If knowledge is power, the leadership of U.S. Southern Command is ensuring their organization remains strong.

SOUTHCOM Military Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Joseph DiSalvo visited Sierra Army Depot in California, Feb. 14 to gain a better understanding of the divestiture of the military's equipment through the excess defense articles program.

DiSalvo also wanted an up-close and personal view of what EDA is stationed at the depot's more than 36,000 acres of high desert terrain. Getting a firsthand look at the condition and availability of EDA and learning about foreign military sales gives SOUTHCOM a distinct advantage as the combatant command's area of responsibility encompasses 31 countries and 16 dependencies and areas of special sovereignty. The region represents about one-sixth of the landmass of the world assigned to the U.S. military's regional unified commands.

"As the first and only combatant command representative to visit the depot, Lt. Gen. DiSalvo wanted to know how SOUTHCOM can support in getting EDA equipment to partner nations," said Security Assistance Command employee Lenard Dotson, who accompanied the general on the trip.

Dotson works in the SOUTHCOM J5, providing a wealth of experience in security assistance matters to SOUTHCOM and USASAC personnel as well as various SOUTHCOM countries. He serves as a liaison between the combatant command and USASAC, the Army Materiel Command's lead for security assistance.

Depot Commander Lt. Col. Brian Kuhn provided a video overview of the depot and the site's daily functions. Kuhn explained the depot command's mission is to "provide rapid, expeditionary logistics support and long-term sustainment solution to enhance readiness for the total Army and joint forces."

The director of the TACOM Security Assistance Management Directorate, Bert Liptak, provided the EDA briefing and discussed the visibility of materiel with DiSalvo. During a tour of the installation, DiSalvo visited the Retrograde and Redistribution, Reserve Clothing, Containerization/Armor and Water Reset facilities.

After a briefing and tour of the installation and various facilities, Lenard said DiSalvo will certainly be able to share valuable information with the military's security cooperation officers and SOUTHCOM nations who have an interest in obtaining U.S. materiel, training and services through the EDA and FMS processes.

Sierra Army Depot is Army's western-most depot and its largest facility dedicated to equipment/asset retrograde, reutilization and redistribution.

Its unique high desert environment gets an average of less than five inches of precipitation annually, allowing equipment to be stored at the depot with little-to-no rust and corrosion. The depot boasts an extensive internal road and rail network that is linked to the U.S. interstate and Union Pacific railroad main lines. It also houses an Army airfield capable of supporting all military and commercial cargo aircraft.