Air Force Security Assistance Center Foreign Military Sales Center Institutionalizes How It "Develops and Executes International Agreements" by Linking Strategic Initiatives to the Balanced Scorecard Process
Walton, Len, McDaniel, Tiyette, Shyne-Turner, Schneata, DISAM Journal
The Air Force Security Assistance Center's (AFSAC) foreign military sales development, growth and support to allies throughout the world spans more than twenty-five years. AFSAC was established in 1978 as the international Logistics Center (ILC) in an effort to centralize Air Force services to other countries. When the Air Force Logistics Command and the Air Force Systems Command were merged, the center became known as the Air Force Security Assistance Center. Over the life of the organization, twelve different commanders have directed the course-of-action that determined how resources were managed to satisfy our customers' needs. The center engaged in many diverse systems of tracking and measuring the success of the organization.
AFSAC's 12th Commander, Brigadier General Jeffrey Riemer, determined a need to re-focus the way his organization does business faced with a huge retirement wave. The center has 330 civilians, and 30 percent of those will be eligible to retire in five-six years, causing AFSAC to lose a lot of its expertise faster than it can recruit and train new employees. He set out to achieve a most desired future to ensure that AFSAC successfully achieves its vision of "World Class Professionals Fostering Global Partnership" by embarking on a dynamic process that will link long term strategic objectives with short term actions.
The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) methodology is being institutionalized to ensure continuous process change driven by organizational needs that endure as part of a strategy-focused organization regardless of changes of personnel at all levels of the center. "We will wake up some morning and find what we were able to do in the past, we are unable to do in the future because we did not take the steps necessary to posture ourselves for that new environment" stated Brigadier General Riemer. A strategy-focused organization is one that looks to the future, determines their vision and how to fulfill it. Then they structure a way of ensuring that end state, according to Brigadier General Riemer. (1)
The Balanced Scorecard is a management tool designed by Harvard Business School professors, Dr. Robert Kaplan and Dr. David Norton. Their research showed that CEOs need a broad view of things that were important in affecting company success. BSC requires strategizing the future of an organization from various perspective customer, financial, internal processes, and learning and growth.
In the book, A Strategy-Focused Organization, Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Norton said organizations that are strategy-focused and use BSC as a tool to get there are 70 percent successful. Organizations that do not use BSC and do not have a strategic focus fail 70 percent of the time. (2)
Brigadier General Riemer and his senior leaders identified that AFSAC's two roles are to serve as a center for expertise that develops and executes agreements and to provide command-level policy guidance regarding international business. AFSAC builds connections between the U.S. and friendly Air Forces around the world connections that the Air Force needs to fulfill its mission of defending U.S. interests abroad.
For over twenty-five years, AFSAC has sold over 9,000 aircraft worldwide, with 6,600 still operational. AFSAC makes sure that the equipment they provide to their customers is supplied with parts and sources of repair. It may cost more to do business with the U.S., but AFSAC customers are confident in the service they will be provided, according to Brigadier General Riemer.
"When we sell those specific weapon systems to our FMS customers, what we are really doing is establishing a long-term strategic relationship with the greatest Air Force on the planet, that sometimes is more important to a country than how fast the jet goes, how quick it turns, or what kind of weapons it carries," Brig. Gen Riemer stated.
The Commander's first critical step was appoint, in January 2003, a select core group of AFSAC employees to begin planning, developing, tailoring, and implementing the Balanced Scorecard initiative (BSI). …