Foreign Military Sales:

A Potential Drain on the U.S. Defense Posture (Unclassified Digest)

LCD-76-455: Published: Jul 25, 1977. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 1977.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Records of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency indicate that the United States has dominated the world arms market since 1965 and now controls it by almost 50%. This domination is attributable to the high technology embodied in the weapon systems sold, the ability to provide follow-on support through the systems' life cycle, and, in some cases, a political preference on the part of some countries for buying from the United States rather than from other nations.

Many of the problems affecting the management of the foreign military sales process can be solved at the Department of Defense.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require: (1) inclusion, in all cases, of detailed impact statements in the foreign military sales decisionmaking process so that relevant information is not omitted inadvertently; (2) a supply support agreement or other mechanism to be a part of any sale when it is feasible so that the Department of Defense can program and fund future support without affecting U.S. defense capabilities adversely; (3) and development of a forecasting mechanism to identify the probable quantities of future critical support items for U.S. and foreign sales customers, including long leadtime items used on more than one weapon system. Such a mechanism will require a system that will couple existing data on sales and deliveries by country, weapon system, quantities, and delivery dates with current assets.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 16, 2017

Oct 5, 2017

Sep 29, 2017

Sep 28, 2017

Sep 27, 2017

Sep 26, 2017

Sep 19, 2017

Sep 12, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here