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Arms Industry

US Expects Weapon Sales Increase in 2019

A top State official expects U.S. arms exports to grow next year. 

The U.S. has sold more weapons to other nations inside the first half of 2018 than it did in 2017. Is that sustainable?

It is when you may well ask a premier State Department official.

“I would anticipate, I am an optimist plus a realist, that next year’s numbers will be greater compared to 2018 numbers,” Andrea Thompson, Undersecretary of State- Arms Control and International Security, said in a September 7, 2018 report.

That would seem to become tall order. According to numbers from your Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the U.S. has signed $46.9 billion in weapons sales to foreign partners and allies, smashing after dark $41.9 billion figure from all of fiscal 2017.

But Thompson points to new policies put forth recording through the Trump administration, made to encourage American arms exports and bolster domestic industry, like a factor that will have a primary impact next fiscal year.

“The CAT conventional arms transfer policy will have been in place, we’ll have gained those efficiencies and feedback from industry and partners,” she told the Defense Writer’s Group, adding that this policy is made to proceed through continual updates to hold it relevant. “So I would anticipate that would increase sales, one would think.”

Other policies aimed towards encouraging partners to buy American goods, including dropping surcharges on products and reducing the expense of transportation for weapons, can also be under way, with DSCA head Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper leading the charge.

One potential boost could come from India, a lucrative market that U.S. firms have long eyed.
While visiting India, Hooper told reporters that he is “quite confident” that the systems America is selling will quickly realize a crowd in India.

“Whether it is the aerospace domain, land systems or maritime systems, the whole systems are extraordinarily competitive, and I’m sure. will suit India’s needs now and in to the future,” Hooper said.
However, any expectations for India must be tempered by reality. The nation is famously slow to procure weapons, with many deals falling apart or altering even though contract are signed. Compliance using the country’s Make in India policy can be complicated.

Asked with that challenge, Hooper said updates to how a DSCA process works, including greater transparency about costs and timelines at the start of the procedure, “helps a great deal” to speed up the task.

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