Vision 2020 — I’ll keep going back to that — is we recognize the environment out there is changing. We are no
longer just going to be in a bilateral environment. FMS
sales are being entered into competition.
We have to adapt ourselves to a new norm, or new
environment, to be relevant. Another thing we’re trying
to do is pooling, and this is what this initiative is. It is to
be able to go beyond the bilat, but go with NATO or
NATO countries and have them do a multilateral
approach for this lead nation procurement. That way,
they can spread their costs, they can buy into the pool.
The reason we’re starting with NATO and the reason
we call it a pilot is because this is new, we want to
crawl/walk/run. We’re always getting questions, “Why
just NATO? Why not us?” Well, we’re going to start with
this pilot and make sure we can do it, because we have
to work through a lot of new territory in terms of policy
or whatever relief we need in certain areas. We’re excited
about it. Now, we need to come up with the program.
What’s your timeline for that?
RIXEY: It’s a two-year initiative, so I look toward getting started soon so we can prove it out.
Another of the Vision 2020 initiatives is for the
United States to remain a “provider of choice”
for international customers. With regard to the
FMS process, which has been said to be cumbersome and difficult to navigate, what changes
are being planned or have been made to
processes or requirements to make it less so?
RIXEY: I really love this question, and I always get that
“FMS is broken.” If you look at the FMS system, it really is four major systems. The whole notion of getting a
case and building a case and getting it signed, that’s the
But, at some point, we go to the acquisition system.
At some point, we’re dipping down into, “Can we get it
on a contract? Are there artisans there and folks in the
position to get this done? Is it a shelf item? Is it unique?
What is it?” So now we’re into the acquisition process.
And then, of course, once we get into the acquisition
process, before we can really get started, we’ve got to go
down into the tech transfer process. And then … we
have to go through the congressional notification, which
is through State.
When you say the FMS system, you are actually talking about the security cooperation system. I always want
to make sure it’s very clear that one of the things we work
on with Vision 2020 is we’re going to look at the first
piece, and that is, can I get a case in place in a timely manner? When I start getting into those other lanes, that’s
when the whole government has to get involved. But
we’re going to work on the piece that we do control.
We’ll be working, obviously, to enable the whole system. I want to call it not the FMS system, but the security
cooperation system or the security cooperation enterprise,
because it’s all those pieces and everybody touches it. If
you have a human rights issue, a tech transfer issue, a “do
we have enough artisans to get this contract in place”
issue, you’re touching a lot of things outside of the DSCA.
But we’ll work with everybody and everybody is on
board with doing that. Again, when you look at this,
we’re focused on the piece that we can control.
Outside of FMS, what are your plans to help
build partner capacity?
RIXEY: We realigned our organization and we’re now
regionally aligned. When I first came into DSCA, we were
aligned by function. Folks did Foreign Military Sales on
one floor, the other folks did Title 10 and Title 22 programs like humanitarian assistance, like institution building or counterterrorism programs, that was on the second
floor. Our financial folks were down on the first floor.
What we did was we aligned regionally and we put a
team together that understood, now, the full continuum
of security cooperation solutions, from Title 10 and Title
22, appropriated funds to national funds. That way they
can look at this thing as a continuum and they’re aligned
now to the COCOM [Combatant Commander] and
they’re aligned to OSD [Office of the Secretary of
Defense] Policy so we can look at it from the perspective
of building partnership capacity, not just FMS.
If you look at the counterterrorism fight with
Jordan, with Iraq, it wasn’t, “Hey, what FMS things
could we do?” It was, “What do we have in terms of
appropriations and how can we put together a program?” This is where we want to try to build this
regional alignment to building partnership capacity, so
we understand what tools we have available throughout the continuum and apply that to the situation at
hand. That’s how we’re going after partnership capacity
building, by talking to OSD Policy and the COCOMs
and getting their direction from where it is we need to
apply our finite resources. That’s why we reorganized,
so that we are focused on the priorities and those are
to build partnership capacity where it counts.
What are some of your challenges in providing
security assistance to allies and partners on a
rapid response basis?
RIXEY: Again, one of the reasons that we realigned is
by having a regional team … their whole function now
is to be responsive, to attack these issues as quickly as
humanly possible, to look at their whole continuum of
solutions to figure out how we are going to apply it to
these issues. The challenges that we face are they’re
coming in frequently, and the sheer volume.