In an auditorium filled with more than 200 defense industry business and contracting leaders eager to learn and security assistance professionals willing to inform, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Drushal, commander of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, explained the Foreign Military Sales process and how local businesses could engage in, and support, the FMS programs.
Drushal, the keynote speaker for the North Alabama International Trade Association's 11th annual FMS Industry Day, also addressed several key points to include what USASAC was doing to improve the speed of the FMS process to combat a perception that the FMS process was slow.
"Our number one concern and focus is on how to communicate and collaborate on FMS programs to increase speed in execution," Drushal said. "It is a misperception that FMS cases are slow, but each case takes time as FMS cases are incredibly complex and tailored to fit specific requirements."
Drushal added that of Army Materiel Command's seven priorities, there were two primary focus areas for USASAC and the Army Security Assistance Enterprise: industrial base readiness and supply availability.
"Over the last year we've had a big push to ensure that Security Assistance has no negative impact on Army Readiness," he told the audience at the Jackson Center in Huntsville. "We've put measures in place where and when we've identified areas of discrepancy and are also working to understand areas where Security Assistance has in some instances actually enhanced Army Readiness."
That's where Drushal and his team at USASAC come in as the single entity that provides oversight over the case development, logistics, training and transportation of FMS case requirements.
Communicating, collaborating and solving problems together with industry is critical as USASAC currently manages more than 6,175 FMS cases with 137 countries and international organizations, with total program value of over $198 billion.
Drushal was followed by a panel discussion entitled, "FMS Around the Globe," featuring a trio of deputy directors for USASAC's three regional operations directorates, who explained current needs and requirements for countries within their geographic combatant commands.
One of the more anticipated speakers, Ann Scott, Services and Products Division Chief at USASAC New Cumberland, highlighted ways the industry partners could connect with the ASAE team and where to look for up-to-date information.
"In the Army Security Enterprise we thrive off of relationships," Scott said. "This is a golden opportunity to get many key players in the industry part of that enterprise in a room and have valuable conversations with them and to pass information to them that will help them, which in turn really helps us complete our mission."
A typical FMS case could have hundreds of lines of requirements to include parts, operations training, materials, transportation, operator manuals, language training and supplies. Defense industry partners attending today's event could possibly be partners that help solve case challenges tomorrow.
"FMS fits within the lines of efforts of the greater DOD strategy," Drushal said. "Building partner capacity is a key component of the national defense strategy. Therefore a strong industry partnership is critical for our success."