By Kari HawkinsMay 29, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A fact-finding and team-building mission conducted by the British army brought one of its senior officers to Redstone Arsenal May 23 for developmental meetings with logistics leaders.
Lt. Gen. Paul Jaques, chief of materiel (land) and quartermaster-general to the forces, focused his brief U.S. visit on Army Materiel Command, with other stops at the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space and with defense contractors.
Army Materiel Command became a top priority to the British army due to its role in providing equipment readiness to both U.S. Soldiers and allied armies.
"The Army Materiel Command is very involved in so many things operationally and in support of munitions. We have British army liaison officers and exchange officers in all the U.S. Army commands. Only this one we didn't," Jaques said.
"We didn't realize the scale of what the Army Materiel Command does. Once we did, we committed ourselves to building and improving the relationship between the Army Materiel Command and the British army. We have a mutual interest."
Following meetings with Army Materiel Command leaders in 2015 and 2016, Jaques determined a need to establish a British liaison officer within command headquarters. Lt. Col. Simon Townsend has been assigned that role.
"We need a British liaison officer here specifically to find out what we don't know and to build a beneficial relationship. We have very strong relationships with other Army commands and we want that, too, with the Army Materiel Command," Jaques said. "We want to have strong operational and technical ties. Once we understand what we don't know, there will be a lot more we can do to connect operationally."
Jaques met with Army Materiel Command's Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Allan Elliott; Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Logistics Maj. Gen. Dan Mitchell; Deputy Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space Brig. Gen. Rob Rasch; and Aviation and Missile Command's Col. David Almquist. The group discussed British industrial strategy, Foreign Military Sales and building partner capabilities and aviation sustainment.
"Basically, we want to understand what you do in a bit more detail in terms of Army equipment and Foreign Military Sales," Jaques said. "There are choices to be made in terms of supporting FMS cases through the U.S. industrial base or bringing that industry to the U.K."
The British army is particularly interested in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the AH-64E Apache helicopter. Contracts are also in place to provide Javelin missiles, other munitions and tank upgrades to the British army.
"We work closely with the program executive offices and U.S. suppliers so that we can get the best deal for the British army," Jaques said. "We've worked on the JLTV for the last two years. It's our number one priority. Now, Britain has to do the final approval and that's going on as we speak."
Before arriving at Redstone Arsenal, Jaques visited Oshkosh in Wisconsin to see the first two JLTVs that will be delivered to Britain once the contract is signed. He also visited Lockheed Martin facilities in Orlando, where the company designs, develops and manufactures high-tech missile defense systems, including the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.
"We need to build a strong partnership. Americans buy really good equipment from their defense contractors and that means we get good equipment, too, at a good price," Jaques said.
"But we also want to create a relationship and an understanding that goes beyond a great deal. We want to be able to fight together, operate together and share resources, and we want to understand the performance of systems from a safety perspective."