(Issue No. 15, May 1992)
Editorial Congress Should Enforce Existing Legislation The US laws governing arms sales---the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA)---are really very good. But there's one problem: The administration routinely ignores provisions of the laws, and for a variety of reasons Congress looks the other way. In the past half year, several violations have come to light: In February, Sec. of State Baker acknowledged that the State Department had licensed over $120 million in commercial arms sales to Pakistan after the Pressler amendment to the FAA was invoked in October 1990. (This law bans all US arms sales and military assistance to Pakistan if the President cannot certify that Pakistan does not have a nuclear weapon.) Incredibly, most of the weaponry licensed was for Pakistan's F-16 aircraft, their most probable means of nuclear weapons delivery. In March, the State Department Inspector General reported that a "major recipient of US weapons and technology" (Israel) had on several occasions over the past decade violated re-transfer restrictions placed on weapons of US-origin. Section 2753 of the AECA states that no weapons can be sold or leased and no cooperative projects may be entered into unless the recipient government agrees not to transfer title or possession of any defense article without prior US government approval. If a country violates this retransfer restriction, that country is ineligible for further sales or credits. Despite the Inspector General's findings, Israel continues to receive $1.8 billion in military grants per year, plus several hundred million dollars of funding for cooperative military R&D projects. South Korea has also violated this provision without suffering the legislated consequences. In hearings last summer on the sale of an F-16 production capability to South Korea, the GAO noted past illegal sales of weapons produced under US industry-licenses. Nonetheless, the F-16 sale was approved by Congress. And now it comes to light that Turkey---another major recipient of US military aid and arms sales---has transferred US-supplied military equipment to Pakistan without US government consent. The administration has delayed sending Congress a security assessment of Saudi Arabia, conducted by the Pentagon after the war. Submission of these reports upon the request of the Chairmen of the Committees on Foreign Affairs/Relations is mandated by the AECA (section 2766). Nevertheless, as of late May, Rep. Lee Hamilton (the future Chairman of the HFAC) still had not been briefed on the Pentagon's findings, which were completed last summer. This secret survey is used to justify billions of dollars of arms the administration is selling to Saudi Arabia. US arms sales and military aid are supposed to be contingent on human rights practices of recipient countries. Section 502B of the FAA explicitly states that "no security assistance may be provided to any country, the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." Nevertheless, the United States has continued to give and sell weapons to many countries that fail to conform to internationally recognized human rights standards---many fail even by the State Department's own accounting. During the 102nd Congress, dozens of bills have been introduced concerning US arms sales policy. Congress' first order of business should be to demand that the provisions of existing laws are complied with, or else to revise them in some politically-enforceable way to achieve the intended, very laudable goals. SALES IN PROGRESS The AECA mandates that the executive branch notify Congress of any military equipment valued at $14 million or more that it proposes to sell. Congress then has 30 days to consider the sale before the formal offer may be made. To block the sale, legislators must introduce and pass a concurrent resolution (by a veto-proof two-thirds majority in both houses) within the 30. Following are recently-proposed sales sent to Congress for approval. Naval equipment for Korea. 25-27 May---Over a three-day period, the Pentagon and State Department notify Congress of their intention to transfer various naval weapons to South Korea. The Navy proposes to lease some unnamed "defense articles" to South Korea. The DSAA plans to sell 3 naval vessels (under the FAA) and 28 Harpoon missiles, worth $58 million, for Korea's P-3C naval aircraft. In addition, the State Department proposes to license for commercial export "major defense equipment" to Korea.
Turkey transfers US-supplied arms to Pakistan without US consent. 26 May---An entry in the Congressional Record says that the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs has notified Congress that Turkey transferred US-origin spare parts for C-130 and T-37 miliary aircraft to Pakistan without prior consent as required by law. The notice, which apparently was supposed to have been classified, was inadvertently printed in the Record. All that the State Department would say about the transfer is that it occurred prior to October 1990, when a law banning further US arms sales to Pakistan went into effect. Arms to Taiwan. 28 May---The Air Force proposes to sell $319 million worth of weaponry and support to the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (a front for the government of Taiwan). Specifically, Taiwan would receive nearly 2,800 rounds of ammunition, 83,700 rounds of 20 mm cartridges for the Close-In Weapons System, 48 ASROC rockets and related items; and $107 million worth of spares and radars for F-5, F-104, C-130 and C-119. $1.88 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia proposed. 2 June--- Congress is formally notified of the Pentagon's plan to sell nearly $2 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia, bringing the total amount of US arms sold to that country since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to $16.7 billion. Included in this package are: 8 UH-60 Blackhawk Medevac helicopters ($223 million); a $606 million package of weapons for the 12 Apache attack helicopters that Saudi Arabia previously purchased from the US, including 362 Hellfire missiles, 3,500 Hydra-70 rockets, 40 military trucks and a combat mission simulator; a $495 million maintenance and training contract for the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 aircraft; a $400 million logistics systems; and a $157 million package of support for the Saudi F-5 fighters. CHANGES IN THE RULES Major revisions to ITAR proposed. 7 May---The State Department proposes to "clarify" the existing regulations which implement the AECA and "reduce the regulatory burden on exporters of defense articles." As part of this clarifying effort, the currently-named "International Traffic in Arms Regulations" would be changed to "Defense Trade Regulations." This is in keeping with the name change of the State Department's arms export licensing division in 1990 from the "Office of Munitions Control" to the "Center for Defense Trade." Last year, the Bush Administration sought to change the name of the main law governing arms exports from the "Arms Export Control Act" to the "Defense Trade and Control Act." All of these changes embody executive branch efforts to commercialize and routinize weapons sales. Included among the 30 pages of proposed rules, one would extend the validity of export licenses from 3 years to 4 and another would revise the definition of what constitutes a "defense article." Exempted from the definition would be "exports approved under manufacturing or technical assistance agreements; spare parts valued at $500 or less; intra-company transfers of components being sent abroad for assembly and return; temporary imports for repair and servicing; and items which have previously been licensed for temporary import to trade shows." NOTES FROM SOME HEARINGS Military Aid to Africa 7 May---In a hearing before the Subcommittee on African Affairs of the SFRC, the State Department and the Pentagon provide testimony on US military assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa. Leonard Robinson, Jr., the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, testifies that US security assistance is being used to engage African military forces in "the tide of modernization and democratization" sweeping Africa. The administration's budget request for FY93 includes $12.725 million in grant military assistance and $8.98 million in IMET monies (down from about $180 million in the mid-80s). This military aid program is almost entirely "non-lethal," Robinson asserts, supplying "vehicles, communications equipment, uniforms, spare parts and the like." "We have been careful not to provide expensive equipment which could drain scarce resources from African development efforts or which might encourage adventurism or aggression," he continues. James L. Woods, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, assures the Committee of America's limited military interests in Africa. "We have no interest in establishing a major or permanent military presence. We are satisfied with the arrangements for transit and occasional facilities usage we do have. We station no troops, have no bases and homeport no ships there. We do have formal access arrangements with Kenya as well as with Somalia and Liberia." He says there are fewer than 300 US military personnel presently assigned in Sub-Saharan Africa. In FY91 the US created a regional military fund for Africa. Of the $12.725 million requested for African military assistance, $11.225 million would be dedicated to that fund, "mainly for civic action, health, protection of natural resources, and---if we can find suitable approaches---for new agenda items such as support of peacekeeping and downsizing of African militaries." Some funds from the regional account will be used "to extend some minimal level of support for American equipment provided earlier. We would not want Africa littered with the rusting carcasses of American trucks, engineering equipment and boats that we abruptly were incapable of supporting at all," he says. Woods notes that the US no longer extends credits and financing assistance to African countries for US weapons. "We concluded in the early 80s that very few African states could afford to take on these debts, and we reversed the decision made in the Carter administration to offer such credits in lieu of grant aid." "We continue to believe, that dollar for dollar, IMET is our most productive program, giving African military officers and NCOs first class military education while exposing them to American beliefs in the primacy of civilian rule and the role of an apolitical military in a democracy. ... We are also enthusiastic about the `expanded IMET' program ... which allows us to provide training to military and civil officials in managing and administering military establishments and budgets, and in creating and maintaining effective judicial systems and military codes of conduct, including observance of internationally recognized human rights." He speaks of increased US military exercises in Africa, involving National Guard and Reserve Units, which he says "not only provide magnificent training for our forces but provide important collateral training benefits to our African military friends." Pre-Invasion Policies toward Iraq 8 May---House Banking Committee Chairman Henry Gonzalez continues his inquiry into Bush administration policies toward Iraq, holding a hearing on the bill he introduced in response to Iraq's use of a foreign-owned bank to illegally obtain US government credits and loan guarantees. The bill (H.R.4803) seeks to halt the proliferation of technology necessary for the production of weapons of mass destruction by denying US funding to the international financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the regional development banks, until those institutions revoke the membership of all countries not adhering to certain export control regimes (see ASM no. 13-14, p. 7). Three panels testify: Robert Gates (Director of Central Intelligence) and Gordon Oehler, (Director of the CIA's Nonproliferation Center); Bush administration bureaucrats from the State Department, the Pentagon, the Federal Reserve and Treasury; and a non-governmental panel. Gates provides the same proliferation threat assessment he has given several times this year already, with a section tacked on about the CIA's nonproliferation center. The other administration witnesses uniformly state that they share Mr. Gonzalez's concern about proliferation of weapons technologies, but that they think his legislation is "counterproductive" and "could have serious adverse consequences." One of the reasons cited for this view is that the bill calls for developing countries to join and abide by suppliers' regimes such as the Australia Group and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), but the US does not want to extend membership to the MTCR to all countries. As William Rope, testifying for the State Department, says: "Even if desired by the US, such expansion could be vetoed by other members, putting development aid for some countries at risk because other countries did not want them as regime members. The suppliers' regimes are successful in many cases because they are limited to the industrialized countries, which share a strong commitment to combatting proliferation and are the prime producers of the relevant dual-use technology. Members compelled to join are unlikely to have the same sense of commitment, and might actually impede the work of the regimes." US Arms Sales Policies 27 May---The HFAC subcommittees on Arms Control and Europe/Middle East hold a hearing on US conventional arms transfer policy one year after President Bush's Middle East arms control initiative which launched talks among the Permanent Five UN Security Council members on limiting destabilizing arms transfers. The five are to meet during the following two days (see box). Specifically, the hearing is called to discuss recommendations on multilateral arms transfer guidelines for the Middle East, put forth in a report issued today by the Henry L. Stimson Center. The report, authored by a bipartisan group of private experts, members of Congress, arms industry representatives and retired diplomats and military personnel, calls for greater specificity and urgency in actions taken by the five to limit arms build-ups in the region. It also cites the need for sustained, high-level US government focus and leadership. Alan Platt, a consultant on international and security affairs and Paul Freedenberg, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, present the Stimson report, which Platt says "does not propose a cessation of arms transfers to the Middle East." Rather, the group believes "that some arms must continue to be transferred into the region for the foreseeable future consistent with regional security and enhanced stability." The group further believes that "the current level of armament in the region is relatively conducive to stability in the Middle East." Other assumptions on which the group's recommendations are based are: "no combination of Middle East nations hostile to Israel should be allowed to gain military power such that they pose a direct threat to Israel's survival", and Iraq, Iran and Syria should not be allowed to obtain enough arms to gain hegemony over either the Persian Gulf or Turkey. The immediate recommendations contained in the report largely mirror the administration's current policy. The longer-term suggestions would: limit transfers of "weapons or sub-systems incorporating advanced technologies not already present in the region"; set ceilings on the number of CFE-controlled types of weapons in the region; initiate discussions on the global overcapacity in arms production and how to achieve a "multilateral build-down" in defense industry; and consolidate the various existing non-proliferation regimes and create a single secretariat with enforcement and sales decision-making authority over them. Joel Johnson of the Aerospace Industries Association says that claims that the US is the world's leading arms seller---and therefore must show greater self restraint if it is to convince others to do likewise---are a "myth". Dismissing the need for US leadership to encourage restraint, Johnson contends that "In most bargaining situations, from intermediate range nuclear weapons to export finance, a country has more leverage on other players if it gives up something only in the context of other countries doing the same." Johnson denies any role for supplier responsibility in regional arms control, saying that "The most effective means is encouraging the peaceful resolution of regional conflict and the agreement by countries within a region to limit the type and quantity of weapons systems produced or imported...." A CFE-type agreement imposed from outside the region would only result in indigenous industry being developed, he argues. [However, without licensed-production from the major arms producing countries, very few---if any---developing countries would be able to afford the R&D costs necessary to build indigenously any high tech major military equipment.] Increases of $1-2 billion per year in foreign sales cannot make up for $30-40 billion decreases from the peak Pentagon procurement in the mid-1980s, he says. While acknowledging that major excess arms productive capacity now exists, Johnson says that the AIA is skeptical of arms industry conversion bills pending in Congress. Instead, he recommends "using a small portion of any funds contemplated for conversion programs for ... defense export support" programs. As examples of this support, he suggests assisting industry to demonstrate its products at arms bazaars and creating export financing programs such as that proposed within the EXIM Bank last year. These programs, he claims, involve "little or no budgetary outlays." Lee Feinstein, of the non-governmental Arms Control Association, notes that "The Big 5 talks would seem to provide a natural forum to test the prospects for mutual restraint. But the administration has consistently opposed suggestions to pursue limits on arms sales through these talks. Before accepting the standard refrain of the Defense Department and industry that `if we don't sell F-15s to Saudi Arabia, the British will sell Tornados,' Congress might consider requiring the administration to certify that it has made a good-faith effort to negotiate mutual restraint in the sale of combat aircraft to Riyadh and other states in the region." Referring to the Stimson Center report, which cites the importance of getting the Chinese and other second tier suppliers on board the P-5 program, Feinstein says: "the other four exporters should not use Chinese recalcitrance as an excuse not to pursue arms sales restraint to the Middle East. With the important exception of ballistic missiles, Beijing is an increasingly minor supplier of arms to the region. According to a recent report, China's share of the world arms market shrunk from 11.5 percent in 1987 to just under 4 percent in 1989, for a total of just $1.1 billion in that year. And although capable of producing low-cost aircraft that might have some appeal to less well-off buyers, China lacks the capability to produce planes to substitute for anything near the capability of the F-15E, the Tornado or the MiG-29. By any standards, Beiging is a bit player in the arms trade, whose absence from the talks would be problematic but not fatal to restraint efforts. The backward regime in Beijing should not be setting the pace for progress in these arms control talks." As to the report's medium-term recommendation of a one-for-one replacement of CFE-limited weapons, Feinstein says this should be but a first step. "There is no reason why exports could not be cut to half their historic levels," given the gross over-abundance of such weapons in the region. Feinstein makes several recommendations beyond the Stimson report. He suggests that Congress compile and publish the unclassified FMS and direct commercial sales notifications it receives on a regular and timely basis. Congress should "insist on serious analysis by the government in the justifications that accompany the required arms sales notifications", rather than the pro forma statements they currently receive. He also recommends that the State Department's Center for Defense Trade (formerly Office of Munitions Control) be divested of either its arms promotion responsibilities, or its arms control/licensing responsibilities to avoid a conflict of interests. Pre-Invasion Policies toward Iraq: II 29 May---House Banking Chairman Gonzalez holds another hearing on the Iraqi/BNL scandal, this one on the interagency group established by the Bush White House to thwart Gonzalez's and other Congressional investigations into US policy toward Iraq prior to August 1990. Two panels testify: the first comprises Members of Congress involved in investigating US policy and a Division Director from the General Accounting Office. The Congressmen (Sam Gejendson, Doug Barnard and John Dingell) release a sheath of memos and letters concerning their various investigations into US government policies. LEGISLATION PASSED AND PENDING Russian Aid Contingent on Rocket Sale 13 May---The SFRC approves the administration's aid bill for the former Soviet Union by a 14-4 vote. By a unanimous vote, the Committee approved an amendment sponsored by Joseph Biden that would make any of the former republics ineligible for US aid if they transfer missile technology, material or equipment. The measure is aimed at Russia, which has announced it will sell a rocket engine to India for that country's geosynchronous space launch vehicle. The bill permits a Presidential waiver upon congressional notification that such assistance would "serve the objectives" of the legislation. The bill is expected to be voted on by the full Senate in late June. Conversion Bills In late May, a Senate Democratic Task Force, chaired by David Pryor, releases a $1.2 billion conversion plan for FY93. The plan calls for: increasing funding and technical assistance for stimulation of non-military exports; extending R&D tax credits for targeted technologies; requiring the Pentagon to set aside funds for the development of environmental clean-up technologies, energy efficiency technologies, transportation technologies and computer technologies; increasing the amount of funding that federal agencies must set aside for small business R&D; reorienting the national laboratories away from military endeavors toward civilian products. In a press release on the plan, Sen. Pryor criticizes President Bush for pledging $85 million in technical aid for the conversion of the Soviet arms industry, while seeking to close down the US government agencies that oversee conversion efforts here (the Economic Development Administration at the Department of Commerce and the Defense Department's Office of Economic Adjustment). The House version of the FY93 DOD authorization bill (H.R. 5006) contains $1 billion for defense industry conversion programs. Among other things, the measure would set aside $50 million for the promotion of "critical" dual-use technologies, $200 million in job training for former DOD/DOE civilian and military employees and $180 million to assist former troops and DOD/ DOE employees in obtaining teaching credentials and jobs. Berman Opposes Air-show Subsidies 11 May---Rep. Howard Berman introduces an amendment to the FY93 DOD authorization bill (H.R.5006) that reads: "No funds made available to the DOD may be used to provide support for expenses incurred by US arms contractors in exhibiting or promoting their products at military trade shows or conventions." The impetus for the amendment was a recent change in the Pentagon's long-standing policy of leasing aircraft to US arms manufacturers for air shows at full reimbursement. Beginning in March 1991, the DOD initiated a "lease-free" policy, under which 69 planes and helicopters, plus military personnel have been given to contractors for display and demonstration at six air shows. The cost to US taxpayers for participation at just two of the shows is estimated at $1.9 million. On 4 June Berman's amendment was passed by a voice vote, as part of the HASC Chairman's en bloc amendment to the bill. On 5 June the House passes the $270.5 billion authorization bill by a vote of 198-168. In the Senate, Joseph Biden has requested a GAO investigation of DOD subsidization of the US arms industry at air shows. The SASC is scheduled to begin marking up its DOD authorization bill on 20 July. MILITARY AID RESCINDED FROM FY92 FUNDS 4 June---An omnibus bill rescinding $56.1 million from FY92 military aid accounts is signed into law as PL 102-298. The bill cuts from military programs in Kenya, Peru and Zaire. RECENT CONGRESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS Agriculture's Export Credit Programs: Delays in Accessing Records Relating to Iraq (GAO/NSIAD-92-47) 29 May 92 [GAO testimony on BNL and Iraqi participation in Commodity Credit Corporation export credit programs], 7 pp. Arms Control: Improved Coordination of Arms Control Research Needed (GAO/NSIAD-92-149) April 1992, 68 pp. Fiscal Year 1993 Arms Control Impact Statements (Statements submitted to Congress by the President Pursuant to Section 36 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act) USGPO: May 1992. The Future of Arms Control: New Opportunities (report prepared by the CRS for the Arms Control Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) USGPO: April 1992, 172 pp. Nuclear Nonproliferation (hearing of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Energy and Commerce Committee, 24 April 91) USGPO: 1992 Operation Desert Shield/Storm: Update on Costs and Funding Requirements (GAO/NSIAD-92-194) 8 May 92 Operation Desert Shield/Storm: Foreign Government and Individual Contributions to the Department of Defense (GAO/ NSIAD-92-144) 11 May 92