NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. -- The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's crest includes the motto "Strength in Cooperation," which refers to the relationships developed between the U.S. and international partners through U.S. security assistance and the foreign military sales program. It also can refer to how USASAC employees, such as the small four-person Case Development Team, accomplish their workload.

Stephanie Rhoads, Mike Walp, Sue Glatfelter and Kim Rizzardo were recently recognized by Maj. Gen. Del Turner, USASAC commanderl, for maintaining a more than 96 percent average for developing cases for potential FMS agreements within a specified time frame. Additionally, the team completed more than 289 cases within a five-month period.

Richard "Rick" Berry, chief of the Logistical Programs Division, said the team's hard work is about providing a properly prepared and executable Letter of Offer and Acceptance (which is a formal agreement between the U.S. and another country), or LOA, based on the international partners' requests. This allows U.S. partners and allies to make better decisions regarding a FMS purchase, which can result in enhancing an already established relationship or creating a new one. USASAC works with 145 countries around the globe.

In terms of FMS, case development has some similarities to developing a "scope of work" for a contract, but there are still many differences. Rather than a contract, the case is developed for a LOA or the case can be an amendment or modification to a previous case that was developed and was finalized as a LOA.

Case development begins when an approved country wants to make a request for Army materiel or services. The country will work with its assigned USASAC country program manager to determine the exact requirements of what it wants to purchase.

"The country sends a LOR (Letter of Request) to the CPM, who then submits the LOR into the Defense Security Assistance Management System, where it is received by the Case Development Team," Rhoads, team leader, said. It is up to the case writers on the Case Development Team to work with the "Sources of Supply," such as the Army Materiel Command Life Cycle Management Commands, Defense Logistics Agency, General Services Administration and other DoD/non-DoD agencies, to determine the source for the materiel/services, e.g., stock or acquisition, price, availability, time frame for purchase and delivery, etc.

According to Rhoads and Walp, once the LOR is received through DSAMS is when the real team work begins. Unlike the CPMs and country case managers who handle the same countries and are aligned under geographic combatant commands, the Case Development Team is not country specific. Instead it prioritizes workload based on case development priorities and each team member's current workload.

The time specified for case development varies based on the type of case. Emergency LOAs are required as soon as possible, while defined order LOAs are required within 65 days, and Blanket Orders and Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Arrangement are required within 15 days of receipt of the LOR, Rizzardo said.

The Case Development Team members do not work with the same USASAC CPMs and CCMs or the AMC LCMCs are weapons systems-specific.

"But having different program managers facilitate our requests is not really a problem," Rhoads said.

Whether it is USASAC or AMC LCMC personnel, the most important factor is experience.

"It was a challenge when TACOM lost personnel because of the finalizations of the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure 2005) moves that occurred last year," Walp said. "There weren't always enough PMs and there is always a learning curve for employees new to FMS."

But USASAC faced a similar problem when it began its BRAC moves in 2009 and had a large turnover of CPMs.

"Having an experienced CPM can make a huge difference. A lot of being successful with FMS is based on the CPM helping the country develop the capability they need," Berry said. "That is not something that is taught in a class, it just comes from experience and learning the right questions to ask the country."

And then it's up to the Case Development Team to work with the AMC LCMCs to provide the specifications in a timely and efficient manner for what the countries requested. And ultimately, it is also about making priorities for the COCOMs work.

"Right now we have an eight-page LOR with 60 NSNs (National Stock Numbers) on each page for a country, and its requirements are a priority for the COCOM," Glatfelter, who is handling this large case, said. But in typical Case Development Team fashion, she also added that her co-workers are helping her as their caseloads permit.

The 289 cases developed by the Case Development Team in five months put them on-track to exceed the 574 completed in fiscal 2011. For the Case Development Team, it's all about "Strength in Cooperation."