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The Enterprise: Program outlines potential new economic opportunities in So. Md.

Website: The Enterprise: Program outlines potential new economic opportunities in So. Md. (opens in a new window)
Published: 19 Oct 2018
Contributor: Sherbie Kardinal

The October 9 foreign military sales panel, "Security Cooperation: A Brave New World - Whole of Government Perspective" was covered in an article by Sherbie Kardinal that appeared in the October 19, 2018, edition of The Enterprise (page A4). The keynote speaker and panel moderator was Rear Adm. Frank Morley, director of the Navy International Programs Office. Panelists included Lt. Col. Robert Hunter, National Security Council; Michèle Hizon, Defense Security Cooperation Agency; Michael Laychak, Defense Technology Security Administration; Mike Miller, Department of State; and Michael Vaccaro, Department of Commerce. 

View the full article on The Enterprise website

The Patuxent Partnership’s feature program, “Security Cooperation: a Brave New World — Whole of Government Perspective,” on Oct. 9 drew local politicians, government officials, federal contractors and guests to the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California to discuss expanding opportunities presented by the Department of Defense Foreign Military Sales program.

A growing source of revenue for local government contractors, the foreign sales program facilitates the sale and sustainment of U.S. arms, defense equipment, defense services, technical assistance, and military training to foreign governments.

The FMS program provides support to more than 150 foreign partners, with sales totaling nearly $450 billion over the past decade, as reported by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

At the national government level, the FMS program provides integral support to U.S. strategic, foreign policy, and defense interests through increased access and influence; allied forces interoperability; and counter-terrorism efforts. At the local level, arms sales create government contracting jobs for area residents.

According to the NAVAIR website, Naval Air Station Patuxent River is the largest employer in St. Mary’s County — employing more than 9,800 civil servants, 5,700 contractors and 2,400 active duty military personnel.

However, according to St. Mary’s Commissioner Tom Jarboe (R), “there is one billion dollars in revenue that is not being utilized,” due to NAS Pax River facilities having “reached their bandwidth.” Jarboe, who is not seeking a second term as commissioner, said he feels he can best serve the community by participating in expansion projects that will develop the infrastructure necessary to bring increased funding here.

Introduced by TPP Executive Director Bonnie Green, featured speaker, Rear Adm. Frank Morley, director of the Navy International Programs Office, based out of the Washington Navy Yard, described the interagency approach that has streamlined the FMS program.

Every article or service transferred to foreign partners, via FMS or direct commercial sales, must comply with considerations identified in the presidential-level conventional arms transfer policy. The most recent transfer policy update, issued by the Trump administration on April 19, requires that all proposed arms transfers take into account the national and economic security of the United States; relationships with allies and partners; human rights and international humanitarian law; as well as non-proliferation.

The panelists discussed implementation efforts of the newly updated CAT policy, and application at all levels, from the Department of State and the Department of Defense, to technology security and the warfighter.

Morley emphasized the unified stance of the agencies represented, stating “despite the political drama that you see played out on TV every night, we have never been more aligned.”

Unification and alignment was a consistent theme expressed by federal government representatives. On behalf of the White House, Lt. Col. Robert Hunter described that it is time to “rethink the policies of the last two decades” by moving from the “current reactive posture to a proactive posture.” Michèle Hizon, representing the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, states that “under this new administration, we are empowered to face new challenges.”

One of the new challenges facing the Defense Technology Security Agency, as described by its representative, Michael Laychak, is “maintaining non-proliferation at the same time as we are supporting emerging technology transfer that benefits the security of our nation, as well as our allies.” While panelists agreed that the new administration policy offers to increase the speed of FMS case processing, Laychak cautioned that it is important to consider the laws and government organizations that our foreign partners will need to establish in order to safeguard the technologies that we are entrusting to them.

Department of State representative Mike Miller reminded the audience “every sale that we make is a message to our friends, but also a message to our foes.” Hizon agreed, “we are not just processing paperwork, we are processing relationships.”

Panelists agreed that the FMS program provides the opportunity to strengthen relationships externally with foreign partners and allies, while simultaneously strengthening relationships within our own government agencies.


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