WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) – The Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate is the element of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center that aids foreign military sales customers in navigating the labyrinth of rules, regulations and laws governing the purchase of military equipment.
That’s why the organization is manned by experts in acquisition tradecraft like Col. James Becker, with his 23 years’ experience in acquisitions, financial and program management.
“Foreign military sales has an extremely exciting mission of advancing security systems and cooperation for international partners directly tied to the national defense strategy in terms of strengthening our alliances,” Becker said.
While countries do have the option to purchase directly from commercial sources without Air Force assistance, typically, they take advantage of the Air Force’s experience.
“The U.S. government typically does not portray a preference to the partner on [Direct Commercial Sales], but from my perspective, and I think the enterprise perspective, there are benefits. Obviously, you get the total package approach we typically sell with a platform. You're not just getting an aircraft that comes in and lands on your ramp, you're also getting all the services, whether that be construction, whether that be the technical data all the way down to the training and long term sustainment of that platform. So definitely a benefit,” Becker said.
It is that benefit that draws countries to choose the FMS process, and as Becker said, these partnerships benefit the USAF as a force multiplier in strengthening alliances that support national defense strategy. But it creates challenges as well, specifically in supporting Non-Programs of Record.
A Program of Record, Becker explained, would be a system acquired through the formal acquisition process in terms of milestones, funding, manpower, etc. A Non-Program of Record is typically a program no longer in the USAF inventory or a unique capability for a specific country.
Becker said commercial derivate aircraft with specialized sensors is one type of Non-Program of Record that provides low operating costs and a basic counterterrorism capability.
To hear the full conversation, you can watch Leadership Log on YouTube at https://youtu.be/o7Wb214NJvw
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