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Highlights

The U.S. government controls arms exports by U.S. companies to ensure that such exports are consistent with national security and foreign policy interests. There have been various efforts to change the arms export control system, which is overseen by the State Department. One effort was the Defense Trade Security Initiative of 2000, which was intended to facilitate defense trade with allies in the post-Cold War environment. Given the September 2001 terror attacks, the U.S. government has had to reevaluate whether existing policies support national security and foreign policy goals. In light of the September 2001 attacks, GAO was asked to review several aspects of the arms export control system. Specifically, GAO is providing information on (1) changes in the arms export control system since September 2001 and overall trends in arms export licensing, (2) extent of implementation of or revision to initiatives designed to streamline arms export licensing, and (3) extent of coordination on these initiatives between State and arms export enforcement agencies, as well as enforcement efforts.

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