A foreign military sales program leader with the Security Assistance Management Directorate recently earned recognition as one of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command's Most Valuable Players.
Security Assistance Management Directorate program leaders help develop FMS cases involving helicopters and missile systems. They coordinate with other U.S. departments/agencies to help U.S. allies and partner nations get the military systems they need to protect themselves from neighboring threats, improve their nations' readiness and enhance interoperability with U.S. forces.
Kenneth Baez assumed lead of a FMS Patriot program in February 2019 for SAMD's Strategic Missile Defense Division, Multi-National Branch, just in time to help provide critical coordination strategies between the customer-nation, the U.S. Embassy, U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, SAMD, PEO Missiles and Space's Lower Tier Project Office and contractors in order to conduct a successful U.S. Government Field Surveillance Program live-fire event in the customer-nation during April 2019.
"Without this coordination, the customer wouldn't have received the necessary information/data and U.S. support needed for the successful achievement of this imperative event," Benita Martin-Dwight, SAMD's Patriot Multi-National Branch chief (now retired) noted in Baez's nomination for MVP recognition.
Baez also developed and ensured financial reconciliation of many of his customers' FMS Patriot cases during the April-May 2019 timeframe, resulting in the program remaining financially healthy.
"This customer's program is very demanding because of the weapon system configuration," Martin-Dwight said. "Providing total program oversight and support is critical to the U.S./customer-nation relationship. Kenneth has been the case developer, financial analyst, U.S. government coordinator and program manager that has contributed to the progress and success of the program. The customer's Patriot program foreign liaison officer reported to the SAMD leadership their contentment with Kenneth's professionalism, job execution and hard-working ethics."
Baez says his job provides inspiration to excel.
"I know that we, as a nation, are building a better global neighborhood. I enjoy supporting FMS customers and seeing that we can make our allies successful and safer," he said via an email interview while traveling between partner nations. "Bringing together different organizations at the same time in a way that we are all on the same page, like the Field Surveillance Program live-fire event overseas, was very motivating."
Baez's cross-cultural upbringing may contribute to his success working on FMS programs with other countries.
"My parents are from Puerto Rico and moved to New York City in the 1960s searching for more job opportunities. I was born in New York," said Baez, who speaks both Spanish and English. "Our family moved back to Puerto Rico when I was 10."
Years later while attending the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamon, Baez attended an AMCOM job fair at the school. He became a U.S. federal employee working for SAMD in February 2008.
"I applied and here I am," he said. "SAMD is a great organization, and I like everything about it -- the agency's mission, my coworkers, working with foreign customers, and probably -- most of all -- traveling and being able to see first-hand how we're helping our customers make their countries safer."
The Security Assistance Management Directorate provides full-service aviation, missile and calibration support to FMS customers in order to build partner capacity and capabilities that support and strengthen U.S. global partnerships.