By Ms. Michelle Miller (USASAC)June 9, 2017
Bill Kaundart, a country program manager for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command AFRICOM regional operations directorate, has been recognized for his significant contributions to the USASAC mission and selected as the command's employee for the second quarter of fiscal 2017.
"U.S. Army Africa ensures U.S. and partner forces will have what they need, where and when they need to respond to a crisis -- and with the current security challenges they face in that AOR (Area of Operations), building partner capacity through foreign military sales has become a critical factor in maintaining regional stability," Scott Huther, USASAC's AFRICOM regional operations division chief, said.
"Bill's ability to react quickly and synchronize our efforts to ensure the countries and the COCOM (Combatant Command) get what they need has played a significant role in meeting the Army chief of staff's priorities and the COCOM requirements and more than earned him the recognition of employee of the quarter."
USASAC's AFRICOM regional operations division includes 57 countries and Kaundart is responsible for the development and program management of defense articles and services provided to his assigned countries within Africa. This includes coordination between those countries and USASAC's New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, office, the Army Materiel Command's life cycle management commands and other Department of Defense stakeholders that comprise AMC's security assistance enterprise.
"Bill's efforts have resulted in the management of 163 (FMS) cases with a total value of $249 million," Huther said. "These cases are very important for AFRICOM as these countries are fighting alongside U.S. service men and women in combating counter-terrorism activities and it is what we are seeing on the nightly news. While people may not always realize it, people like Bill are directly impacting strategic readiness with the work they do every day."
Kaundart helped identify more than $7.6 million in funding from open FMS cases that will be utilized to purchase additional equipment and training versus expiring or being moved back to the U.S. Treasury.
"But it is not just about the dollars -- it is about the impact they will have for our troops," Huther said.
Kaundart joined USASAC as its senior enlisted adviser in July 2007 and retired in May 2012 as a sergeant major with 30 years of service to the Army before returning to USASAC as a civilian employee.
"It was challenging, but a smooth transition since I had already been around USASAC and was familiar with the DA civilian workforce," Kaundart said of his return.
Making the transition from a long, successful military career to one as a federal civilian isn't unheard of. As a former sergeant major, Kaundart takes a unique perspective and pride in helping his partner nations establish their own armies.
Kaundart's job as a CPM benefits from his military background because he is familiar with the materiel being provided to partner nations. He encourages other civilians, particularly those who do not have prior service, to seek out active duty and veterans to gain a better understanding of different equipment and how it can benefit our partner nations' needs.
"Some people really don't understand what a big deal it is to a Soldier, especially a leader, down to the platoon and squad level, to have everyone in the same uniform and with sufficient PPE (personal protective equipment)," Kaundart said. "It raises the esprit de corps of the unit and changes everything from how they receive training, pride in their unit and country ... to believing in their mission."
Huther also emphasized the important role Kaundart plays in the organization because of his outstanding leadership abilities.
"We are seeing more and more younger CPMs who rely on the guidance and experience of employees like Bill -- those that understand FMS from the DOD-level down to the details of what supply technicians provide," Huther said. "Bill is always willing to take the time and share not just the 'how,' but the 'why' of what we do."
Outside of his job at USASAC, Kaundart is active in his local community -- serving as a trustee and Sunday school teacher at his church. He also volunteers with the Royal Rangers Ministry, serving as a commander in his local outpost as well as the Northern Alabama sectional commander, and was recently awarded the Alabama Outstanding Service Award and a national level award, the Medal of Excellence.