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International Acquisition - Life Cycle Product Support

ALCL 058
Alternate Definition

The purpose of life cycle product support in international acquisitions is to ensure that systems delivered through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or International Cooperative Programs (ICP) are designed such that they can be supported throughout their life cycle in a cost-effective manner. Support elements necessary to the system's initial fielding and ongoing operational support are identified, developed, acquired and - depending on the form of international acquisition program - delivered within the context of specific international sustainment considerations.

General Information

Both FMS and ICPs are part of the US Security Cooperation activities. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) Security Assistance Management Manual (SAMM) (DSCA 5105.38M)) provides DoD-wide guidance for all organizational entities within the DoD engaged in the management or implementation of Security Assistance or Security Cooperation programs over which DSCA has responsibility.

Life cycle product support is an important aspect of all international acquisition programs, and there are international considerations in each of the twelve Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements. A Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) strategy can be used on FMS and ICPs which may improve total system readiness while reducing operating and support costs.


FMS is part of a group of Security Assistance programs authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), or other related statutes by which the US provides defense articles, military training, and other defense related services, by grant, loan, cash sale, or lease, in furtherance of national policies and objectives.

FMS includes foreign funds (or grants) through the US Foreign Military Financing Program (FMFP). It also includes purchase of US. defense articles or services through the US Government via a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA)

On FMS programs, DoD life cycle logisticians work with foreign users to ensure weapon systems are delivered with the full spectrum of support necessary to operate and maintain the purchased system and ensure it provides a usable defense capability. The DoD then often continues to work with foreign users to provide follow-on support even after a system has been retired from the DoD inventory.

Total Package Approach (TPA)

The DoD typically uses a TPA when foreign customers purchase under an FMS program. When using the TPA, initial support is included in the same LOA as the weapon system. The FMS case manager coordinates with the system program office to ensure the initial support package is included in the LOA, which usually covers weapons, and two years of technical assistance, training, publications, spares, and support equipment. To ensure a seamless transition from the initial support period, FMS customers then need to identify their follow-on support requirements as soon as possible. They do not have to obtain follow-on support through the US Government, but it is often more efficient to do so. The Military Departments (MILDEPS) are often able to provide quality control, parts, and services at potentially lower costs than other options.

Follow-on Support Methods

FMS customers can obtain follow-on support through many different sources, including continuation of FMS support. It is also possible for customers to provide parts and services through their own government support structure, or their own defense industrial base. They also have the option to obtain support from a third country such as when another country has already established a depot capability. The requirements for third country support are:

  • Any required third country transfer approvals are obtained
  • US Government has Security Assistance relationship with the third country
  • Prime contractor of the weapon system has approved the facilities providing support

If the contractor has the ability to provide it, the FMS customer may also use Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) to purchase follow-on support from a US company.

If the FMS customer uses the FMFP for funding, they must obtain a waiver from DSCA. This must be done before they can purchase support from a third country or via a US company through DCS.

Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Arrangement (CLSSA)

Per DoDI 2000.20, FMS customers can utilize a CLSSA to buy-in to the DoD supply system and obtain the same support as a U.S. military unit with an equivalent Force Activity Designator (FAD). Under a CLSSA, FMS customers must make an up-front investment in the DoD logistics system. The purpose of this investment is to fund the anticipated support requirements.

The US Program Manager (PM) or the designated Product Support Manager (PSM) typically provides a CLSSA recommendation, by stock number and quantity, of secondary and support items necessary to annually operate the system. The country reviews this recommendation to determine the extent of its financial investment in the DoD logistics system. Item managers then use the funds provided in the CLSSA to augment the DoD inventory. This allows the customer to receive spare parts from DoD stock instead of waiting on the item manager to procure items from vendors. This results in faster stock replenishment.

CLSSAs are ideal for follow-on support of common spares. However, they are only available to support weapon systems that are still in the DoD inventory and exclude commercial equipment, munitions, and major end-items.

Non-Standard Equipment Support

Non-standard systems may result from DCS purchases, the foreign country's modification of an FMS-purchased weapon system, or DoD retirement of system from inventory; however, even if a system has been retired from the DoD inventory, the US remains committed to supporting the weapons system as long as the FMS customer operates it.

Sometimes it is necessary to resort to commercial buying services for non-standard items when the DoD no longer has spare parts or support equipment in their inventory. The MILDEPS have established two non-standard buying programs to support items no longer in the DoD inventory.

  1. Parts and Repair Ordering System (PROS) – An Air Force managed and contractor operated system and used by the Air Force, Navy and Army. It provides FMS customers with non-standard parts, non-standard maintenance services and out-of-stock standard parts.
  2. Army's Simplified Non-standard Acquisition Process (SNAP) - Conducted by the Army's Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) and provides (through commercial sources) FMS and domestic Army customers with non-standard parts and out-of-stock parts.

Materiel Return Concepts

FMS customers also need maintenance support for their weapons systems. In order to accommodate international customers, the DoD has created the following two types of repair programs:

  1. Repair and Return
    • FMS customer sends in an item needing overhaul or repair
    • Same item returned with invoice for full exact cost of repair
    • Can be a lengthy process if repair facility has a backlog or needs to order special repair parts
  2. Direct Exchange
    • FMS customer sends in an item needing overhaul or repair
    • Depot sends a replacement item with same form, fit, and function as original
    • Original item is repaired and put into DoD inventory
    • Faster and possibly cheaper for FMS customer

Excess Defense Articles (EDA)

When the DoD is ready to dispose of EDAs for which US forces no longer have a need, our allies and friendly nations should be considered. These items may still fill a need elsewhere. If EDA is purchased by FMS customers, those customers may also get follow-on support. There are two major types of EDA:

  1. Excess Equipment Owned and Maintained by the Original US MILDEP
  2. Equipment that has been transferred by the MILDEP to the Defense Logistics Agency's (DLA) Disposition Services
    • Articles may not be in operating condition
    • Materiel is often purchased for cannibalization of parts at low cost dependent upon condition:
    • Highest price charged — 50% of original acquisition value
    • Lowest cost charged — 5% of original acquisition value
    • Worst condition can sell for scrap value
    • Items sold "as-is, where-is", therefore the FMS customer may open an FMS case for:
      • Refurbishment
      • Repairs

If the country is eligible they can receive EDA as a grant or if not a country can purchase EDA through FMS procedures.

International Cooperative Programs (ICPs)

For ICPs, where DoD is partnering with another nation or multiple nations to develop and produce equipment to be used by all participants, product support and sustainment strategies are designed and implemented to meet the needs of all participating nations.

Cooperative logistics is conducted under multiple legal authorities and methods with a variety of specific programs and activities such as Sustainment Cooperation under ICP Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Support and Procurement Agency Organization Weapon System Partnerships, Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements, Host Nation Support, Cooperative Military Airlift Agreements, War Reserve Stocks for Allies and the Acceptance and Use of Real Property, Services, and Supplies. All of these programs combine to make the international cooperation a logistics building block.

Sustainment Cooperation under MOUs

Program-specific MOUs concluded under the authority of Arms Export Control Act (AECA) Section 27 can provide for cooperation beyond Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) into production and sustainment. Here are some real-world examples:

  • Partner nations on the F-35 JSF program can obtain their logistics support under the terms of the Production, Sustainment and Follow-On Development (PSFD) MOUs.
  • FMS was used by the United Kingdom (UK) to purchase their Rivet Joint aircraft (RC-135W); however, follow-on development and its sustainment is done cooperatively with the US Air Force under the terms of an MOU. The UK sustains their Rivet Joint aircraft through a Cooperative Support Information System infrastructure under the Sustainment and Follow-on Development (SFD) MOU. This agreement enables the UK to access the DoD supply system.

NATO Support and Procurement Organization (NSPO)

The NSPO strives to maximize the effectiveness of logistics support to the armed forces of NATO nations (individually and collectively} in peacetime and in wartime. It is comprised of these two sections:

  • Agency Supervisory Board (ASB) - The ASB serves in a leadership capacity and sets general policy, provides guidance, and approves of entering into international agreements in accordance with the NSPO Charter, among other activities.
  • NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) - NSPA was established under the terms of a charter approved by the North Atlantic Council in 2012. The organization assists NATO nations through the organization of common procurement and supply of spare parts. They also are tasked with arranging the maintenance and repair services required to support the weapon systems in their inventories. NSPA outsources most of the logistics support to industry under the terms of NSPA contracts.

One of the means NSPO supports the nations is through the formation of Weapon System Partnerships (WSPs). WSPs are defined as an association of two or more nations designed to manage common logistics support through NSPA for:

  • Specific weapon systems
  • Defense-related equipment
  • Formally established via an agreement between participating nations with approval by the NSPO BOD

10 USC 2350d authorizes DoD’s participation in WSPs per the NSPO Charter. DoD participates in a number of WSPs as a member and supports others through FMS. WSP activities are directed by a Weapon System Partnership Committee (WSPC) and chaired by one of the member nations. Through a WSP member, nations make decisions collectively on policy issues for:

  • Life Cycle Product Support
  • Configuration management
  • Sharing of associated costs (based on mutually agreed cost sharing formula)

Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements (ACSA)

ACSAs are agreements under which the US agrees to provide logistic support, supplies, and services to military forces of a qualifying country or organization in return for the reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies, and services to elements of the US Armed Forces.

ACSAs exist with about 100 countries along with several NATO organizations. The below DoD Directive and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Instruction, both titled "Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements”, explain the procedures for acquiring and transferring logistics support, supplies, and services.

There are two primary statutory authorities:

  • Acquisition-Only Authority - Authority provided by 10 USC 2341 allows US Armed Forces to acquire logistics supplies and services from eligible countries that permit US military operations. It also allows stationing of US Armed Forces and the preposition of U.S. materiel, and for US Armed Forces to serve as hosts for exercises
  • Cross-Servicing Authority - Authority provided by 10 USC 2342 allows the transfer of logistics supplies and services between military forces

All transactions are reimbursable through:

  • Cash payment
  • Replacement-in-kind
  • Equal-value exchange
  • Reciprocal pricing policies apply

Geographic Combatant Commands exercise ACSA authority. These transfers come into play during:

  • Wartime and deployments Combined exercises, training, and contingency operations
  • Humanitarian or foreign disaster relief operations Certain peace operations under the charter of the United Nations
  • Unforeseen or exigent circumstances

Other Cooperative Logistics

Support Cooperative logistics support also includes several other resources:

  • Host Nation Support - Civil and military assistance (materiel, manpower, or services) provided in peacetime or wartime by a host nation to friendly or allied organizations/forces in or in transit through its territory. Put in place by Geographic Combatant Commands under direction of the JCS and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (OUSD(A&S))
  • Cooperative Military Airlift Agreements (CMAAs) - Authorized by 10 USC 2350c Implemented by Secretary of Defense (with consultation with Secretary of State) Cover transporting NATO and other friendly/allied nations' military personnel/cargo on U.S. Armed Forces aircraft Reciprocal transportation of U.S. military personnel/cargo is given Subject to reimbursement and other provisions.
  • War Reserve Stocks for Allies (WRSA) - Established by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 Section 514(b) and amended by Public Law (PL) 95-62, it permits US-owned, host nation intended war reserve materiel to be pre-positioned in authorized countries during peacetime. The host nation funds:
    • Storage
    • Maintenance
    • In-country transit
    • Other WRSA-related costs

Acceptance and Use of Real Property, Services, and Supplies – is Authorized by 10 USC 2350g. Secretary of Defense authorized to accept real property, services, and supplies from a foreign country for support of elements of U.S. Armed Forces in that country including real property or use of real property and related services/supplies for use by the US in accordance with:

  • Mutual agreement
  • Occupational arrangement
  • Services furnished as:
    • Reciprocal international courtesies
    • Services customarily made available gratis