Vanessa Lugo, country program manager for SOUTHCOM/NORTHCOM, teaches international students about the foreign military sales process,
Vanessa Lugo, country program manager for SOUTHCOM/NORTHCOM, teaches international students about the foreign military sales process, (Photo Credit: Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Security Assistance Command made an appearance at the Joint Logistics and Security Assistance Course in February. Vanessa Lugo, country program manager for SOUTHCOM/NORTHCOM, traveled to the Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation where she taught a Foreign Military Sales class to 16 international students.

At the request of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, USASAC participated in a WHINSEC course at Fort Benning, Georgia, on Feb. 27. This course is offered as part of the JLSAC and is designed to provide students the necessary skills to function in assignments dealing with defense logistics planning, purchase of U.S. materials and training, and multinational logistics supporting a full range of operations.

There were students from Colombia (Army), Costa Rica (National Police), Ecuador (Air Force), Guatemala (Navy), Honduras (Air Force), Mexico (Navy) and Paraguay (Army), USASAC provided a foreign military sales overview to the students who are anticipating becoming actively involved in their country’s security assistance program.

Lugo was requested if she could teach the full course in Spanish. Although there are translators for other classes and briefings, Lugo said, “I feel that the students feel more comfortable and also they make their questions and comments in Spanish too.”

WHINSEC first invited Lugo in March 2020 as a CPM to be part of their curriculum. Immediately after finding out which information the course was looking to cover in the day-to-day lessons, Lugo put together FMS and CPM information to share with the class. The briefing was a team effort between CPMs at Redstone Arsenal and a country case manager at New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

This was Lugo’s fourth class. She started in person in March 2020, continued for two virtual years and then went face-to-face again this year.

“This was the best class so far,” Lugo said. “Their questions and preparation for my briefing were on the point. Most of the students were from programs that I’m working right now or I worked in the past, which was good because I know their cases, and I know their questions in advance.”

USASAC bridged the relationship with WHINSEC and increased involvement within the JLSAC course to become a routine occurrence. During the visit, the team discussed additional opportunities for collaboration, including possible engagements with foreign area officers undergoing training at WHINSEC.

WHINSEC is considering extending the USASAC FMS Overview to being an all-day course. It used to be a one-hour course, and this year was a three-hour course, but more time is needed to really capture the full scope of USASAC’s mission and processes. WHINSEC is also considering bringing students to visit Redstone Arsenal in the future. Students seem to really enjoy visiting the military facilities in their other classes, so this is something that would make the course more engaging for future curriculums.

“I like what I do, and every time that I can have the opportunity to share and explain to others what we do, I will take the chance,” Lugo said.

This teaching opportunity directly benefits USASAC by reaching all students who will oversee their FMS programs when they return to their home countries. They will have firsthand information what USASAC can do for them while remembering that they are more than a program; they are a partner.