By Kari HawkinsNovember 17, 2017
Build, support, influence - all factor in as reasons the nation is committed to foreign military sales.
And, one of the major contributors to the nation's foreign military sales program is the Aviation and Missile Command's Security Assistance Management Directorate.
"The more capability that we put forward the better off we are at defending freedom in the world," AMCOM commander Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram told SAMD employees during a Nov. 8 town hall at the Bob Jones Auditorium.
Because of the high dollar value of the Army's aviation and missile systems, AMCOM's SAMD has a major financial role in developing relations with allied nations and in selling those allied nations the commodities that they need to defend their borders. Those sales not only make U.S. allies stronger, but they also keep the U.S. industrial base healthy and growing.
"I want to thank you for what you do and put it in perspective for you," Gabram told the SAMD employees.
"When the President of the United States talks about the sale of military equipment to our allies, who is behind the scenes making that sale happen? Who's doing the hard work behind it? You are. You should take pride in that. That's really important to our national security and to our allies."
With the Army Materiel Command focusing on four priorities - Korea, Central Command, Forces Command and Europe - AMCOM, as a major AMC subordinate command, and SAMD should also prioritize objectives to reflect senior command's focus, Gabram said.
"Have we done everything we can do to deliver capability and be ready if we get the call? In terms of parts, equipment and the total package, our job is to prepare. You all play a huge part in providing equipment to ensure readiness for our allies," he said.
"There is a sense of urgency. Are we ready to fight tonight? There are a lot of variables, and a lot going on right now in terms of exercises and maneuvers. Have we done all we can to support Soldiers and to ensure they are ready to go?"
In leading his second town hall since becoming the SAMD director earlier this year, Brian Wood re-emphasized Gabram's comments, talking about the "importance of being able to deliver capabilities to our foreign partners so they are equipped for the fight, and that their weapon systems are interoperable with our forces."
SAMD employees are operationalized with the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command to manage foreign military sales of aviation and missile systems.
"What we are doing today and the cases we have implemented and have in development represent a total current dollar value of almost a billion dollars," Wood said. "Those sales include hardware, training, services and all those things that are involved in delivering capability and military power to our allies. It's not about the dollars, but about the output - building partnership capacity and delivering that capability to bolster our foreign partner's readiness."
During the town hall, Wood discussed SAMD's realignment/reorganization, metrics and process improvements related to Army Security Assistance Enterprise standards, workforce training and the FMS mission.
"In regards to SAMD being realigned and reorganized, we don't know what the outcome will look like. But, at the end point, we want to be aligned and organized in a way that facilitates us to be as effective as we possibly could be," Wood said.
"We've done a great job, but we can always do better. How do we get better? Do we have standardized processes across the entire SAMD that allow us to be better? Are we aligned as efficient as can be to produce the effectiveness that we are looking for?"
Continuing to build upon and nurture the relationships between AMCOM and SAMD senior leadership and employees is vital to SAMD's continued success, Wood said.
"Each and every one of us has a role in this organization. What you do impacts the mission. Think of us as a jigsaw puzzle. If we don't have every piece of that puzzle then it's not complete. Your roles, responsibilities, the things you do, your input, your feedback, your responses are important to this organization," Wood said. "None of us has all the answers, It takes us working toward a common goal to achieve that goal. Help us achieve the goals."
Security Assistance employees are the professionals that the Army needs to ensure the strength of partnerships between the U.S. government and its allies.
"Our Foreign Military Sales program ensures that the equipment being sold to our allies has the full backing of the U.S. government," Wood said. "Allies understand that our FMS program requires the same level of quality in the equipment as if it were being purchased for U.S. forces. This is so important because, at the end of the day, not only must U.S. forces be prepared and ready for war, but so, too, must our foreign partners be ready."
Foreign military sales to allied nations ensures interoperability between U.S. and allied forces equipment, builds allied relationships, and augments a strong U.S. industrial base.
"We work from a Total Package Approach for the weapon systems provided to our foreign partners. We, the Security Assistance Enterprise, provide the major end items and sustainment support (training, spares, technical publications and maintenance) for these systems. An ally may want a system, but we have to ensure that they can use the system and they can maintain the system," Wood said.
"You can sell a system to a foreign partner nation. But what happens when maintenance is required? They need to know not only how to execute the system, but also how to maintain it and repair it, how to take the parts of the system apart and then put them back together again. As professionals in the Security Assistance Enterprise, we can offer all that to them through the Total Package Approach."
During the town hall, SAMD employees Gena Scofield and Kerenza Hickman received an award from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation for their work in ensuring the delivery of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to the Slovakian government in June. Their work had a direct and positive impact on the U.S./Slovakian partnership.
The following employees were recognized with Length of Service Awards: Five Years -- Taylor Williams, Timothy Watkins, Nikki Terry, Brianna Gleason, Andrew Gibbs, Kendall Cannon and Monika Brownfield; 10 years - Waldemar "Wally" Ramirez III, Maria "Lilet" Ross, Michael Forte, Maxine Smith, Laytonya Alford, Dana Holms, Brandon Kirksey, Kurt Stefanie and Michelle Spaulding; 15 years - Kimberly Brown and Kevin Lovejoy; 20 years - Vanessa Flowers and Jimmy Jones; 25 years - Cynthia Seay and Frederick O'Connor; 30 years - Mark Barefield, Tonya Howard and Lorie Williams; and 35 years - Brian Amberger, Keith Carter, William Perry and Lisa Chesnutt.