The Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq in partnership with NATO Training Mission-Iraq, United States Mission-Iraq and other organizations, assists the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense and the Counter Terrorism Bureau, generates and replenishes Iraqi Security Forces and improves the quality of the ISF and institutional performance in the process. MNSTC-I is working in partnership with the Government of Iraq to take the vital steps towards ensuring Iraq’s self-sufficiency during the critical transition from Coalition to Iraqi-led operations in support of the Security Agreement between Iraq and the United States.
Below is some background information on the program and a summary of the Roundtable from Tech. Sgt. Monique Randolph.
The U.S. Foreign Military Sales program gives foreign countries an “anti-corruption” mechanism for purchasing defense equipment and services, said Air Force Col. Lawrence Avery, Jr., during a Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable this morning. Colonel Avery is the deputy director, Security Assistance Office, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.
The process, on paper, is pretty simple. The foreign country tells the U.S. what their requirements are and supplies the funds, then the FMS uses U.S. acquisition laws and procedures to go out and procure the items for that country, Colonel Avery said. One of the true advantages for the foreign country using FMS to purchase items is that the U.S. military are already experts in most of the systems they want to procure.
Since 2005, the FMS program purchased $4.5 billion in equipment (from body armor to aircraft) and services for the Iraqi military, which is one of about 140 countries to use FMS. Nearly three-quarters of Iraq’s request was signed for within the past 15 months, the colonel said.
“We’re the experts who use, operate, maintain and have the parts supply chain for it,” Colonel Avery said. “We’re probably the ones who wrote the specifications and know everything there is to know about it.”
While the FMS program works best when countries purchase items the U.S. already owns, other items can still be purchased through the program, the colonel said. One example is the BTR-3E1, an armored vehicle manufactured in the Ukraine that Iraq intended to purchase in 2007. The purchase was later cancelled as changing requirements and resulting price differences made the program unexecutable, Colonel Avery said in a previous statement.
Iraq most recently purchased six C-130J airlift aircraft, and also has five King Air 350s and three Cessna 208s equipped with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance packages that were purchased through the FMS program.
“Doing FMS in a wartime environment while the fight’s ongoing has been a unique challenge for the security assistance professionals back in the states who write these FMS cases and the acquisitions professionals who go out and procure the equipment,” Colonel Avery said. “And, they’ve done a fantastic job from where we sit in helping us help the Iraqis.”