REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Sean Hicks and Jarrid Spinks are both Country Program Managers, CPM's for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, USASAC, at Redstone Arsenal. They both agree with this statement about what their work means. "So to me, the biggest deal, it'll save soldiers' lives," said Hicks. He's the CPM for Kuwait.
The contract he's working will take the hulls of 218 old, and unused M1A1 tanks, and rebuilding them to become M1A2 K tanks. These would be the most modern tanks possible and the K means they are headed to Kuwait.
"In 1991 Saddam Hussein rolled across the border in Kuwait and took the city in two hours. If they had had those tanks in the country, that would not have happened," said Sean.
The tanks come with a lot accessories including full support of parts, training for crews and down-the-line facilities. Over the 20 year run of the contract, it will be worth 16-20 billion dollars making it one of the largest deals in USASAC history.
Jarrid Spinks is the CPM for Thailand. While the contract he's working on with Thailand ultimately is worth some 175 million dollars, it's a first because of the Stryker Combat vehicle that is involved.
The rebuilt to better-than-new Strykers will replace older vehicles in the Thai Army. Once again, everything from spare parts to training is included in the support.
"We sell this because we want to help improve their security as well as interoperability with the U.S.," said Spinks
That last item is a big deal because if American troops had to fight with an ally like Thailand, the equipment would be familiar to soldiers of both countries. That is one major benefit of foreign military sales spearheaded by USASAC. Another benefit, maybe the biggest, our allies can meet their own needs.
"You should be excited because this will save American lives actually. It allows Kuwait to fight for themselves so we don't have to," said Hicks. And while he was talking about Kuwait, the same would be true for every ally and strategic partner USASAC deals with.
There is another bonus to the tank and Stryker agreements. The work to rebuild and refurbish the vehicles will all be performed at the Anniston Army Depot by Alabama workers.
Conrad Bonner is the Deputy Director for Central Command Regional Operations at USASAC. He says our partners and allies want more equipment and support than ever. There is, he says, a strategic need. But there's something else too.
"Every time we go to war, we prove our systems are capable and so other countries want it. They want to win," said Bonner.
Two things that everyone at USASAC wants the public to remember is the fact that any profits go directly back into the program and that every deal has to be approved by Congress.