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Aviation and Missile Command and Security Assistance Management Directorate setting the standard for the security assistance century.

The foreign military sales (FMS) mission has never been more important for our country. By the numbers, more than 50 percent of the entire Army FMS portfolio in fiscal year (FY) 2010 is coming from Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM). This is due to the increasing need for our allied nations to protect themselves from asymmetric threats requiring Air Defense equipment, and pushing Aviation to stay in front of the support curve for General Petraeus and all the Combatant Commanders is crucial. Whether it is a Patriot missiles for Germany, Apaches for Israel, Bell 412s for Mexico and Pakistan, Chinooks for Taiwan, or Huey IIs for Kazakhstan, it is about increasing our allies' capabilities so that they can defend themselves, allowing stability in the region as well as bringing our Soldiers home to their families much sooner. PEO Aviation's Non-standard Rotary Wing Project Office represents the very edge of innovation to achieve this goal. That office was initially stood up to take care of the Russian MI-17 helicopter. It is just the first step in getting our arms around all of the different non-standard aircraft that we are selling to other countries. This effort, again, has been nothing short of tremendous, as measured in terms of supporting General Odiemo in Iraq and General McCrystal in Afghanistan. FMS at AMCOM is sharpening the tip of the spear.

Major General James R. Myles

Commander U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

With our world constantly in a state of economic, political, and social flux, security assistance is an increasingly important element of our country's strategic initiatives. It bolsters U.S. foreign policy by ensuring a shared interoperability that permits our allies to fill key roles in achieving our nation's goals for peace and security both at home and abroad. Within the U.S. Army, strategic organizations exist to meet this need. They provide administrative and technical leadership and support to our foreign military partners who are proud recipients of some of the latest and greatest weapons systems with which the U.S. Army accomplishes its mission.

As the Army deals with the challenges of the 21st century, two organizations are leading the way in the field of security assistance: the U.S. Army's AMCOM and its Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD). The brand recognition worldwide for U.S. Army-fielded materiel is due in large part to the efforts of these two crucial entities. An in-depth understanding of each is fundamental to the appreciation of all the U.S. Army does to promote a stable international environment.

The Aviation and Missile Command History: A Boon for Growth in Alabama

Many changes have taken place because of the new face of our military in this new century. Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC) is ever-present in this adaptive effort. Hence, BRAC is the driving force behind the history of these organizations. As organizations change, the talent that went into their formation and sustainment adapts accordingly; the key players of the previous establishment often become the linchpins of the new institutions.

July 17, 1997, saw the provisional creation of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command following the merger of the U.S. Army Aviation and Troop Command (ATCOM) and the U.S. Army Missile Command (MICOM). Its parent command, the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), issued Permanent Orders 344-1, specifying that AMCOM be established at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, on a permanent basis effective 1 October 1997. Major General Emmitt E. Gibson became the first Commanding General (CG) of AMCOM.

A year later, AMCOM assumed operational control of two integral Army depots:

* Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Texas, sustaining aviation systems

* Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) in Pennsylvania, sustaining missile systems

These depots, formerly part of U.S. Army Industrial Operations Command (IOC), would now report directly to AMCOM.

A realignment of commands with AMC spurred the creation of the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) at Redstone Arsenal on 1 October 2000. The Director of the AMRDEC reported to the Commander of AMCOM until June 2003 before assignment of the AMRDEC to the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM). With the additions of CCAD, LEAD, and the AMRDEC, AMCOM was looking more and more like a one-stop-shop for everything aviation and missile.

The Life Cycle Management Command is Born at Aviation and Missile Command

On October 5, 2004, the Honorable Claude Bolton, then Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT), and General Paul Kern, then Commander, AMC, signed an implementation directive that launched the Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). This directive would deactivate the Program Executive Offices for Air, Space, and Missile Defense and for Tactical Missiles on 13 January 2005.

The Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space was activated on that same date; and Brigadier General Samuel "Mike" Cannon, formerly the Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Tactical Missiles, assumed the lead role. The new face of full integration of the soup-to-nuts, cradle-to-grave approach for all things involving missiles or aviation in the Army came to a head on June 16, 2005, when the Aviation and Missile LCMC was formally activated. It comprised all elements of the AMCOM; the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space; and the Program Executive Office, Aviation. Major General James H. Pillsbury was the first Commander of the AMCOM LCMC.

Since its formation, the AMCOM LCMC has transitioned from concept-level to an integrated, closely-aligned organization with a single Commander who has the primary responsibility for the life cycle of all the Army's aviation and missile weapon systems. This re-organization was a milestone in focusing the total life cycle management under a single authority since it provided a direct conduit for situational awareness and the total support structure of all the aviation and missile systems. Improved communication, decision-making, system optimization, and short response times are the returns on the LCMC investment. The initiative is based on an active information flow about equipment status, beginning at the weapon system and flowing back to a combined Project Manager/AMCOM team. The newly designed enablers provide the Project Manager with the necessary decision-making inputs to maximize system performance and minimize the sustainment burden for the soldier. Globally, our foreign military partners also benefit from the multiplied support inherent in the LCMC since this single authority now encompasses both foreign military sales and their logistic responsibilities. This change provides a strong positive influence on the vitality of the U.S. Army's security assistance efforts in the 21st century.

Enter the Security Assistance Management Directorate at Aviation and Missile Command

The Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD) represents AMCOM's security assistance function. Dr. Thomas Pieplow, SAMD's current leader, manages the relationship between AMCOM (commanded by Major General James R. Myles) and the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC, commanded by Brigadier General Christopher Tucker), making sure that both organizations' security assistance requirements are met in the most timely and efficient manner possible. As an organization, SAMD is responsible for managing the transfer and sustainment of 24 AMCOM aviation and missile systems to over seventy foreign nations and organizations. A multicultural staff of over 250 specialists embodies this effort. Conveniently co-located at each supported weapon system program office, these specialists are able to interface directly with appropriate experts for support on the various security assistance programs. Annual sales have consistently exceeded the $1 billion mark in the past four fiscal years; and what's more, SAMD has accounted for over $14 billion in sales in fiscal year 2009! SAMD's role is definitely gaining prominence.

You May Ask Yourself, "What is 'Foreign Military Sales'?"

The U.S. Government is not an arms dealer selling to the highest bidder. SAMD specializes in the FMS portion of security assistance as authorized by the Arms Export Control Act. FMS represents a formal contract between the U.S. Government and an authorized recipient government or international organization. FMS includes government-to-government sales of defense articles or defense services from DOD stocks or new procurements under DOD-managed contracts without regard to the source of the funding. When the U.S. assists other nations in meeting their defense requirements, it contributes to its own security, all in a revenue-neutral fashion--the profit to the government is not monetary, but in the form of promotion of U.S. foreign policy. A thorough explanation of security assistance can be found in the Security Assistance Management Manual (SAMM) in Chapters One and Two (available online at

The Benefits of Teamwork

FMS is not an easy, cash-on-the-barrelhead process. Collecting data and gathering the input necessary to fulfill both U.S. and foreign customer requirements in making a weapon system sale a reality is a study in multicultural bureaucracies. The LCMC initiated the positive move of co-locating SAMD staff with technical experts within the supported weapon system Program Management Office. The result has been efficiencies which significantly cut down the average time to execute an FMS case.

In one such instance, SAMD personnel at the Cargo Helicopter Program Management Office (PMO) of AMCOM were able to expedite the process of transferring previously-owned U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook Helicopters to a foreign military customer in one-fourth the average time. With all the deliveries, production, deployments, and time to get all the necessary foreign personnel sufficiently trained, they were looking at a timeline of 36 to 40 months. The SAMD/Cargo PMO team accomplished the mission in nine.

Canada requested six D-model Chinooks in February 2008. The request was for the aircraft to be delivered by calendar year's end. The regulations governing the FMS process initially would delay SAMD personnel from running at high speed with this sale until the request had gone through channels to be officially recognized by Congress, implemented, and securely funded. On a normal timeline, this would not happen until the fall of 2008, six months of engine revving with no rubber to burn. According to Brandy Goff, SAMD Attack Systems Chief:
 We could take no action. We could get things ready because we knew
 it was going to take place, but we could not go ahead and get
 contracts or a consolidation point until it was implemented and we
 had the funds to distribute the funds to the various organizations
 [Redstone Rocket].

They were at a standstill. Raising the bar on what was looking like an already insurmountable jump, the Canadians wanted the delivery of the helicopters to take place in Afghanistan where they already had their troops deployed. This had never been attempted before. Nevertheless, pieces of the puzzle began falling into place with the aid of very apt technical support personnel in the FMS program of the Cargo Project Management Office at AMCOM. They discovered that the 101st Airborne had D-Model Chinooks and that they were set to shortly deploy with an upgraded fleet of F-Models.

Now it was a question of how to get the D-Models from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to Kandahar, Afghanistan, not to mention the number of logistics issues to cover before ownership could be transferred. Preparation of contracts; locating equipment; accounting for all the shop sets, spare parts, maintenance stands, and every aspect of the sale needed to be covered in accordance with providing Canada with the FMS standard: the Total Package Approach.

One thing threw everyone for a loop at the last minute, the runway for the C-5 to land on was not long enough; and it also looked like there were some cargo hold capability issues with putting the helicopters inside. Solution: use the Antonov An-225 to deliver the birds into theater.

The hustle and bustle would not stop there because now SAMD would have a customer with a new bill of goods to manage. Execution and sustainment are the longest and most labor-intensive parts of an FMS program. Given that soldiers affectionately refer to the workhorse of the cargo helicopter world as "a bunch of loose parts flying in close formation around an oil leak waiting for engine failure," it was vital that the sustainment package be well defined for both the Canadian customer and the U.S. Government.

The travail of so many did not go unrewarded. Successful delivery of the aircraft to Canada happened on 30 December 2008. U.S. Government team members to include personnel from the Cargo Project Management Office's FMS contingent sacrificed a holiday at home with family to see this effort through and accompany the aircraft to delivery. "They took something that takes years," Dr. Pieplow said, "and they did it in months [Redstone Rocket]."

The Future

SAMD and AMCOM's vision for the future consists of supporting the soldier. The increased need to promote international security in our constantly changing global arena will put more demand on organizations like AMCOM and SAMD to rise to the task and deliver services and support to the customer at times when it seems impossible and requires an "over and above" effort. The amplified importance to protect American foreign and domestic interests in a time of conflict imposes a culture of improvisation on the U.S. security assistance community in order to adapt to and overcome escalating adversity.

As demand in the foreign military sales market swells, the need for a top-of-the-line, innovation-minded security assistance workforce becomes essential. To address the specialized skills required to meet this challenge head on, SAMD's administration has incorporated rigorous training modules and programs into the career development of its new personnel. Cultural training, subject matter expert (SME) training, Program Management Review (PMR) training, and financial workshops, in addition to attendance at the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management (DISAM) courses are critical building blocks in the construction of this best-of-fhe-best in security assistance labor force.

The relationships built with our foreign customers can only remain as long as the SAMD/AMCOM partnership remains strong. The caliber of personnel present in AMCOM and SAMD and the tradition of cooperation they have established are a testament to their eagerness to meet the trials that face our military in this new century!

About the Author

Mr. W. Cole Sautter is a Logistics Management Specialist and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Case Manager with the Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD) in the Cargo Helicopter Project Office of the Army's Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He earned his Bachelor's degree in 2001 from Pennsylvania State University. He joined the Peace Corps in 2002 and served almost four years in Senegal, West Africa as a Business Development Agent and Regional Volunteer Affairs Coordinator. He received his Master's of Business Administration in the Management of Technologies from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2008. Joining the Army civilian ranks shortly thereafter, he has worked to provide world class support to the Army's foreign military customers.


AMCOM at 10. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) 5 October 2009.

AMCOM Regulation 10-2, Chapter 20.

Lane-Sivley, K. 2008. "Impossible Helicopter Request Met on Time." Redstone Rocket 18 February 2008: 18.

Cole Sautter

Security Assistance Management Directorate
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Author:Sautter, Cole
Publication:DISAM Journal
Date:Jul 1, 2010
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