By Ms. Michelle Miller (USASAC)September 30, 2015
When you think of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, foreign military sales probably comes to mind. But there's much more that goes into making the command what it is than just successful FMS cases. Building trust and relationships with U.S. partner nations are at the foundation of the security assistance enterprise. And, for one USASAC employee, the commitment to developing a partnership did not go unnoticed and was recognized by the country's president.
"There is true value in building relationships," said Lenard Dotson, who was recently recognized by the government of Brazil for his dedication to case development and management execution of the country's FMS program.
Dotson was a country program manager in USASAC's SOUTHCOM regional operations for six years at Redstone Arsenal before accepting a position this year supporting the U.S. Army Southern Command as USASAC's liaison officer in Miami, Florida. As a CPM, he worked on Brazil's first major FMS case that resulted in the delivery of 150 M113 upgrade kits. He also facilitated cases for the refurbishment and delivery of 36 M109A5 howitzers, procurement of an additional 236 M113 upgrade kits and spare parts and training to support the country's current weapons systems.
Dotson was approved by the president of Brazil to receive the Medalha do Pacificador, or Peacemaker Medal. A representative from the Brazilian Army Commission presented the medal to Dotson during a ceremony Aug. 25 at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
"Recognition by the Brazilian government of Lenard's performance is quite a big deal," said Kevin Richardson, USASAC's deputy director of SOUTHCOM regional operations. "It shows an expression of awareness of the importance of the mission performed by USASAC. Developing the trust and strengthening the relationship between the U.S. government and any of our partner nations is imperative in conducting our business."
The Peacemaker Medal was established in 1955 to honor the 600th birthday of Luiz Alves de Lima e Silva, the Duke of Caxias. Nicknamed "the peacemaker," he was a military hero and statesman who made the military prominent in the Brazilian government and is considered the official patron of the Brazilian army. The award is for military and civilians, domestic or foreign, who have provided notable service to the Brazilian army, including developing friendships between the army and other nations.
Dotson believes he received the medal because of "his hard work and willingness to form a lasting relationship with the government of Brazil."
"The individuals I work with in Brazil consider me family," he added.
Going beyond the routine of developing a FMS case is what builds trust between USASAC's customers. Dotson said being a specialist in customer service and focusing on building a lasting relationship with partner nations was important for other CPM's working on FMS cases.
Now as the LNO at SOUTHCOM, Dotson says his job is to solve problems before they get to the command.
"The LNO provides top-cover for the CPMs and helps them grasp problems, upcoming LORs (letters of request), or concerns that may arise at the SOUTHCOM level," he said. Dotson still has the opportunity to work with Brazil, but as the LNO he also works with the entire area of responsibility for SOUTHCOM.