Security Assistance Liaison Officers have played a vital role in the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command’s overseas military sale process since the SALO program was established over 30 years ago.
At the USASAC office in New Cumberland, Pa., 16 SALOs from 13 partner countries are streamlining the logistics of their armies. This involves monitoring military sales cases which can involve hundreds of items.
SALO program manager Terra Good said the ongoing follow-up of complex cases by a country’s liaison officer is essential for a streamlined and successful process. “They are able to monitor and influence their cases and eliminate small discrepancies before they become major issues that can delay or even stop the process.”
Based on their country’s priorities, SALOs also track the status of cases, run independent reports for individual analysis and have a significant impact on repair and return activity.
Kelly Gibson, Head of Commercial Repairs and Returns Branch, and her team meet with SALOs whose countries have a high level of repair and return requirements. She said meetings take time but pay big dividends.
“The repair and return program has many steps, many of which require input from our FMS partners,” Gibson said. “Meeting them with them and the central case management teams regularly facilitates communication and transparency, prevents repairs from getting stuck in one step and improves repair times. “
Another way SALOs support logistics is to identify improvements that could make the FMS process smoother. These concerns and recommendations are discussed with senior leadership at SALO quarterly meetings. In 2018, more than 15 actions were processed. Today, thanks to SALO’s participation and the commitment of senior leaders, that number has been reduced to three action points.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission continued. In March 2020, monthly in-person meetings were replaced with weekly video meetings. In line with social distancing mandates, SALO laptops were formatted to access critical systems while telecommuting, and sign-up sheets helped maintain accountability when only four SALOs were allowed in the office at a time.
The pandemic, however, made it possible to receive virtual training from the lifecycle management commands, which saved the government time and money on travel.
Good said that throughout the pandemic, SALOs have continued to bond like family. As the sole representative of their country, SALOs would arrive without knowing anyone locally. “The president of SALO and I started meeting with SALOs at the airport,” said Good, “because we wanted their arrival in the United States to be special.”
“The SALO community has also started delivering welcome baskets of fruits, vegetables, water masks, games for the kids,” Good said. “Today, they continue to support each other and integrate into the Mechanicsburg / New Cumberland community.
Future of the SALO program
Good said she hopes the SALO program will expand to include representatives from other countries in the future.
“Our SALOs help to improve transparency within the FMS process, so of course we want our partner countries to take advantage of this opportunity,” she said. “Countries with complex and high value FMS cases are best suited for a SALO position. ”
Good said SALOs are an essential part of the FMS process and help strengthen the US military’s security assistance mission. For more information on the SALO program and FMS operations, visit www.army.mil/usasac.
|Date posted:||10.18.2021 16:03|
|Site:||REDSTONE ARSENAL, AL, UNITED STATES|
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