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Top defense trade associations the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), and the Professional Services Council (PSC) today released their second set of recommendations to modernize the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and defense trade system.

The report, “Volume II: Defense Trade Modernization, focuses on the Department of State’s role of evaluating and approving 95 percent of FMS cases. As the State Department works to implement its “FMS 2023” action plan to improve the efficiency of the FMS process, the report provides specific legislative and regulatory proposals to streamline, accelerate, and innovate how the United States cooperates with industry to support critical allies and partners. 

The report follows a first package of recommendations provided to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) FMS Tiger Team in late 2022. These recommendations focused on DoD’s FMS policies and practices. (Read that report here.)

“U.S. Foreign Military Sales are a critical part of our integrated defense strategy, but our decades-old system slows down the process to the detriment of our national security and that of our allies and partners. We can and must modernize. Business as usual is unworkable in the current threat environment,” the Hon. Eric Fanning, AIA President and CEO, said. “Tapping into industry’s experience working with the FMS process, we developed these recommendations to allow the U.S. government to maximize speed, flexibility, and innovation in our defense trade system.”

“As the 2022 National Defense Strategy states, the post-Cold War era is over and great power competition has returned. Our current FMS system does not provide the flexibility, transparency, and speed the US and our Allies and partners need to prevail in this environment,” said NDIA’s President and CEO, the Hon. David Norquist. “These industry recommendations to the State Department, along with the previous set sent to the Department of Defense, support an FMS system that is more strategic, flexible, and able to quickly deliver critical capabilities to our Allies and partners. These recommendations are an important step toward strengthening interoperability with our allies and partners to support the National Defense Strategy.”

“The modern threat environment requires agile and demonstrated sustainment capability to increase deterrence,” said PSC’s President and CEO, the Hon. David J. Berteau. “The FMS systems should pivot from a focus on simply transactional processes to information sharing and results-driven assessments. As adversaries continue to evolve and use the latest technology available, the U.S. must keep pace with innovation, responsiveness and alignment with industry partners to protect national security.”

Built on feedback from the associations’ vast membership representing top defense companies, from the smallest suppliers to the largest integrators, the report provides specific recommendations to:

  1. Strengthen defense trade leadership and resources;
  2. Streamline Foreign Military Sales and commercial sales authorities and management;
  3. Simplify export authorizations;
  4. Review congressional notifications and rethink government funding; and
  5. Enhance government-industry information sharing.

Click here to read the full report.


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