Arriving organization brings world of opportunity
May 8, 2008
A senior executive with the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command said the organization's move to Redstone Arsenal is an "opportunity to move our organization to the next step."
The Army is now in the planning stages for a $130 million Army Materiel Command/USASAC complex that will be located off Martin Road. And, although construction isn't set to be complete until 2011, USASAC employees will begin moving from Fort Belvoir, Va., into temporary facilities on Redstone Arsenal in June, said Richard Alpaugh, deputy to the commanding general of USASAC, speaking at a membership meeting of the Tennessee Valley chapters of Women In Defense and the National Defense Industry Association at the Huntsville Marriott on April 23.
"We'll be moving into a great facility," he said of the new complex. "It will be a workplace that will allow us to do our job."
The job of USASAC involves executing the nation's security assistance mission in the transfer of defense articles and services, and military training from the U.S. to foreign countries through the Foreign Military Sales Program. USASAC is an AMC command with 300 employees managing $10 billion worth of work with foreign countries. About 200 of those employees manage foreign military sales in 140 different countries.
Currently, USASAC has 4,148 cases valued at $24 billion and annual sales of $3.6 billion. It is linked to 140 different armies, 47 air forces, 26 navies and 26 other country entities.
"We're part of a bigger DoD operation," Alpaugh said. "We're part of the Security Cooperation Program that involves foreign military sales and much more."
Other activities of USASAC include counternarcotics assistance, regional training centers, emergency services, humanitarian assistance, international military education and de-mining assistance.
"The thing we most do is build relationships," Alpaugh said. "What we do in security cooperation is priceless ... Some of the things we do just because it's the right thing to do to make the world a better place."
For example, in many countries that have been at war, thousands of mines are left buried and partially buried, only to explode when children play in the fields where they are hidden. USASAC tries to prevent children from being injured or killed by these mines by providing foreign countries with de-mining assistance.
Another example is the more than 2,000 foreign officers who are training in the U.S. at any given time.
"They are learning not only military tactics, but also the American way of life so they can aspire to that way of life," Alpaugh said. "And, so that when they go back to their country, they can share the values they learned here."
In foreign military sales, often the equipment sold is considered excess defense articles no longer needed by the U.S.
"When we see something that is used up, it doesn't carry any value for us anymore," Alpaugh said. "But that equipment can be repaired and refurbished, and it can be used by another country to start and build a military force."
But the U.S. doesn't sell its cast-off military equipment just to get rid of it.
"We sell it to promote the strategic interests of the U.S. around the world," said Alpaugh, who was the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award for demonstrated strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.
"We sell it not for a military reason, but for a strategic reason designed to promote regional stability and to secure a favorable balance of power."
In that balance of power, the U.S. wants to "create situations where no country or organization is so overwhelmingly dominant that it can reach out and take control of its neighbor," he said. "That creates an aura of peace and supports mutual goals. The U.S. government is doing this for purely altruistic reasons to make the world a better place."
When done right, foreign military sales and other security assistance programs strengthen the political/military ties between the U.S. and foreign countries, provide countries with military capability and interoperability, and enhance defense industry interests of the U.S. and its foreign customers.
In the past six years, U.S. foreign military sales have more than tripled for several reasons. Because the value of the dollar has decreased, U.S. military equipment is a better financial deal for foreign countries. Also, time has shown that military equipment purchased from the U.S. is far better than equipment bought from the European Union or the former Soviet Union.
"We have the best products, the best technology and the best price," Alpaugh said. "Our goal is to field the total package to all these customers. We're not just selling a truck or a tank. We're also selling them the spare parts, training and 10 to 20 years of commitment so that the countries can count on the equipment for a useful life."
USASAC works within AMC with the technical assistance of such organizations as AMCOM, Program Executive Office for Aviation, and PEO for Missiles and Space. Law requires USASAC to operate security assistance and foreign military sales at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer (the command is funded by a 3.8 percent surcharge on every foreign military sale).
"The reputation of the U.S. government is really on the line here," Alpaugh said. "There are thousands of millions of dollars at risk. It's important to aggressively manage the program ... We work hard every day to understand what our customer's needs are and what we need to do to meet expectations. By and large we are a very successful program with customers who come back and back and back."
In closing, Alpaugh said he anticipates moving about half of USASAC employees to Redstone Arsenal.
"There will be lots of wonderful opportunities for employment with USASAC," he said.
Speaking directly to the women in his Women In Defense audience, Alpaugh said 54 percent of USASAC's employees are female, compared to 28 percent in AMC, 36 percent in the Department of the Army, 43 percent in the federal government and 47 percent in the general employment population.
"Women are senior desk officers and senior managers at USASAC," he said. "We have ladies in positions all the way along the line. This is one of the most interesting, diverse commands in the Army."
For more information about USASAC, check out the web at www.usasac.army.mil or contact Alpaugh at email@example.com.