WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Getting America’s allies the airpower tools they need to protect and defend their sovereignty is the focus of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate headquartered here at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
In Fiscal Year 2017, the organization sold more than $27 billion in Air Force weapons systems to 100 plus partner nations around the world, all while making significant improvements to timeliness and management controls of the sprawling Air Force Materiel Command Foreign Military Sales Enterprise.
Like any successful organization with a multi-billion dollar portfolio, AFSAC has developed a number of improvement initiatives and management controls to ultimately help provide more than 100 foreign nation customers with better service, more responsive support and faster weapon system delivery times.
Some recent changes include greater scrutiny on Letters of Request (LOR) directing the Air Force to use a sole source or no-bid contract. AFSAC policy now requires the AFMC procuring agent to perform a risk analysis and decline the sole-source request if doing so is deemed a risk to mission accomplishment.
In addition, AFSAC policy also applies to sole source requests for support contractor awards within a program office. For example, awarding to the foreign partner country’s sole or directed source preferred support contactor requires the actual support contractor to work off base and use separate computer systems, electronic mail addresses and databases.
If, however, the support contractor selection is the U.S. Air Force’s decision using standard processes and contracts to increase overall competitive contract cost efficiencies, the selected support contractor’s representative(s) is allowed to work within government spaces and governmental computer systems.
Foreign partners have been receptive to the new sole source changes, said Brig. Gen. Gregory Gutterman, director of AFSAC.
“The countries now are saying okay and they are allowing us to use standard AFMC processes to select the company, lower the costs, and mitigate the risks to the programs; and that’s a pretty significant change,” said Gutterman. “The benefits are that it allows us to leverage existing contract vehicles where we get a better price. Now instead of just hiring support contractors for one country we are leveraging all of the support contractors across AFLCMC to get a better deal for our partners. Yes it’s their money (foreign country), but just as we provide fiscal prudence for the American taxpayers on the Air Force equipment we buy, we have to do the exact same for our partners.”
A second management control improvement AFSAC recently put into place is to properly flag amendments to a program or case if costs increase by more than 25 percent or the schedule increases by more than six months. In this case AFSAC immediately notifies the Program Executive Officer responsible for the system (or service) so they can, if required, update the acquisition strategy to match the updated government to government agreement reflected in the amended Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA). This change helps align FMS processes to those utilized in non-FMS Air Force programs.
The new policy ensures the right people stay informed about important program or case changes and gives AFLCMC better management control and planning integration across all stakeholders, said Gutterman.
Another management control that AFSAC developed is the FMS Enterprise Dashboard – coupled with a governance process through the PEOs, AFLCMC, and senior Air Force leaders at the Pentagon. This improvement effectively tracks not only metrics performance across the FMS portfolio, but also ensures synchronization and integration across the FMS enterprise as well.
“The metrics dashboard has helped us put a spot light on where some of the problems are,” said Gutterman. “For example we found that a problem that may be affecting the Mobility Directorate is also affecting the Fighters and Bombers Directorate as well. The FMS Enterprise Dashboard and Reviews identify common problems and enable us to make AFMC enterprise level improvements.”
In total AFSAC has developed nine targeted strategic management controls and improvement initiatives including additional education and training opportunities for the 3,000 plus FMS enterprise workforce.
“We do a tremendous volume of work. We have 2,800 active cases, with more than 300 new cases a year and over 1,000 amendments and modifications,” Gutterman said. “Our improvements are all across the spectrum, and our credibility and reputation have never been better. I have to give credit to the team, they’ve really embraced it (change) and improved airpower capability delivery to our partners as a result. I’m incredibly proud of what the AFSAC and FMS Enterprise teams have accomplished together.”
AFSAC is responsible for administering the Air Force’s multi-billion dollar FMS enterprise and is in charge of the sale of aircraft, munitions, equipment, supply, and construction needed to deliver and support airpower capabilities for more than 100 partner nations around the world.