By Ms. Kim C Gillespie (USASAC)October 1, 2012
The Security Assistance Command coordinated a case management review for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Support Agency on Sept. 11, and the meeting served as both an introduction and a relationship-builder for the parties involved. Some regional organizations, like NATO, are authorized to use the foreign military sales process just like authorized countries.
"This is the first time the NSPA has visited USASAC since it was created July 1," Gokhan Tokus, chief, Material Management Center (Rockets, Missiles, UAS, Combat Vehicles Programme), said. Tokus was accompanied by Mike McKinnon, LM NSPA representative to Aviation and Mission Command, who emphasized the importance of reviewing the NSPA cases for the 28 nations that comprise the NSPA and the NATO nations it represents.
"We do need to periodically meet face-to-face and discuss the cases and issues," McKinnon said.
Tokus took the time to explain how the NSPA was established less than two months ago.
"The NSPA is NATO's Integrated Logistics and Services Provider agency, combining the former NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, the Central Europe Pipeline Management Agency and the NATO Airlift Management Agency," he said.
Tokus also emphasized that the NSPA is a fully customer-funded agency, "operating on a no-profit, no-loss basis."
"We're a civilian service organization just like you are," he added. The NSPA brings together in a single organization NATO's logistics and procurement support activities, for integrated multinational support solutions for its stakeholders. Its creation falls within the framework of the new NATO approach to defense spending during austere times called "Smart Defence" of which Smart Support is a key element.
Since January, 18 cases have been offered and/or implemented for the NSPA, or what was formerly known as NAMSA. Beth Henderson, country program manager for USASAC's EUCOM Regional Operations Directorate, oversees the NSPA cases. She only recently joined the EUCOM Directorate, after having served as a CPM for the PACOM Directorate.
"Of course the process is the same, but getting to know the different countries and cases, and the culture does take a little time," Henderson said. "This is my first CMR as a CPM for EUCOM, and the first for Mr. Tokus for the NSPA. We can get to know each other and review the process from both sides."
Henderson, who oversees the FMS process and the Letters of Offer and Acceptance or LOAs, from start to completion for her assigned countries or organizations such as NSPA, was joined by USASAC's EUCOM/AFRICOM deputy director Jacqueline Williams, who facilitated the meeting. The central case manager, Erica Gardner, provided line-by-line analysis of each case that included current value, obligations, commitments and expenditures. Reviews and discussion of open requisitions were also a topic.
The cases that NSPA currently has open are largely in the areas of rockets and missile systems. Tokus noted that the FMS process provided them the best means to procure the associated articles that are needed to sustain a system, such as spare parts, and associated support.
"Many customers comment that they prefer the FMS process over direct commercial sales because we can provide 'the total package' needed for a capability, and aren't just focused on the sale of the equipment," Henderson said.
For both Tokus and McKinnon, the success of the meeting was more about the end result.