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  • westervillekid westervillekid Feb 10, 2013 2:42 PM Flag

    Whitehouse-New source of revenue-Sale of American military equipment-Doubles-US may not be buying but foreign nations are big buyers


    US foreign military sales are growing so fast the Pentagon can't keep its PowerPoint slides updated -- and they may well grow still more if a Defense Department policy easing exports of unmanned aircraft to 66 countries gets interagency and Congressional approval.
    When Defense Security Cooperation Agency staff put together a briefing for DSCA deputy director Richard Genaille to give today at the National Press Club, new Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for fiscal year 2012 were at $64 billion. "It's now $65 billion and will probably go up more in this fiscal year," Genaille told the audience this morning at the ComDef 2012 conference. All told, Genaille said, "the FMS portfolio is valued at $385 billion dollars," and supports "at least 3.5 million jobs, [at] a conservative estimate."

    DSCA oversees -- at last count -- 12,901 FMS cases involving 224 countries and international organizations. Almost every nation on Earth now buys US military gear, excepting only a handful of countries like China and Vatican City. DSCA has even started organizing inter-agency "expeditionary requirements generation teams" that visit foreign countries to help them #$%$ their needs, define their requirements, and submit a formal "letter of request" for an arms deal to the US; the five countries visited so far include both the Philippines and Iraq.

    This year's record-breaking figures are driven not by developing-world clients, however, but by extraordinary sales to Saudi Arabia -- $29.4 billion for Boeing F-15s -- and Japan -- $10 billion for Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Those deals may well represent trends, not flukes, given rising anxiety among the oil-rich Gulf States over the Iranians and anxiety across East Asia over the Chinese. However, Genaille told reporters after his public remarks here that he expected sales to settle back down next year to the more usual range of $32 billion to $35 billion annually.

    While manned fighters dominate today's foreign sales, it is unmanned aircraft that could be a big growth area for the future. It's an area where the US industry enjoys a commanding advantage, thanks to the massive expansion

    Sentiment: Hold

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