International military officers see Army's face to world
March 7, 2012
By Skip Vaughn
Military representatives from nearly a dozen countries converged on the Security Assistance Command last week for an overview.
"This event is for our security assistance liaison officers," USASAC public affairs officer Kim Gillespie said.
As the Army's face to the world, USASAC works out agreements between the United States and other countries for foreign military sales. After the agreements, the various Army commands involved do the actual procurement of the equipment they will sell to those countries.
The security assistance liaison officers met with USASAC officials in the command's new headquarters building on Martin Road. They visited a room filled with vendors that provide Army equipment in support of the Program Executive Office for Simulation Training and Instrumentation.
John Daniele, deputy to the assistant program executive officer for customer support and international programs, is responsible for the international programs that PEO STRI manages in Orlando, Fla.
"Our objective is to build partner capability," Daniele said of the relationships with other countries.
Chile army Lt. Col. Rafael Mesa, who resides with his family in Huntsville, was among the security assistance liaison officers visiting USASAC. He arrived in Huntsville last December from Santiago with his family, which includes a 12-year-old daughter. An infantry officer in weapon engineering, he coordinates acquisitions for artillery weapon systems for Chile.
"I like Huntsville very much because it's a very good city," Mesa said. "It's very quiet and it's very safe for us. It's a nice place."
The security assistance liaison officers' more than two-day visit culminated the afternoon of Feb. 29. "The reaction and the feedback have been extremely positive," USASAC commander Maj. Gen. Del Turner said.
According to Turner, "Throughout the world the U.S. Army's equipment is recognized as the gold standard."
The Army's business relationships are growing worldwide with more than $15 billion in foreign military sales this year.
"Foreign military sales are going through the roof at a time when other aspects of our military are being cutback," Turner said.
The countries represented last week included Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Grecia, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.