The U.S. Army provides capabilities to allies and partners which support regional and global operations, enable territorial defense and enhance interoperability and readiness.
This critical component of U.S. foreign policy was recently demonstrated when Greece received an initial 44 M117 Guardian Armored Safety Vehicles, the first of a two-part Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case that will ultimately see 1,200 vehicles delivered.
The vehicles are Excess Defense Articles, or EDA, and the Army uses FMS to facilitate divesture, while simultaneously building partner capacity. Vehicles declared EDA are no longer part of the Army’s inventory. The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC) executes Army FMS.
“The 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Germany put the vehicles on a train and sent them to the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Greece where the transfer was initiated by the Office of Defense Cooperation” said Marcus Mackey USASAC G-3 Mission Support for EDA.
By receiving the first 44 M1117 ASVs from Germany, both the U.S. and Greek Armies benefit in numerous ways.
The Greeks receive the vehicles for essentially the transportation costs, and with the first vehicles coming from within Europe, transportations costs will be much less than for the remaining vehicles that will ship from Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California. The vehicles arriving from Germany are also in operational condition since storage at another location was not needed.
"Such a transfer of military vehicles is a big project. It requires the sound cooperation and combined performance of both partners, Hellenic and U.S. Army. Subject matter experts are involved and working hard as a team to conduct this task successfully,” said Lt. Col. Athanasios Natsios, the Greek security assistance liaison officer (SALO) assigned to USASAC.
For the U.S., transferring the vehicles directly from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command immediately divests the unit of older vehicles and facilitates modernization. Additionally, providing a U.S. ally with quality, reliable equipment enhances interoperability and readiness.
The M1117 vehicles will complement existing weapons systems, providing new capabilities to the Greek Army. The range of missions they can perform is a guarantee of their successful integration and utilization, said Greece's Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos at the transfer ceremony December 1, 2021.
“I am convinced that the M1117 Security Armored Vehicles will breathe new life into the operational design of our army formations, enabling them to carry out a wide range of missions,” he said Panagiotopoulos.
The geopolitical environment of Greece and the threats it faces in the region have prompted political and military leadership to seek the acquisition of new weapons systems to support and strengthen the country’s international alliances.
“The reuse of this property constitutes at the same time a challenge and an example of our enhanced cooperation, in order to make this equipment operationally capable to achieve our common objectives and strengthen our bonds," Natsios added.
Panagiotopoulos praised Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt for the excellent level of cooperation achieved between the U.S. Embassy and the Department of Defense in the field of defense cooperation.
“It is another solid proof of the thriving strategic relationship between Greece and the U.S and cooperation between the Greek and American Armed Forces,” said Panagiotopoulos. “We believe that the best is yet to come and strategic cooperation is in an excellent state at the moment, but there is more to do and we are all committed to doing more.”