By Ms Kim C Gillespie (USASAC)December 12, 2011
The Security Assistance Command provided support at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 28 through Dec. 1. This year's conference was hosted by the Army and USASAC participated as part of the Army/Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation exhibit.
PEO STRI had the lead for the Army's participation, and in addition to USASAC, the Research Development and Engineering Command, another subordinate command of Army Materiel Command, was also part of the exhibit.
The Army exhibit included demonstrations of various simulators and trainers used by the Army. This year's participation by USASAC's is the first time it has been involved at the conference and its participation came at the request of PEO STRI.
"This conference has more than 20,000 participants, and several thousand of these attendees are from more than 50 different countries," Mark Pye, director of security assistance for PEO STRI, said. "Many of the foreign military attendees expressed interest in acquiring our systems last year, and since USASAC is the primary entry point for U.S. Army materiel and service-related foreign military sales requirements, we felt it would be beneficial for them to have a presence here."
Maj. Gen. Del Turner, USASAC commander, who took command at the end of September, used the event's opening day to learn more about PEO STRI's systems and meet with Dr. James Blake, program executive officer for PEO STRI.
"We really appreciated Maj. Gen. Turner attending this year's event. It gave us a chance to show him the systems that are currently being fielded for our international partners, and to discuss how PEO STRI fits into the Army 'total package' for FMS," Pye said.
The FMS total package includes materiel, spare parts, training, publications, technical documentation, maintenance support and other services that AMC's life cycle management commands and the Army's program executive offices provide to Army units. According to both PEO STRI and USASAC officials, simulators and trainers can help significantly reduce life-cycle training costs for many of the foreign partners who purchase Army systems, just as they reduce costs for Army units.
"It's important that our foreign partners understand up front what they need to sustain and maintain these systems, particularly in the area of training," Pye said.
USASAC representatives from its SOUTHCOM regional directorate, G3/5, Security Assistance Training Management Organization and Command Information/Public Affairs Office also attended. USASAC presented an FMS 101 Briefing for Industry, along with PEO STRI and the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management, which provides education, research and support to advance U.S. foreign policy through security assistance and security cooperation. SATMO provides training to international partner's outside of the U.S. Their training is done through FMS, and they have experience with both live and simulated training. USASAC SOUTHCOM representatives were able to meet with SOUTHCOM combatant command representatives and the SOUTHCOM countries represented at the event. The SOUTHCOM COCOM hosted a simultaneous symposium during I/ITSEC.
"Our USASAC team engaged in productive side meetings with more than seven SOUTHCOM partnership country representatives while also learning more about the PEO STRI systems," Ramon Rivera, USASAC SOUTHCOM Regional Operations Division chief, said.
Both PEO STRI and USASAC representatives hope that additional benefits will continue to come from this conference.
"We want to ensure we provide our customers with the best information for the 'total package,' and that we are able to ensure their initial 'Letters of Request' (the first formal step in the FMS process) accurately reflect what they need for the acquisition process," Pye said.