White House Conventional Arms Transfer Policy Announcement an Important First Step

Arlington, Va. — The Aerospace Industries Association welcomed today’s Conventional Arms Transfer Policy announcement by the Trump Administration, which institutes a review of the approval process for defense export trade.

“Defense trade with allies and partners is a critical tool for achieving America’s foreign policy and national security goals,” said AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning. “We need a defense export review and approval system that is more efficient and transparent in reaching the right decisions.”

The security cooperation enterprise is tasked with reviewing and approving defense transfers to U.S. allies and partners and involves several agencies and offices spread across the U.S. government. However, increasing demand for American defense products has strained the system, resulting in an overburdened and fragmented process beset by avoidable delays. The current enterprise is not adequately resourced or organized to fulfill U.S. national security requirements in a timely manner.

AIA recommends two key pillars of reform necessary to “outpartner” our adversaries. First, the Administration should design and implement a National Security Cooperation Strategy that clearly identifies priorities and leverages U.S. industry as a partner in delivering the right capabilities at the right time to the right allies. Second, the Administration should establish an interagency task force accountable for tracking and expediting this process, and addressing policy or process obstacles that hinder achievement of our security cooperation objectives.

“In the global market for defense goods, speed has become a decisive factor,” Fanning added. “We’re not looking to change the answer from no to yes on any particular transfer. Rather, we’re trying to get to the right answer more quickly and maximize the benefits of interoperability and predictability for the United States and our allies and partners.”

For more information on AIA’s advocacy on this issue, please visit our website at: https://www.aia-aerospace.org/issue/conventional-arms-transfer-policy.