By Ms. Adriane ElliotNovember 12, 2015
Brazilian army officer Maj. Guilherme Arauso Bittencourt visited Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) Aug. 28 to conduct a joint visual inspection (JVI) as part of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's (USASAC) foreign military sales process.
During the inspection, Bittencourt and Redstone Arsenal's Brazilian liaison officer Col. Flavio Lajoia examined M88 A1 Medium Recovery Vehicles, declared excess defense articles (EDA) in the U.S. Army inventory.
As Bittencourt examined the vehicles, crawling through the hatch and questioning ANAD staff about the M88s' condition, he explained that "before we accept it, we have to see if it is worth the price."
Bittencourt selected what he considered the best of the M88s on the lot, noting they were in "very good shape and would significantly improve his army's capabilities.
M88 A1s are tracked armored vehicles produced in the late 70s and early 80s and are used to perform battlefield rescue and recovery missions. While inadequate for use with the larger M1-series tanks, M88s are ideal for hoisting, winching, and towing operations in support of Brazil's current fleet of M60 tanks and other tracked combat vehicles.
USASAC's foreign military sales process allows partner nations, like Brazil, to purchase EDA at a low cost to the partner and at a significant savings to the U.S. government.
"These M88s represent an excess in the Army's inventory and are being stored here at Anniston Army Depot, which results in charges to the U.S. government," said Kyle Crawford, USASAC's Country Program Manager for Brazil.
"By providing them to our FMS partner, not only are we eliminating the storage charges, the cost of transporting the vehicles cross country for demilitarization and the actual cost of demilitarizing them, but we are also enhancing our partner's capability," said Crawford, who attended the JVI. "We're giving the Brazilian Army something they didn't previously have at a reasonable cost."
Crawford said if the Brazilian Army chose to also refurbish or upgrade the vehicles, it would further provide a "rather large benefit" to the Organic Industrial Base (OIB).
The Army's OIB consists of 23 nationwide depots, arsenals and ammunition plants where military materiel is created, refurbished and upgraded. America's transition from combat to sustainment after 2011 resulted in a sharp decline in the OIB workload, fewer dollars and ultimately fewer jobs. USASAC's continuous sale of EDA, however, contributes to the workload and netted the OIB more than $100 million last year alone.
Lajoia called ANAD and USASAC personnel extremely helpful throughout the inspection and purchase process.
"This is a huge boost for our military," said Lajoia. "We can use the M88s in military operations and environmental disasters."
In addition to the increasing partner capacity and interoperability with U.S. forces, USASAC's mission is to strengthen U.S. global partnerships.
"This is a great opportunity for Brazil, and we thank the U.S. government for this chance," said Flavio. "We have been very impressed with the support from USASAC, [TACOM] and [ANAD]."
Underscoring the positive partnership, a team of Brazilian army officials visited USASAC Commander Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald Nov. 3 at the command's Redstone Arsenal headquarters building.
McDonald and staff met with the Brazilian military leadership, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and several other Security Assistance Enterprise stakeholders to discuss the enduring partnerships and future opportunities.