Criteria for Decisionmaking on U.S. Arms Exports
Given the complexities of arms transfer decisions and the multiple
U.S. interests involved in each arms transfer decision, the U.S.
Government will continue to make arms transfer decisions on a
case-by-case basis. These reviews will be guided by the criteria
All arms transfer decisions will take into account the following
Consistency with international agreements and arms control
Appropriateness of the transfer in responding to legitimate U.S.
and recipient security needs.
Consistency with U.S. regional stability interests, especially when
considering transfers involving power projection capability or
introduction of a system which may foster increased tension or
contribute to an arms race.
The degree to which the transfer supports U.S. strategic and
foreign policy interests through increased access and influence, allied
burdensharing, and interoperability.
The impact of the proposed transfer on U.S. capabilities and
technological advantage, particularly in protecting sensitive software
and hardware design, development, manufacturing, and integration
The impact on U.S. industry and the defense industrial base whether
the sale is approved or not.
The degree of protection afforded sensitive technology and
potential for unauthorized third-party transfer, as well as in-country
diversion to unauthorized uses.
The risk of revealing system vulnerabilities and adversely
impacting U.S. operational capabilities in the event of compromise.
The risk of adverse economic, political or social impact within the
recipient nation and the degree to which security needs can be addressed
by other means.
The human rights, terrorism and proliferation record of the
recipient and the potential for misuse of the export in question.
The availability of comparable systems from foreign suppliers.
The ability of the recipient effectively to field, support, and
appropriately employ the requested system in accordance with its
Upgrades of equipment -- particularly that of former Soviet-bloc
manufacture -- is a growing segment of the market. The U.S. government
should support U.S. firms' participation in that market segment to the
extent consistent with our own national security and foreign policy
interests. In addition to the above general criteria, the following
guidelines will govern U.S. treatment of upgrades:
Upgrade programs must be well-defined to be considered for
Upgrades should be consistent with general conventional arms
transfer criteria outlined above.
There will be a presumption of denial of exports to upgrade
programs that lead to a capability beyond that which the U.S. would be
willing to export directly.
Careful review of the total scope of proposed upgrade programs is
necessary to ensure that U.S. licensing decisions are consistent with
U.S. policy on transfers of equivalent new systems.
U.S. contributions to upgrade programs initiated by foreign prime
contractors should be evaluated against the same standard.
Protection of U.S. technologies must be ensured because of the
inherent risk of technology transfer in the integration efforts that
typically accompany an upgrade project.
Upgrades will be subject to standard USG written end use and
retransfer assurances by both the integrator and final end user, with
strong and specific sanctions in place for those who violate these
Benchmarks should be established for upgrades of specific types of
systems, to provide a policy baseline against which (1) individual arms
transfer proposals can be assessed and (2) proposed departures from the
policy must be justified.