Security Assistance Enterprise engages Pacific partners
April 2, 2013
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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (April 2, 2013) -- As "the Army's Face to the World," conducting engagements with international partners is the backbone to the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's mission of building partner capacity, supporting geographic combatant commands strategies, and strengthening global partnerships.
Recent visits to the U.S. Pacific Command's countries of the Philippines, Australia and the Republic of Korea, by Maj. Gen. Del Turner, U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, or USASAC, commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker, USASAC senior enlisted adviser, and Col. Stephen Smith, USASAC Pacific Command, known as PACOM, regional operations director, afforded the opportunity to discuss current and potential security assistance and Foreign Military Sales, or FMS, cases and issues.
All three countries have longstanding security assistance relationships with the Army, and the U.S. "rebalance" to Asia is focused on increasing engagements and support to the Asian-Pacific region in order to promote stability and security.
"The FMS program provides the PACOM commander a means to build partner capacity and helps establish enduring relationships through training on U.S. common equipment," Smith said.
In the Philippines, USASAC leadership met with the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr., the country team responsible for developing security assistance and FMS requirements, and the commander of the Philippine Army, Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes.
"The visit focused on the Philippines modernization programs and allowed Major General Turner to get firsthand feedback on FMS programs," Smith said.
Australia has more than 120 FMS cases valued at $2 billion. Many of the FMS cases during the past several years were in support of operations in Afghanistan and have included items such as CH-47F aircraft to replace cargo helicopters lost in-theater, and Raven unmanned aircraft systems. Visits at the U.S. Embassy in Australia included meeting with ambassador Jeffrey Bleich and an introduction to the staff of the Office of Defense.
As part of the military engagement, the group met with Maj. Gen. Angus Campbell, deputy chief of the Australian Army. According to Smith, much of the discussion centered on the post-Afghanistan Australian Defense Force and Australia's growing defense industry.
The Republic of Korea has 120 FMS cases currently open with a total value of $1.5 billion, and the security assistance relationship is more than 60 years old. The visit to Korea included U.S. Embassy and State Department engagements, and meeting with the country team. At the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, ambassador Sung Kim hosted Turner, Mansker and Smith and discussions focused on recent aircraft and Patriot cases.
"We also talked about development opportunities and the transition to an ROK-led defense in 2015," Smith said.
The FMS process is overseen by USASAC from start-to-finish, so engagement topics ranged from the development of Letters of Request for materiel, to system sustainment and transportation.
"These FMS cases are long-term commitments, and our goal is not delivering equipment, but providing a capability and building relationships," Smith said.