By Debra ValineJune 12, 2019
Seeing members of a foreign country's military on Redstone Arsenal is not unusual. They represent their countries in various capacities, including the first foreign liaison officer from Qatar.
1st Lt. Mariam Yousef, Qatar Emiri Air Force, and the first foreign liaison officer from Qatar to be stationed at Redstone, is assigned to the Program Executive Office Aviation, Apache Project Office. She arrived in September to support a foreign military sales case for Apache helicopters.
She said her initial assignment is for a little more than a year, but that she may extend depending on mission requirements. She also said Qatar plans to maintain the position to continue supporting current and potential future FMS requirements.
A FLO is an official representative, either military or civilian, of a foreign government or international organization stationed in the U.S. normally for the purpose of managing or monitoring security assistance programs.
In addition to PEO Aviation, Yousef also works with the Aviation and Missile Command, Security Assistance Management Directorate, Attack System Division Qatar Apache team, and the Security Assistance Command's Country Program Manager for Qatar.
The contract for the 24 AH-64E Apache Longbow helicopters, awarded June 7, 2016, to Boeing Company, Mesa, Arizona, includes training of 70 pilots and 100 ground crew, which is part of the FMS Total Package Approach.
In a formal delivery ceremony at Boeing's Mesa production plant in Arizona in March, the Army handed over the first of 24 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters purchased by Qatar case.
Deliveries are expected to be complete by the end of May 2020.
Yousef's presence allows the U.S. government to obtain responses to time-sensitive requests for information and technical inquires in an expedited manner, which can be critical to the success of an FMS program.
"My career began when I took a position at Gulf Helicopters Company in Doha," she said. "After my initial experience and on-the-job training, I became a licensed engineer working in the helicopter maintenance department and rated on the AgustaWestland AW-139 helicopter. I was promoted to the position of engineering technical instructor in the Training Department within Gulf Helicopters and then I spent two years as the deputy manager of the Training Department."
While at Redstone, Yousef said she will be handling "all things Apache."
"The receipt of the Apache helicopters is a turning point in the Qatar armed forces' attack helicopter capability," she said.
Yousef said working at Redstone has been a good experience.
"It has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge in program management and to become acquainted with our new equipment," she said. "The AH-64E is a very complex aircraft, so it is important that we have personnel that are acquainted with the technical aspects at all levels. Having a representative located with the PEO AVN, AMCOM SAMD and USASAC has been advantageous for the QEAF's program."