Nations hoping to approach the United States about foreign military sales (FMS) may find the task less intimidating due to a new “risk-assessed payment schedule” (RAPS), or term of sale, by the U.S. The director of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Heidi Grant, announced a new “term of sale” that is intended to make the U.S. more competitive in seeking partnerships when participating in online discussion during a virtual conference for international defense communities, the ComDef 2020 Conference. The new RAPS approach is meant to offer more nations better opportunities to acquire U.S. military hardware through foreign military sales.
Grant referred to the new “term of sale” for “countries that are on the cusp of what people are familiar with, dependable undertaking.” She sees the practical wisdom in embracing the new RAPS approach: “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 the financial opportunity.”
Some nations interested in pursuing FMS by the new RAPS may qualify as a “dependable undertaking.” Those countries have been evaluated as most likely to be able to meet financial obligations made as part of their FMS request. Countries not meeting the qualifications for dependable undertaking, or that are only on the cusp of meeting those requirements, have engaged in FMS in the past by using a “cash with acceptance” approach which requires them to pay in full for the purchase at the time the same is approved.
Bringing over 30 years of federal experience as the new director of DSCA (since August), Grant explains that DSCA is much more than “just” overseeing weapons sales: “Foreign military sales often seems to be the focus when people talk about DSCA. 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.” Grant intends to focus on expanding the opportunities for which the defense industry can compete; identifying and removing barriers to progress; and fostering security cooperation innovation.