By Ms. Kim Gillespie (USASAC)December 8, 2015
"Always do your best and nothing less," is the guiding principle for Ryan Hank, a logistics management specialist for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's CENTCOM Branch (B).
Hank, whose primary focus is financial management for the Saudi Arabia Land Forces/Air Defense Team, is a relative newcomer to Army security assistance and Foreign Military Sales with just under two years with the command. But his energy and resourcefulness earned him a nomination for employee of the quarter last September.
Hank said he is still surprised every day that civilians working for the Army and the other military services have such an impact on national security and world events through their support for security assistance and FMS.
"It really hits you when you see world events taking place on TV and realize what you are doing is critical to our international partners," he explained.
Hank's dedication to his customer was recently demonstrated when helmets needed for an aviation training event in the U.S. and shipped by the Saudis were detained in customs in New York. Training and Doctrine Command advised Hank's team that there was an issue and that the helmets were needed for the training in two days. While this was not part of his standard work duties, the team was short staffed and he stepped up to meet the challenge.
"This is not something I have had training to do, but I asked Cassie (Hank's supervisor) for advice, and I started making calls," Hank said.
Hank's knowledge of transportation issues, coupled with his perseverance, got the helmets to their U.S. location in time for the Saudi team and TRADOC to conduct their training event.
"Someone on their end was trying to get the helmets to the U.S. as quickly as possible and did not use the country's standard shipping methods. I ended up calling the customs offices in New York and New Jersey, and went as far as 'googling' the customs office information to find out the supervisor's name," he said. Hank finally got the helmets by working with the country's regular freight forwarder and its broker.
He also took proactive action with another case to ensure equipment needed quickly was expedited. Knowing that the equipment had already been requested through the Military Standard Requisitioning and Issue Procedures, or MILSTRIP, he put in a new MILSTRIP and contacted the item manager for an expedited action.
"I knew that one of the MILSTRIP's entered would automatically cancel but I wanted to ensure we had at least a one day jump to focus on getting their materiel to them as quickly as possible," Hank explained.
Hank's supervisor, Cassie Paley, cites his ability to obtain the correct answer and his reliability as characteristics that build trust with a partner like Saudi Arabia.
"His efforts ensure the priorities of our international partners are USASAC priorities and that they are worked in a timely manner with the correct parties," Paley said.
Paley praised his ability to work with other security assistance enterprise team members.
"He ensures his team members, his chain of command, the (Army Materiel Command) Life Cycle Management Commands and the FMS customer understand the process and the correct course of action to execute accordingly," she added.
Hank also credits his success with having a good working relationship and regular contact with the country's security assistance liaison officer, who is assigned to USASAC, and the LCMC Security Assistance Management Directorates, Defense Logistics Agency and General Services Administration.
He plans on making a career at USASAC, and hopes to become a central case manager soon, and then eventually a branch or division chief.
"There is such a family atmosphere here," he said.
In the meantime, Hank said he plans to continue to increase his knowledge of funds management by getting a better understanding of the functionality of General Fund Enterprise Business System, which he calls, "a good challenge."
But while financial management is crucial, he believes the most important thing he has learned at USASAC is cultural awareness.
"You really have to understand the culture to work with other countries. … Building relationships is what it takes to execute (FMS cases) and successfully fulfill the customer's needs," he said. "We are the Army's Face to the World, and it is the individuals working with our partners who make the most impression."