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Arlington, Va. (Feb. 23, 2023) – Top defense trade associations the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), and the Professional Services Council (PSC) today released their recommendations to modernize elements of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system.

The report, FMS Modernization: U.S. Industry Feedback to the Department of Defense Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Tiger Team, was first solicited by the Department of Defense’s new “tiger team” that was established in summer 2022 to modernize the process by which the United States sells military equipment to its allies and partners.

The report, compiled in fall 2022 based on the “lived, shared experience” of former U.S. government officials and industry organizations, urges swift, comprehensive changes to modernize the decades-old system for the current and future threat environment. These changes will also help to integrate our allies’ advanced technology contributions into the work of the U.S. defense industrial base.

“Ukraine underscores the effectiveness of international cooperation when the Department of Defense commits to using all tools at its disposal to support our allies and partners. The Foreign Military Sales system has the potential to be an incredibly effective tool for deterrence, but it operates like the Cold War-era system it is: slowly and inflexibly,” said the Hon. Eric Fanning, AIA President and CEO. “Our recommendations will help the Pentagon build a more nimble, modern, and strategic Foreign Military Sales system that will strengthen our alliances and partnerships and bolster national security.”

“In Great Power Competition, the U.S. has two strategic advantages – our Allies and partners and our innovative defense industrial base,” said the Hon. David L. Norquist, President and CEO of NDIA. “The proposed reforms to modernize our foreign military sales process are critical in order to increase interoperability and capacity of our Allies and partners and to improve the transparency and predictability industry partners need to support the Department of Defense in fully realizing the benefits of this powerful foreign policy tool to support the National Defense Strategy.”

“For too long, FMS has focused on transactional processes, with too little attention to impact and results,” added the Hon. David Berteau, President & CEO of the Professional Services Council. “Ultimately, successful deterrence complicates the thinking of an adversary and reduces the risk of war. One of the top lessons from Ukraine is the importance of logistics. Demonstrated sustainment capability can dramatically increase deterrence, and implementing these recommendations will increase that capability and reduce the chances of conflict.”

The associations’ recommendations center around seven core themes:

  1. Accessible and transparent communication;
  2. A strategic and creative FMS process;
  3. A resourced and flexible acquisition process;
  4. Defense export financing and the expansion of DoD’s Special Defense Acquisition Fund;
  5. A modern technology release process;
  6. Improved exportability; and
  7. Enhanced support of Non-Program of Record (NPOR) systems.

Find the full report here (pdf).

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