Hellenic Army visit builds on longstanding partnership

Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Sarah Zaler | Members of the Hellenic Army General Staff and U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's EUCOM/AFRICOM regional operations directorate discuss Greece's foreign military sales portfolio in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Oct. 13, 2023. Lt. Gen. Andreas Koronakis led the Greek delegation who meet annually with the USASAC team for an overview of the FMS cases, which strengthens relations and increases operational readiness through direct conversations between leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Sarah Zaler)

Led by deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Andreas Koronakis, the Greek delegation met with representatives from USASAC’s EUCOM/AFRICOM regional operations directorate and reviewed Greece’s FMS cases, assessed the status of several ongoing actions and discussed updates USASAC has made to improve the process for their partners.

Dave Cooper, central case management division chief for EUCOM/AFRICOM, believes hosting these annual meetings is essential to their mission of building partner capacity.

“It’s important to strengthen relationships between allies and partners,” Cooper said. “Conducting face-to-face discussions allows the team to roll their sleeves up and get after issues that ultimately impact the operational readiness of our partners. While this certainly can be done remotely, it’s much more impactful when you can gather around a table and build consensus that the U.S. government has its partners best interests at the core of our mission.”

A key player for partner nations in the FMS process are their security assistance liaison officers (SALOs) who are stationed in New Cumberland. With access to U.S. logistics systems and direct interaction with the FMS team, SALOs are able to streamline and expedite the process for their countries. While fairly new to the position, Hellenic Army SALO Lt. Col. Georgios Vlachos recognizes the significant impact these meetings have.

“In my opinion these meetings are very critical,” Vlachos said. “Issues that are difficult to deal with through e-mails, due to lack of understanding, can be easily resolved when a physical meeting takes place. Moreover, the chance to know better, by physical contact, the [person] that is on the other end of the line strengthens cooperation and mutual respect.”

USASAC’s Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Burnley and Col. Eldridge Singleton, EUCOM/AFRICOM regional operations director, were also in attendance, and Vlachos was pleased to see the direct communication between the higher-level leaders result in immediate feedback and resolution to several items. It also allowed both sides to gain a better understanding of the intricacies concerning Greece’s FMS cases.

“My takeaway is that this was yet another successful key leader engagement between two critical allies,” Cooper said. “Our open and candid dialogue will pave the way for future process improvement initiatives to enhance program management of the Repair & Return process and the Simplified Nonstandard Acquisition Program.”

U.S.-Greece relations date back to 1837 when the U.S. appointed its first Consul to Greece. Today, the countries share a deep and abiding security partnership and hold an annual Strategic Dialogue at the ministerial level with focus areas in regional cooperation, defense and security. As a key NATO Ally, the U.S. is committed to supporting Greece to increase their capabilities, foster bilateral military-to-military relations and develop interoperability of Greek forces within NATO.

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