DSCA Director's Blog

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Continuous Process Improvement on Equipment Shipping Documentation

This year, my number one priority project for continuous process improvement is to fix our problems with incorrect shipping documentation. Since we ship millions of defense articles around the world, this is a target-rich project.

The transportation and logistics professionals have a unique term for equipment that did not get to the intended destination…they call it “frustrated”. A perfect characterization! And a perfect project for a team equipped with the tool set of Lean Six Sigma.

We have a diverse team, an aggressive schedule and motivated group that can directly and significantly improve our output. Recently, we had several folks from the DSCA staff at a logistics site on the East coast. They briefly viewed a number of crates with boxes of equipment queued up for delivery. What they saw were too many boxes with labels that were incomplete, or inaccurate.

Now, we begin the project of value stream mapping, identification and analysis of root cause of the problems, and improving the process. Getting this project right will truly be a win-win.

Friday, February 19, 2010

International Day at NAS Patuxent

Recently I was invited by Rear Admiral Steve Voetsch of the Navy's International Programs Office(Navy IPO), to join him, Rear Admiral Jeff Lemmons, Director for International Engagement (OPNAV N52), and Rino Pivirotto Navy IPO Deputy, and Mike Dougherty the Naval Air Systems Command, International Programs Leader at NAS Patuxent River for an International Day. Besides packing the station theater to standing room only with nearly 350 people, they linked, via video, sites at Point Mugu CA, China Lake CA, Washington DC, Lakehust NJ, Cherry Point NC, Orlando FL and Pensacola FL.

Our two hour event was split with the first half dedicated to briefings by DSCA, the Navy Staff and Navy IPO. For the DSCA presentation I emphasized the strategic importance Security Cooperation has become for our country, the improvements we have made in cycle time reduction and the increase in funds to the field activities. Rear Admiral Lemmons described in some detail, the importance of SC to Building Partner Capacity and Security Force Assistance for the Navy and the personal focus and attention Admiral Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations, has placed upon Global Maritime Partnerships.

In turn, Rear Admiral Voetsch and Mr. Pivirotto discussed how Navy IPO has put Admiral Roughead's intent in operation for the Navy through the Systems Commands and Program Offices. The second half of the session allowed questions and answers. There were some great questions that provided a chance to clarify topics like the budget, standard level of service and more.

One particularly good question was, why does DSCA allow the services to conduct site surveys for common weapons to different standards? So I've turned that question into action. We are pulling the services together and working to get to a common ground, and hopefully eliminate the confusion this has caused our customers.

After the event, I received numerous compliments about the utility of the briefs and Q&A. The Navy intends to repeat the process with the Naval Sea Systems Command and Space and Naval Warfare Command. Hopefully we can conduct a similar event with the other services.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Iraq's Armed Forces

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Reception to celebrate the 89th anniversary of the establishment of Iraqi Armed Forces. The event was here in Washington D.C. Although brief and informal, it was quite moving to witness a ceremony with pictures and flags prominently displayed of both Iraq and United States of America leaders.

The Iraqi leaders spoke with pride…pride of the long history of the Iraqi Armed Forces (before Saddam Hussein), pride of service now, and pride of a military in support of legal civilian leaders. As well, they talked about sincere appreciation of all America and our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen and civilians have done to help them get Iraq on track to democracy and the rule of law. In all, it was a moving event and quite remarkable.

In related Iraq events…we recently held a Security Cooperation [DISAM] mobile training team course for 39 Iraqi students in Baghdad. As I’ve written on other occasions, experience and training are keys to success in our processes. Over the past two years, our Iraqi partners have dramatically improved their skill in FMS. A recent Iraqi Program Management Review proved this point.

Now, with Iraqi elections approaching and our transition accelerating, it is more important than ever to work to make this go smooth and effectively. I look forward to another ceremony and the hand off to the Iraqi’s in December 2011 to be as memorable as the 89th in D.C.