On April 19, 2018, the White House released a new Conventional Arms Transfer Policy (CAT). This is a high level policy which directs the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, and Energy to coordinate on the policy considerations for arms transfers. Replacing the 2014 Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, it adds “Economic Security” to the list of factors used in evaluating proposed armed transfers, retaining the factors of national security, relationships with allies and partners, and nonproliferation. “Economic Security” includes the effect of a proposed transfer on the defense industrial base and the availability of comparable foreign systems.
The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has posted a statement on the new CAT policy which includes some useful examples:
Specifically, we will increase opportunities for pre-deployment training and simulations of complex operational environments to help partners avoid civilian casualties. We will also encourage acquisitions of U.S. technology and training to enable more accurate battlespace awareness and more accurate targeting. We will also continue training to assist security forces in carrying out operations in a manner that respects human rights.
DDTC welcomes submission of stakeholder comments to ArmsTransferProcess@state.gov.
It remains to be seen what effect these changes will have on particular license applications, but the consideration of foreign availability is one of the major factors driving the simultaneous reevaluation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) policy.
The State Department released a fact sheet on the new UAS export policy which seeks to increase trade opportunities for U.S. companies, enhance partner security and counterterrorism capabilities, and strengthen bilateral relationships while preserving U.S. military advantage and preventing the weapons of mass destruction delivery system proliferation. UAS transfers remain subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
For additional background on the Conventional Arms Transfer and UAS policies from Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, click here.
Finally, DDTC has announced the launch of a redesigned website effective April 30, 2018, intending “a number of significant enhancements including improved navigation, searchability, and accessibility, with a consistent, full-featured experience across mobile devices.” The redesign has changed many links, so bookmarks and other saved references may need to be updated.
(None of the information is intended to be authoritative official or professional legal advice. Consult your own legal counsel or compliance specialists before taking actions based upon this blog or other unofficial sources.)