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New Policy Makes U.S. More Competitive Partner

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A new "term of sale" opens the doors to more nations that want to approach the United States about foreign military sales, and that makes the U.S. more competitive in seeking partnerships, the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

Military tanks sit side-by-side in a secure outdoor compound.
Tank Shot
M1A1 Abrams tanks sit parked at a secured compound, Aug. 29, 2011. They're the last shipment of 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks that were part of a foreign military sales agreement with the United States.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Edward Daileg
VIRIN: 110829-A-ZZ999-358M

Just last year, DSCA created the "risk assessed payment schedule," or RAPS, term of sale, which offers more nations better opportunities to acquire U.S. military hardware through foreign military sales, Heidi Grant said today in an online discussion during the ComDef 2020 conference, a virtual conference providing insights and perspectives on issues facing the international defense communities.

"[This is for] countries that are on the cusp of what people are familiar with, dependable undertaking," Grant said. "This is a new financial opportunity, so we can be more competitive ... and we've approved already three countries for this RAPS opportunity. One of them has actually acted on it. And we won a competition out there, I would say, because of this financial opportunity."

Some nations interested in FMS may qualify as "dependable undertaking," which means those countries have been evaluated as most likely to be able to meet financial obligations made as part of their FMS request.

More than a dozen military vehicles sit side-by-side on a concrete slab.
Vehicle View
More than a dozen 5-ton trucks, part of a set of 37, sit outdoors, Jan. 23, 2008. They're part of a foreign military sales agreement with the United States.
Photo By: Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq Public Affairs
VIRIN: 080123-O-ZZ999-001M
A large warehouse facility contains more than a dozen military helicopters.
Helicopter View
UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-1 Cobra helicopters are refurbished, April 10, 2019, in Huntsville, Ala. They're part of a foreign military sales agreement with the United States.
Photo By: Richard Bumgardner, Army
VIRIN: 190410-A-JJ298-001M

Nations not able to meet qualifications for dependable undertaking, or that are only on the cusp of meeting those requirements, have, in the past, been able to engage in FMS using "cash with acceptance," which requires they pay in full for their FMS purchase at the time the sale is approved.

For nations that are approved for the risk assessed payment schedule, it isn't necessary to pay in full before delivery of FMS materiel. Instead, those nations would agree to alternative payment schedules, including paying a deposit that amounts to 100% of the cost of terminating their agreement.

Grant took the helm at DSCA in August and brings nearly 30 years of federal experience to the job, with about 20 years in security cooperation. She said that while the agency is still calculating the FMS "success stories" for fiscal year 2020, in FY 2019, DSCA had oversight of 14,700 FMS cases, executed $55.4 billion in arms sales, and worked with over 160 countries. But she pointed out that weapons sales are not the only thing DSCA does.

A large loader truck with cargo is backed up to an aircraft.
Cargo Drop
Airmen with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware load cargo onto an aircraft. The military cargo is part of a foreign military sales agreement with the United States.
Photo By: Air Force Sr. Airman Christopher Quail
VIRIN: 200615-F-NX530-0003M

"Foreign military sales often seems to be the focus when people talk about DSCA — that's what we're most well-known for," she said. "But we provide much more than just defense equipment to our allies and partners. Security cooperation includes international military education and training, advising on defense doctrine, rule of law, human rights, civilian harm mitigation, and other institutional capacity-building programs."

As the new director of DSCA, Grant said her focus will be on expanding opportunities for which the defense industry could compete; identifying barriers to progress and developing plans to remove those barriers; and fostering innovation across the security cooperation enterprise.

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