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Trump Approved “Buy American” Weapons Exports

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U.S. President Donald Trump has approved the State Department’s implementation insurance policy for the administration’s “Buy American” push to enhance weapons exports that emphasizes the U.S. economy, the State Department announced Monday.

The Trump administration is undertaking an endeavor to aid U.S. defense trade overseas to strengthen security partnerships, encourage interoperability, and protect American economic security and jobs, said the State Department’s Tina Kaidanow, who was simply in London leading the U.S. delegation in the Farnborough Airshow.

“The point is that it is exactly reflected inside a place like Farnborough, where we’re supporting U.S. economic security, and we have been also achieving many national security goals along with our important partners and allies overseas,” the main deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs said in a very call with reporters.

The implementation policy for the rule changes, announced in April, will be in part supposed to reverse the perception that the State Department can be a frequent site of logjams within the Foreign Military Sales process.

Officially called the Conventional Arms Transfer policy, it’s that will help private U.S. defense firms directly sell some types of weapons and unmanned drones to allies with no firms having to go through the U.S. government.

Since April, the U.S. government has been working on implementation plans with industry, which hailed Monday’s move.

Aerospace Industries Association CEO Eric Fanning said its recommendations for a strategic focus, whole-of-government coordination and enhanced accountability feature prominently within the implementation plan.

“It is completely required for our government and our industry to go to the correct answers on defense invest our allies sooner to ensure we can easily still ‘outpartner’ our adversaries,” Fanning said. “Going forward, we agree to expanding our already robust dialogue and partnership with the government’s security cooperation enterprise to sustain and grow the competitiveness of U.S. defense exports.”

The U.S. already leads the world in arms transfers. In 2017, the State Department approved $42 billion in government-to-government sales; therefore far this season, 2018 is on the right track to beat this past year at $46 billion.

The State Department, under its plans outlined Monday, would help allies to spot critical capability requirements and rehearse a whole-of-government effort to expedite transfers.

In February, Kaidanow led a large U.S. delegation to Asia’s largest air show to pitch U.S. arms sales as China’s military footprint and political influence are surging. What’s spelled out in State’s plans is competition with adversaries by “providing allies and partners with options to foreign defense articles as a way to maintain U.S. influence in key regions.”

The plans also require State to work while using defense industry to build exportability into its designs and development efforts, expanding support for non-program-of-record systems, and by incentivizing increased production capacity and timely delivery.

The State Department would tweak relevant rules, much like the International Traffic in Arms Regulations framework; expand and enhance government advocacy and trade promotion for the

American defense industry; and prevent offsets that imperil domestic jobs or reduce America’s technological edge.

The implementation plan may finally provide the Defense Department and military services some much-needed direction on the way to better align itself for arms deals.

The Air Force was standing by to listen for from the White House, from the Defense Department, on how to advance, its undersecretary, Matt Donovan, told us for the sidelines of Farnborough.

“We are awaiting implementation guidance through the White House,” he said Monday morning, just a couple of hours before news hit with the approved plan. The Pentagon “and folks like Under Secretary of Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord are receiving willing to posture us when that implementation guidance arrives. But at the time of right this moment, we’re still waiting.”

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