Non-Standard Aviation Systems Division of Aviation and Missile Command Security Assistance Management Directorate.
AMCOM SAMD is currently headed by Dr. Thomas Pieplow, who was the previous Associate Director for Aviation of the Integrated Materiel Management Center (IMMC). He states that his experience at IMMC prepared him for his new role in SAMD, which is providing excellent customer service to an international clientele. SAMD's role in the foreign military sales (FMS) process provides a quality product, promotes system consistency for every country, utilizes Army acquisition practices, and ensures the highest level of integrity.
The Non-Standard Aviation System is a division of SAMD which performs System and Security Assistance Management roles in support of assigned aviation systems in over forty countries. The USG relationship with our international customers spans over four decades. However, our systems continue to attract several newly established international customers. The Non-Standard Aviation System Division is made up of four branches:
* Aviation Program Branch
* Aviation Systems Management Branch
* Commercial Branch
* Mi-17 Programs Branch
Each branch has a specific mission, but all share the SAMD mission to provide world-class support to our security assistance customers and allies. The division is headed by Jan Robinson, who is on voluntary assignment in Iraq. Mrs. Benita Martin-Dwight is acting Division Chief; and she states:
The Non-Standard Aviation Division faces every demanding challenge head-on with courage of conviction and a high sense of professional pride. Our team is pushed to the limit and continues to labor relentlessly until the job is completed. The programs we work are intense, but we are able to see the impact of our efforts on a daily basis.
The Aviation Programs Branch, headed by Mr. Ray Ramirez, manages all AMCOM FMS nonstandard aircraft cases, except those pertaining to Overseas Contingency Operations, formerly known as the Global War on Terror (GWOT) These non-standard aircraft are legacy systems that are no longer in the Army inventory or commercial aircraft inventory. Legacy systems allow countries that lack the resources to purchase newer systems the opportunity to accomplish the mutual goal of national defense. The Aviation Program Branch deals with numerous contractors/manufacturers of the various systems. In some instances, this is the first time that non-standard aircraft have been sold to an FMS customer. The non-standard aircraft world is constantly evolving, creating new challenges and opportunities almost on a daily basis. Intensive management is required to stay ahead of this ever-changing environment and offer our customers the highest level of service possible.
The Aviation Systems Management Branch is responsible for life cycle planning, directing, and controlling all phases of research, development, procurement, production, logistic, technical, and engineering support for the fielding and sustainment of non-standard commercial and legacy fixed and rotary wing aircraft systems no longer in the Army inventory. On October 13, 2009, Mr. Kevin Fyfe was appointed as the Branch Chief for the SAMD Aviation Systems Management Branch. Before he was appointed as Branch Chief, Mr. Fyfe served in the Apache Project Managers International Programs Office as a Program Integrator for AH-64 A and D aircraft programs and the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic, pilot, and maintenance test pilot. The global status quo is in a constant state of perpetual change, and the Aviation Systems Management Branch ensures success with steadfast support of their foreign military customers. This is accomplished with a continuous process of change driven by organizational needs that endure as part of a strategy-focused organization regardless of underlying challenges. Some of these unique challenges include the Bell 412 aircraft in Pakistan and Mexico in support of their counterterrorism effort as well as the Huey II aircraft in Kazakhstan.
The Commercial Branch, headed by Mrs. Benita Martin-Dwight, manages all AMCOM FMS cases pertaining to Overseas Contingency Operations. Given the current situation in these countries, all efforts worked by this office are regarded with a heightened sense of priority and urgency. Also, due to the unique circumstances of these countries, innovative and creative thinking is required to meet the customers' requirements. Therefore, many of the items provided are non-standard or even the first of their kind. For example, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense purchased armed Bell 407 helicopters. The arming of a Bell 407 has never been done and requires the utmost attention to ensure that our customer receives what has been requested. This specific case encourages the collaboration of various organizations who are intricately involved in the design, implementation, and delivery.
The Mi-17 Programs Branch is the newest of the four branches and is led by Branch Chief Bryan Ahern. Mr. Ahern is a retired U.S. Navy Commander and helicopter pilot with over ten years experience in FMS. Originally designed in the 1960s and re-designed in the 1980s, the Mi-17 is favored by many of our partner nations because of its successful track record, ease of maintenance, and excellent performance in hot and high altitude environments. Demand for this helicopter has been increasing as our partners in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Hungary continue to build their military capabilities. The sustainment of this aircraft allows U.S. government to ensure that foreign systems are correctly and efficiently maintained and serviced.
The Russian "Hip" Mi-8 military helicopter (export version Mi-17) is one of the most produced helicopters in the world. Over 12,000 of these helicopters have been built, and over 2,800 have been exported outside of Russia and are in operation in many countries throughout the world. The Mi-17 is a twin engine multi-purpose helicopter that can carry 24 combat-equipped troops. The helicopter is produced at the Kazan helicopter plant and the Ulan-Ude Aviation plant in Russia.
The U.S. has sought many "paths forward" regarding how to best support our partners, to facilitate the procurement, sustainment, and training of personnel to operate the Mi-17. In an effort to streamline Mi-17 procurements, the Honorable Ashton Carter, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, has designated the Department of the Army as the lead service for Department of Defense (DOD) in performing Mi-17, and potentially other non-standard rotary wing aircraft, procurement and support activities. In January 2010, Dr. Carter directed the Army to stand up a Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aircraft Project Management Office (NSRWA PMO) to be responsible for executing all procurement, containment, and technical support to meet requirements for aircraft and crews in support of DOD and partner nations.
Now in its infancy, the NSRWA PMO, led by Colonel Norbert Vergez, is up and running. To support the PMO, the Non-Standard Aviation Systems Division of AMCOM SAMD, under the leadership of Mrs. Benita Martin-Dwight, established the Mi-17 Programs Branch, with Bryan Ahern as Chief. The new branch will be co-located with the NSWRA PMO and will be the focal point for and manage all aspects of the FMS cases that are developed for the Mi-17. The branch already has six new cases in development and has also received several Letters of Request for information and price and availability.
Security assistance has been and will continue to be a vital component to our nation's defense. Because of the work done in AMCOM SAMD, other nations are better equipped to defend themselves; therefore, our soldiers are able to return home. We have been given a great opportunity to enhance the United States' relations with our foreign allies by assisting other countries in securing their borders, protecting their citizens, and ensuring safety for future generations.
About the Authors
Angela Weston, Summer Ellis, and Durand Carrington are a part of the Students Working at the Army in Parallel (SWAP) Program through the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and work as contractors with AMCOM SAMD. They are International Logistics Management Assistants supporting the Commercial Branch of the Non-Standard Aviation Systems Division, and their office currently supports Afghanistan, Argentina, and Iraq.
By Angela Weston Summer Ellis and Durand Carrington
University of Alabama Huntsville Students Working as Contractors
For Aviation Systems Division of Aviation and Missile Command
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|Title Annotation:||FEATURE ARTICLES|
|Author:||Weston, Angela; Ellis, Summer; Carrington, Durand|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2010|
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