REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - Gen. Gus Perna, U.S. Army Materiel Command commander, paid his quarterly visit to the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command Sept. 11, where the topic of discussion was "Building Readiness through Partner Capacity."

Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, USASAC commander, provided the overview, which included various members of his staff. He noted the impact of the new White House administration's approach to security cooperation. The recent Foreign Military Sales announced by the administration, such as the hundred billion dollar deal with Saudi Arabia, will require "increased responsiveness, communication and teamwork," from the security assistance enterprise, which includes USASAC as AMC's lead, and the AMC life cycle management commands' Security Assistance Management Directorates and Army Contracting Command.

Farmen also said the secretary of defense's top three priorities include "Strengthening our Alliances and Partnerships," in which USASAC's mission plays a key role.

Perna was updated on USASAC's progress in operationalizing the enterprise through its weekly "Synch" meetings and the measurements used.

Two current initiatives were also briefed. John Neil, director of USASAC's Performance and Process Management Office, described the effort to operationalize FMS sustainment and how it will allow USASAC to "Optimize sustainment support to our mission partners in support of national and Combatant Command objectives and priorities." This included demonstrating the sustainment tool that is being used to track FMS sustainment for each country's cases.

"I'm very impressed with how you have operationalized FMS sustainment," Perna said after the presentation. He added that the information gained from this could be shared with the COCOM commanders to ensure their requirements will be met.

The second initiative presented was "Enabling strategic readiness and building partner capacity via Excess Defense Articles." Col. Roger McCreery, who is supporting USASAC's EDA program in USASAC's G-3, called the program "a success story."

McCreery emphasized the opportunities that EDA provides for building partner capacity, simply by identifying available EDA equipment early on, validating and recognizing demand, and using the FMS process in conjunction with the Special Defense Acquisition Fund (which McCreery said can be reimbursed by customer countries).

If this process can be fine-tuned, according to McCreery, it could result in meeting urgent warfighting requirements, contributing to Army divesture, relieving the cost burden for the Army (which means more readiness dollars available), and delivering new capabilities that build partner capacity. McCreery provided EDA outputs showing how EDA has been used to building partner capacity, the total cost savings and the impact to the Organic Industrial Base.

Perna acknowledged the EDA effort and urged McCreery to "press on."