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U.S. Department of StateUnder Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Releases > Fact Sheets > 2006 
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
June 29, 2006

Measuring United States Implementation of the UN Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons


The Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, convened at the United Nations on June 26, 2006, and will continue through July 7, 2006 (with the exception of July 4, Independence Day, which the UN observes). Since 2001, the United States has devoted significant financial and human resources in a serious effort to implement the provisions of the Program of Action (POA). It should be noted that many of the United States’ national practices, Federal, State, and local laws, international assistance programs, and vigorous diplomatic engagement around the world with regard to combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) existed years before the 2001 POA. Following is a summary that outlines the actions the United States has taken to implement the POA.

  1. National Points of Contact and Coordination Agencies: The United States has a designated point of contact (POC) for illicit trade in SA/LW, as do 149 other Member States. Information on the U.S. POC, who is in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, is always up-to-date. 

  2. Legislation, Regulations, and Administrative Procedures: The U.S. is one of only 9 countries that have comprehensive laws and procedures to control all of the following: the export, import, production, brokering, and transit of SA/LW, and that also criminalize illicit possession, trade, and manufacturing of SA/LW. Besides the United States, only 33 other countries have laws and procedures to control the export/import, production, brokering, and transit of small arms. 

  3. Criminalization Regimes: The United States is one of only 28 countries that have both criminalized illicit possession, trade, and manufacturing of SA/LW and that have reviewed relevant laws and procedures since 2001. 

  4. Stockpile Management and Security: The United States is one of 102 countries that have "standards and procedures for the management and security of (SA/LW) stockpiles" and one of 69 countries that have "regular reviews of stocks." 

  5. Weapons Collection and Disposal: The United States is one of only 39 countries to have destroyed surplus arms and one of 55 to have destroyed collected or confiscated SA/LW. 

  6. Export, Import, and Transfer Controls and Regulations: The United States is one of only 26 countries that include within its transfer controls all of the following: assessment of risk of illicit diversion (in considering exports), authenticated end-user certification (EUC) requirements, registration of brokers, and licensing of individual deals. (See number 2 also). Only 40 countries, besides the United States, assess risk of illicit SA/LW diversion, and only 57 countries, other than the United States require EUCs. 

  7. Brokering: The United States is one of only 37 states with specific controls over SA/LW brokering. 

  8. Marking, Tracing, and Record-keeping: The United States is one of 53 countries that adhere to the "obligation to mark all SA/LW in production, consistent with emerging international standards." 

  9. Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of Ex-combatants: The U.S. is one of only 32 countries to have voluntary weapons collection programs. 

  10. Assistance and International Cooperation: The United States is one of only 26 countries to provide donor assistance to other countries on SA/LW projects. To date, this totals over $40 million since 2001 and has resulted in the destruction of over 900,000 weapons and 18,600 Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), commonly referred to as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

Other United States Actions that Support the POA

Sustained Commitment: The Unites States is one of only 7 countries that in all of the following categories, since 2001, have reviewed laws and procedures regarding SA/LW production, export, import, and brokering in addition to laws and procedures criminalizing illicit possession, trade, and manufacturing of SA/LW.

Transparency: The United States is one of only 23 states that publish annual reports on arms exports.

Reports to the UN: The United States is one of only 6 countries that have submitted four or more annual reports on national implementation of the POA to the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs in the last five years.

To learn more about the United States’ comprehensive and sustained efforts to stem illicit trafficking in SA/LW, refer to an even more extensive Fact Sheet, which includes Frequently Asked Questions, at http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/67700.htm and click on the "Small Arms/Light Weapons & Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS)" subject button at www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.

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