered in one room, to develop a common operating picture and discuss major issues affecting the community, and it offers a template for similarly successful coordination meetings in the future. Those who participated have a better understanding of the broader context into which their work fits and gained knowledge and contacts that will contribute to improved performance of their SC mission.

    The slides from the Army Security Cooperation Meeting are available at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/files/25188558. Army Knowledge Online login is required.


    • CHRISTOPHER J. MEWETT is a support contractor in the strategic planning directorate of the Office of the DASA for Defense Exports and Cooperation. He holds a B.A. in history from Texas A&M University and did graduate work in Central and Eastern European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

Share Post