Colombian visit strengthens military sales process
March 18, 2013
A delegation from the Colombian Army met with members of the Army Security Assistance Enterprise in Huntsville Feb. 28 to review the status of Colombia's foreign military sales program.
The visit included a daylong review of Colombia's Armored Security Vehicle cases and included representatives from the Security Assistance Command, Tank Automotive Command and Army Contracting Command-Warren. TACOM and ACC-Warren are part of the Army Materiel Command's Life Cycle Management Command that works directly with USASAC to facilitate FMS requests for our partner countries.
USASAC and the LCMCs, who comprise the broader Army Security Assistance Enterprise, work together to meet foreign governments' requests that can include defense articles, services and training. Meetings, like the recent one with the Colombians, take place either in the U.S. or in the customers' country.
According to Col. Steve Smith, director of SOUTHCOM regional operations at USASAC, the meetings offer a chance for all parties to discuss every aspect of a FMS case, such as contracting, logistics and case processes.
"We (USASAC) work with all of the organizations and industry to make a case come together and push the process through," Smith said. "The ASAE negotiates on behalf of the country to ensure the same materiel and services that would be provided to our own Army are available to our partners."
The meeting not only provides a setting where the country can ask questions or express concerns regarding their FMS cases, but allows the other commands to speak with each other and immediately work out case details. By having multiple organizations represented at the meeting, the Colombian delegation was able to see firsthand the multiple layers involved in executing FMS.
USASAC manages the FMS process for the Army from Letter of Offer and Acceptance to case closure; ACC awards the contract and makes the terms clear for the foreign partner; TACOM, or another LCMC, conducts a line-by-line review of the specific details written for the case and will obtain the requested materiel.
While there will still be phone calls and emails exchanged and video teleconferences held, the chance to meet face to face can be more beneficial for everyone involved. The participants were in agreement that there is the potential for miscommunication and misunderstanding over VTC or phone.
"By meeting in person, we are able to gain a sense of the country's background and urgency for support," a TACOM representative noted. "The meetings reinforce the importance of strengthening relationships, and that is important to USASAC and the ASAE."