Newest Addition to Security Assistance Command
August 21, 2009
- "We are the face to the world for foreign military sales," Roland said.
- Everyone who goes out (into the field) takes a little bit of America with them when they go to or deal with another country.
- "I'm looking forward to learning how to say hello in each of the 30 or 40 different languages," she said.
As more of their staff is relocated or hired in, U.S. Army Security Assistance Command is seeing their team come together at Redstone.
Their newest member, Col. Gwendolyn Roland, is the director of regional operations for four of the organization's six global areas. She took over the position Aug 4.
Roland's military career has spanned 23 years. During that time, she served all over the world. Her years of experience in ordnance, maintenance and forward support landed her an assignment as the security assistance officer to the Office of Military Cooperation in Egypt in 2003. Her time there, coupled with her field experience, gives her a unique perspective on what it is that USASAC does.
"I have a little bit of experience in FMS (foreign military sales)," she said. "I've been deployed forward. So, I've seen our troops in action and the foreign troops as well. I can talk to them about my experience and the equipment they have."
Most recently, she commanded the Army Field Support Battalion in Hawaii. While moving from the islands' balmy shores to the Deep South may not sound like fun, Roland said she has been pleased with the differences.
"It's been awesome," she said. "The weather is great. It was raining when I got here. But since then it has been beautiful."
Although she has been at USASAC only a matter of days, she has hit the ground running. She is already taking on what she sees as one of the biggest challenges Base Realignment and Closure has brought to the organization, building and maintaining the relationships among their work force as they relocate from Fort Belvoir, Va., and hire in new people.
To help them renew old acquaintances and form new friendships, she put together a team-building cookout for Aug. 14. At the event, the USASAC team shared food and fun on another beautiful Alabama day. Having a strong bond between members of the organization is important for the work they do within their walls, she said, but it also spills over into what they are doing in the field. While they are in the business of foreign military sales, their biggest export doesn't show on any invoice.
"We are the face to the world for foreign military sales," Roland said. "Everyone who goes out (into the field) takes a little bit of America with them when they go to or deal with another country. Sometimes that can build a better cooperation and partnership with that nation."
Roland spends a lot of her spare time in her kitchen. She enjoys taking ingredients and letting their inspiration guide what the finished dish will be. Lately, she said sweet potato pancakes had been at the top of her favorites. There have been hints that an organizational breakfast featuring Roland's sizzling griddle would be welcomed.
"We might be able to arrange that," she said, laughing.
She is excited about learning more about what USASAC does for each of the regions and the nations they encompass. Roland has also set a high goal regarding those nations.
"I'm looking forward to learning how to say hello in each of the 30 or 40 different languages," she said.