The U.S. government annually controls billions of dollars worth of U.S. arms and dual-use items exported to its allies and partners through a system of laws, regulations, and processes. Weaknesses in this system led GAO in 2007 to include export controls as part of a high-risk area and called for a reexamination, including evaluating alternative approaches. Increasing international collaboration on defense programs also makes it important to understand how other countries control exports. Proposed treaties would change the process for the export or transfer of certain U.S. arms to the United Kingdom and Australia. Based on a request to review allies' export control systems and the proposed treaties, this report (1) identifies how selected allies' systems differ from the U.S. system, and (2) assesses how the proposed treaties will change controls on arms exports. To conduct its work, GAO selected six countries--Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom--based on factors such as whether they were major destinations for U.S. goods or significant arms exporters; conducted site visits in four countries; analyzed agency documentation on the foreign and U.S. systems and treaty related documents; and interviewed officials.
Skip to Highlights