IDEX: US must plan for foreign sales earlier says DSCA chief

The United States needs to change its culture and thinking with regard to export of military equipment by planning for foreign sales from the start.

Addressing the international defence conference (IDC) held as a prelude to the defence exhibition IDEX in Abu Dhabi, Heidi Grant, Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said that partner nations were not requesting transfer of US equipment until it was in the US military inventory – and that if often too late.
Grant also said the US was amending its systems to get earlier involvement from private industry too.
“We are seeing our international partners requesting technology that our private industry has that isn't a ‘program of record’ so we're setting up a process for that, which will broaden the scope of available systems and provide allies and partners with competitive options for systems acquisitions and have developed a non-program of record for military sales, to address technology trends and also for direct commercial sale,” she said.
“It'll allow us to increase our competitiveness, not just focusing on the effort on a particular system used by the United States military, but new, innovative systems that you're hearing about today, and provide an equivalent and sometimes even a group capability. I highlight this because it really embodies the collaborative effort and how we need to keep up with the latest technology that's being introduced that can really help us all”.
Speaking about the delay to export requests, Grant said that by waiting until the equipment was in the US military inventory it would be too late to develop for export
“We're instituting a process trying to change the culture within the United States Defense Department now so that when we build something, lets build it with the assumption that our partners are also going to want to have the same advanced technologies we have going into our inventory. So we're changing our processes to build for export in mind.”

Heidi Grant - called for culture change on US export approach (Image DSCA)