NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. - The pieces were finally in place to deliver a foreign military sales (FMS) order to Peru, and the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command’s transportation department was handed a seemingly impossible task. Make the delivery happen in just eight working days, with a holiday weekend in the middle.
The FMS case would provide night vision devices (NVDs) to our Peruvian Army partners to better equip them for future missions. The case was in the works for some time but faced a few issues that delayed delivery. Pressure was mounting to get the NVDs to Peru so they could become properly trained and proficient with the equipment.
It wasn’t a task that could be accomplished by one team, or even USASAC alone. It required communication and coordination between multiple agencies, including the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), the Defense Contracting Management Agency (DCMA) and SOUTHCOM.
Michael Roberts, a country case manager for Peru, did his part to deliver for the customer by keeping communication flowing between the involved parties. He worked with the country program managers, the transportation team, and CECOM to keep everyone up to date on the case’s status and figure out what was needed to “get this stuff moving out the door.”
“The biggest thing is communication and teamwork between USASAC as a whole, CECOM as a whole, and the Peruvian Army partners,” Roberts said. “It’s sort of cliché, but if we didn’t get along well together, it just won’t happen. And I think that’s the whole essence of USASAC.”
Once the foundation was set by the case managers and partnering agencies, it was transportation’s turn.
“All that back and forth about the case led to everything getting lined up, and that’s when Chad (Pellerin) really kicked in and did his magic to get the NVDs down to Peru,” Roberts said.
Chad Pellerin, a transportation management specialist for INDPACOM/SOUTHCOM/NORTHCOM regional operations division at USASAC, said it’s often difficult to find transportation to SOUTCHOM for sensitive materials like NVDs. But when he received official notification on Aug. 31 that the shipment needed to arrive by Sept. 13. – in time for a visit by SOUTHCOM commander Gen. Laura Richardson – he knew they would have to pull out all the stops make it happen.
“That’s when the action started,” Pellerin said.
The transportation team contacted the SOUTHCOM deployment distribution operations command to find out if there were any military airlift opportunities before the deadline. There was one scheduled for Sept. 8, but they were unable to contact the unit before the Labor Day weekend.
In the meantime, the team explored commercial transportation options. Pellerin knew they often don’t get bids on sensitive items like this, and that would be the case this time as well.
Luckily, they made contact with the West Virginia National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing on the afternoon of Sept. 5, and the 167th received approval from their chain of command to carry the cargo on their flight later that day.
Moving right on to the next challenge, the NVDs needed to get from the vendor in Roanoke, Virginia, to the 167th in Martinsburg in 48 hours.
“That’s where DCMA comes in and saves the day,” Pellerin said. “They were able to contact a shipping company after business hours on Tuesday and confirm a truck to pick up the NVDs on Wednesday.”
The equipment was delivered to the 167th soon after the base opened Thursday morning, loaded onto the aircraft and delivered to the customer by the deadline.
Garnering cooperation from multiple agencies on a tight deadline is testament to USASAC’s professionalism and dedication to their customers. USASAC provides the oversight and coordination, but without the willingness from others to assist, it would not be successful.
“It’s just a credit upon the relationships we have, and that we’re able to pull everyone together to get something like this done,” Pellerin said.
The success of this case demonstrates USASAC’s ability to deliver under pressure and fulfill their obligation to the customer, which ultimately builds partner capacity and strengthens U.S. global partnerships.