FAS Obtains Key Report on US Arms Exports

Deliveries of arms through the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program decreased by nearly a billion dollars in fiscal year 2008, according to the most recent edition of the Annual Military Assistance Report. The report, which is often referred to as the “Section 655 Report” after the section in the Foreign Assistance Act that requires it, is compiled each year by the Defense Department and the State Department. The Defense Department’s contribution to the report was acquired by the Federation of American Scientists under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to this year’s report, FMS deliveries in FY08 totaled $10,996,180,000 – nearly $1 billion less than the $11,910,160,000 delivered in FY2007.  This is surprising given the significant increase in FMS agreements in recent years.   FMS agreements jumped from $9.5 billion in FY2005 to more than $18 billion in FY2006, and nearly doubled again to $36 billion in FY2008. One possible explanation for the apparent lag is that deliveries, and particularly deliveries of big-ticket items, can take years.  If this is the case, FMS delivery totals are likely to rise sharply over the next few years.

Adam Willner contributed to this report.

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One Response to “FAS Obtains Key Report on US Arms Exports”

  1. Mark J. Carter July 26, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    First I want to thank FAS for obtaining what little meaningful documentation the current format of the 655 report presents.
    Unfortunately, in its current form, the information presented has been so dummied down as to be quite useless for the purpose of public review and oversight.
    In the case of a number of countries it appears that 10 US Code 130 was used to prevent disclosure of ANY data in regards to weapons transfer.
    For all countries, in nearly all cases of missile transfers, that same section was presented as cause to withhold pertinent data.
    10 US Code 130 Part c clearly states what is considered technical data. How this data can be construed to meet that definition is beyond me. Although I consider it an outrageous claim to consider such data as meeting the part c definition; I have come to expect such actions within organizations which through negligence, criminal corruption, and greed; need and use interlaced political power to conceal information that could be used to expose improper and dangerous transfers of military arms and technical data.
    Of particular interest to me in the past was the “US Munitions List Categories” – no longer used.
    In the FY 2006 report it was noted that Category XVI technical data, “Nuclear Weapons, Design, and Testing Related Data”, had been transferred to Singapore. I first questioned the need for that transfer and then began to wonder where the true intended destination of that data might be.
    Given the current method of categorization, type of data presented, and questionable use of 10 US Code 130 to conceal relevant data; there will be no effective public oversight.
    Mark J. Carter
    § 130. Authority to withhold from public disclosure certain technical data
    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Defense may withhold from public disclosure any technical data with military or space application in the possession of, or under the control of, the Department of Defense, if such data may not be exported lawfully outside the United States without an approval, authorization, or license under the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 App. U.S.C. 2401–2420) or the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.). However, technical data may not be withheld under this section if regulations promulgated under either such Act authorize the export of such data pursuant to a general, unrestricted license or exemption in such regulations.

    (b) Regulations under this section shall be published in the Federal Register for a period of no less than 30 days for public comment before promulgation. Such regulations shall address, where appropriate, releases of technical data to allies of the United States and to qualified United States contractors, including United States contractors that are small business concerns, for use in performing United States Government contracts.

    (c) In this section, the term “technical data with military or space application” means any blueprints, drawings, plans, instructions, computer software and documentation, or other technical information that can be used, or be adapted for use, to design, engineer, produce, manufacture, operate, repair, overhaul, or reproduce any military or space equipment or technology concerning such equipment.

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