U.S. Foreign Military Sales Sees Growth Explosion

Iraqi M1A1 Abrhams Tank Live Fire Exercise

Defense Exports Achieve USD $37.9 Billion in FY 09

The United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency oversees all Foreign Military Sales cases and associated programs. Rising by more than 465% since 1998, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency  (DSCA) announced foreign military sales (FMS) results for fiscal year 2009 that set a new record, overtaking last years figure of USD $36.4 Billion. Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa is charged with leading, directing and managing security cooperation programs to support national security objectives for the Department of Defense. Like all of the agency’s programs, FMS helps nurture relationships, build allied and partner capacities for self-defense and promote peacetime and contingency access for U.S. forces. The FMS process is a exceedingly deliberate system that involves numerous players throughout the U.S. government, industry, and foreign partners. Among other high profile deals, the agency announced the intended sale of a wide variety of defense articles to the Ministry of Defense of Iraq, valued at USD $6 Billion. Included in this figure were 92 M1152 shelter carriers, eight M88A2 tank recovery vehicles, 140 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks (pictured above with caption below), and numerous other land vehicles, equipment, spares and logistical services valued at USD $2.16 Billion.

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: An M1A1 Abrams main battle tank (MBT) is fired for the first time by an Iraqi Army armor student being trained by Soldiers of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and contracted instructors at Besmaya range. The Iraqi Army purchased the 140 Abrams Tanks through the Foreign Military Sales Program. Photo Credit: Private 1st Class Evan Loyd, 2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO, First Armored Division, MND-B.

We Want Some Of Those Please
Partner countries request defense articles or services by submitting a Letter of Request (LOR). The LOR is validated by numerous organizations; Combatant Command, military services, defense agencies, the U.S. Embassies and Political Military Bureaus at the State Department and DSCA.

The military services & defense agencies work with industry and partner nations to fully define and refine the requirements. This is managed through an acquisition program office such as the one where I presently work at the Electronic Systems Center (ESC), Hanscom AFB in Massachusetts. Our unit, the 350th Electronic Systems Group supports this activity through the International Acquisitions Division where I am assigned to the Iraq Program team. Our acquisition program rolls up to the United States Air Force Material Command (AFMC) where we concentrate on Command & Control (C2) centric missions such as the current Iraq Air Command and Control (I-ACCS) program effort that will re-establish a military air-space control and common air picture for the Iraqi Air Force (IqAF).

Mission profiles such as ours sometimes require the creation of a concept of operations or CONOPS in order to establish the framework by which desired defense items can be assimilated into the force structure of an FMS customer. This usually leads to a formal request to provide pricing and availability (P&A) data and then the creation of a highly detailed statement of objectives (the SOO). The SOO becomes the basis for creating a solicitation to offerors in the form of a request for proposal or RFP.

Sign Here . . . And Here . . . And Here . . .
Sometimes policy or statute requires the involvement of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L), or Comptroller, and the intelligence community. Once all requirements are validated, depending on the value of the sale, a Congressional notification 36(b) is submitted to Congress if the proposed sale exceeds notification thresholds. Once a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) is prepared, a contract is signed, the articles are acquired and delivered, and the services are performed.

The Iraqi army recently took ownership of 8,500 refurbished Humvee vehicles. In addition to new vehicles, the army procured 80,000 new M-16 rifles and more than 12,000 Single-Channel Ground-Air Radio Systems, or SINGARS radios. Photo Credit: U.S. Army. “The Iraq and Afghanistan programs have clearly demonstrated that FMS can be made operational and that Security Cooperation (SC) can and does meet the flexible and responsive demands of contingency, stability and reconstruction requirements. For example, while requests should go from LOR to LOA in no more than 120 days, DSCA’s Iraq team has managed to get it down to about 33 days. This was achieved by increasing the size of the Multi-national Security Transition Command–Iraq (MNSTC-I) security assistance office and providing the right personnel with the necessary skill sets.” A number of other initiatives were also key to strengthening the Security Cooperation capacity in Iraq to include efforts to provide training to both U.S. and Iraqi personnel, the deployment of five mobile training teams to Iraq, and training a total of 119 Iraqis and 61 U.S. personnel on the intricacies of the FMS acquisition methodology.

SPC Daniel Nebrida of C Battery, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery - part of the 35th ADA Brigade - in Osan, Korea, checks canister cable connections on a FMS doesn’t begin or end with Iraq and Afghanistan. There are 206 countries interested in purchasing defense articles and services from the U.S. government. Some countries prefer to directly negotiate with U.S. industry through Direct Commercial Sales, while others prefer the “Total Package Approach” (TPA), through FMS.

Under FMS, there are advantages for U.S. companies. For example releasability determinations are handled by the government. In cases involving the transfer of sensitive technology, the U.S. government may restrict the release of the item through FMS only so that the United states can maintain oversight. In these cases, the only option for receiving the item is through a government-to-government transaction.

The overarching goal of the FMS program is to assist and strengthen our global partners to support the foreign policy objectives of the United States by focusing on long-term strategic relationships. However, this goal is achieved through wider efforts than the sale of hardware and services to a partnering country. Security assistance and international cooperation also encompasses the interplay of subject matter experts, multi-national symposiums and conferences, and large-scale military exercises. To illustrate this important point, these activities are portrayed in the photo essay that accompanies this months editorial feature.

Security Assistance and International Cooperation
Photo Essay Supplement

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - JUNE 21:  Two Iraqi girls watch Staff Sgt. Nick Gibson of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division June 21, 2007 as the unit was canvassing the tense Dora neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq.  U.S. soldiers patrol the area almost daily in an effort to get to know the residents and find insurgents.

BAGHDAD, IRAQ – Two Iraqi girls watch Staff Sergeant Nick Gibson of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division as the unit was canvassing the tense Dora neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq.  U.S. soldiers patrol the area almost daily in an effort to get to know the residents and find insurgents.

An Iraqi tank crew member loads a .50 caliber machine gun during a live fire training exercise with an M1 Abrams tank, in Baghdad, Iraq, Nov. 14. Photo by Spc. Jesse Gross

BAGHDAD, IRAQ – An Iraqi tank crew member loads a .50 caliber machine gun during a live fire training exercise with an M1 Abrams tank, in Baghdad, Iraq, Nov. 14. Photo by Specialist Jesse Gross.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal (R) and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud attend the GCC foreign and defence ministers' meeting in Riyadh.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal (R) and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud attend the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign and defense ministers’ meeting in Riyadh. The GCC endeavors to increase the stability and welfare of the region through international security programs.

U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships transit in formation during Annual Exercise. Ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan are participating in the bilateral exercise designed to enhance the capabilities of both naval forces.

SEA OF JAPAN – U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships transit in formation during Annual Exercise. Ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan are participating in the bilateral exercise designed to enhance the capabilities of both naval forces. Photo U.S. Navy – released.

U.S. Army soldiers arrive by air and convoy to help Iraqi soldiers provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Faddaqhryah and Bahar in Basra province, Aug. 18, 2009. The soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's 17th Fires Brigade.

BASRA, IRAQ – U.S. Army soldiers arrive by air and convoy to help Iraqi soldiers provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Faddaqhryah and Bahar in Basra province, August. 18, 2009. The soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division’s 17th Fires Brigade. Photo U.S. Army – released.

U.S. Army Sgt. Peter Bitter, right, and Sgt. Michael Resendez, fire a Javelin missile for the first time in India during exercise Yudh Abyas on Camp Bundela, India, Oct. 23, 2009. Bitter and Resendez, are assigned to the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Squadron.

CAMP BUNDELA, INDIA -U.S. Army Sergeant. Peter Bitter, right, and Sergeant. Michael Resendez, fire a Javelin missile for the first time in India during exercise Yudh Abyas on Camp Bundela, India, Oct. 23, 2009. Bitter and Resendez, are assigned to the 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Squadron. Photo U.S. Army – released.


About the Author
I am an accomplished advanced and disruptive technology analyst. I help organizations manage their overall marketing strategy and efforts including market analysis, identification of business opportunities and risks, strategic alliances and partnering, systems engineering and customer requirements, business development programs and marketing, advertising and communications initiatives & plans.

For office hours and contact information, please use this sites contact form.

EDITORIAL REFERENCE: Defense Security Cooperation Agency C.E. Taylor.

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