DSCA Director's Blog

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

Friday, March 26, 2010

FIDAE of Solidarity Santiago, Chile 2010

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Commander in Chief of the Air Force, General Ricardo Ortega opened the show here in Santiago.

Without hesitation, following the earthquake and Tsunami, they moved forward. The U.S. provided a robust showing of personnel and equipment at the show. The highlight for many folks was the demonstration by the USAF F-22 Raptor.

All of our services have worked with their counterparts. Chileans highlighted the C-130 airbridge and the recently transferred KC-135 as key air assets.

The Chilean government intends to quickly assess their situation and address their priorities and budget changes.

The mood here was respectful, proud and determined. Both the Chilean leadership and our embassy team led by U.S. Ambassador to Chile Paul E. Simons should be proud of their efforts.

In related security cooperation efforts, I had the opportunity to meet with the Chilean Commander in Chief of the Navy Admiral Edmundo Gonzalez to both review the impact of the earthquake and tsunami to their navy, and celebrate the transfer of the ex-USS Higgins oiler to Chile. They look forward to getting that ship and crew operational soon.

I look forward to future operations to help our partner Chile build and attend to its security needs. They are looking for recommendations and lessons learned. If you send them to me, I will forward them on to the right folks.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


My wife Twink and I are in Chile for several security cooperation events that were planned long before the earthquake. Our hearts go out to the Chileans for the people killed or hurt. Once again the United States, with DoD and DSCA support, has been quickly moving an array of assistance.

The list is quite extensive ranging from meals ready to eat, tents, carpentry tools and seismic equipment all the way to field hospitals. As well we provided two USAF/National Guard C-130s. And crews to support the air-bridge to the most affected regions, Concepcion and much more!

The US and Chilean military forces have a close working relationship. It was evidenced by the quick and effective interaction by the senior leaders, followed immediately by the flow of goods and services.

The first half of our trip will be in Valparaiso with Admiral Gonzalez, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. We will discuss the planned arrival of the ex-USS Higgins...now in final repair in Mobile Alabama, and its impending transit to Chile. The Chilean Oiler is quite old, so there is great excitement about getting this ship operational.

The second half of the trip will be at the FIDAE airshow, called this year, FIDAE of Solidarity, with General Ortega, Commander in Chief, Chilean Air Force. The leaders of Chile are acutely aware of the significant damage done to their country. However, they made an informed decision to leverage transport flight from America to be fully loaded with equipment to aid in the recovery. They are proudly looking forward...my wife and I are honored to do what we can to help.

Once again, solid security cooperation works best with strong relationships, a common vision and timely support...it's all here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Singapore Air Show and UAVs

I recently returned to a snowy Washington D.C. after attending the Singapore Air Show. This was only the second time the government of Singapore had sponsored and managed the event. In classic Singapore style, all events came off like clockwork. The Singapore government should be very proud of how well the show played out.

For DSCA, these events are very efficient and effective. We packed 43 events into about four days. Besides the meetings with country and company representatives, I had the opportunity to attend several thought provoking briefings.

One in particular included the topic of operations of Unmanned Air Vehicles in controlled airspace, meaning concurrently flying manned and unmanned airplanes in proximity of each other. I thought the brief was exceptional. For decades we have struggled with the paradox that UAV’s present.

The presentation included a proposal on how to set the threshold of how big or small a UAV has to be, to fly in controlled airspace. Small and even medium UAV’s are becoming ubiquitous in both combat and non-combat environments…we need to move forward on how we deal with this operational risk.

For DSCA and our international partners, UAV’s are an ever increasing area of interest. We have exported systems ranging from hand held to full scale sized airplanes. So the problem is getting bigger, not smaller. I’m in search of other good ideas on ways to tackle the challenges these ubiquitous systems present…let me know if you have any.