DSCA Director's Blog

Here you will find thoughts and messages from the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and his staff.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All About Effecting Outcomes

People and organizations should put their time and energy into what is important. In other words, as VADM John Lockard, retired, former Commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, used to say, “It’s all about effecting outcomes.” The spirit of the concept is worth repeating and remembering.

As the leader of a defense agency responsible for $300 billion of equipment, training and services involving 213 countries and international organizations, I face many challenges. Inevitably, my team and I encounter complex problems which can be difficult to solve. I learned several decades ago that just because “everybody” identifies a problem, doesn’t mean that it has been solved. That problem can still develop into a crisis or, worse yet, a failure.

Asking and answering the following three questions at the outset will bring clarity and structure to the analysis. First, “What is the root cause of the problem?” Second, “What is the solution?” Finally, “Who is going to do the work?” Agreement on the answers to these questions provides a firm basis for implementation of a solution. Too often, differences of opinion on fundamental issues eat up valuable time, the lead-time to fix the problem passes, and the project fails. So, focusing on the three important questions is essential. The answers will tell you “How you can effect the outcome.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Information Technology Progress at DSCA

The impact of Information Technology on our daily lives is everywhere. And, like the rest of the world, the security cooperation community depends on IT tools to sustain its business.

More than a decade ago, DSCA and the security community began efforts to upgrade our legacy case development, implementation and execution business systems. The goal was to replace the outdated systems used by Army, Navy, and Air Force security cooperation organizations. It was a significant effort that turned out to be more difficult than anyone anticipated. The outdated case execution systems are still in use and the case development, implementation and training execution modules of the Defense Security Assistance Management System (DSAMS) have continued to be enhanced for the security cooperation community.

We have restarted the journey with a program for case execution we call the Security Cooperation Enterprise Solution (SCES). We’re partnering with the Business Transformation Agency and the Military Departments to drive discipline, diligence and encourage openness and collaboration throughout the acquisition process. We’re now completing the requirements definition stage. Soon we’ll work to validate the requirements and conduct an analysis of alternatives.

It’s a game changer, with a different acquisition strategy than the past. In my first Blog, I mentioned security cooperation activities are surging at all levels of our government and that includes IT. It’s critical to note whatever we do, we need to be interoperable with the emerging Navy, Army, Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Enterprise Resource Program (ERP) business systems. There is a tremendous team working on this project and they deserve our thanks and appreciation. Streamlining our IT systems will affect our future for decades.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Security Cooperation Review of Staffing Requirements

Over the past two years, we have worked hard to match the demand for foreign military sales with the supply of personnel in our implementing agencies. As a result, we increased funding for Army, Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard and Air Force personnel working on Foreign Military Sales. This increased resourcing was critical for the community given our 300-400 percent growth in sales since the 2000 time frame. Now, as our security cooperation enterprise expands and our business continues to grow, it's imperative we review our worldwide staffing requirements. The emergence of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) alone highlights the need to assess, evaluate and redefine the personnel requirements. We are in the end game of selecting the team to conduct the study effort and plan to have the study and analysis complete in less than a year.

In parallel, we need to watch the State Department Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review process carefully. The direct relationship between the Embassy support staffing and our country team staffing means that the outcome of this review will affect our world-wide staffing requirements. My goal is that there will be sufficient State Department support staff to allow us to meet our mission requirements.

In summary, I look at it in four ways. First it's about the money. We will ensure we have the financial resources available to support our personnel costs. Second, it's about the people and the correct worldwide mix, which will be covered by the staffing review. The third and fourth elements are experience and training. I'll discuss the last two in a future blog.