This chapter explains who is doing what, when and why in the administration to push arms. It identifies points of leverage that activists can lever, and gives the timing of executive branch activities so that activists know when to activate. Contact information is provided for key decision-makers.
The US Constitution and historical practice dictate that the executive branch, which includes the office of the President and federal agencies such as the State and Defense Departments, takes the lead in formulating and executing foreign and military policy. This is not to say that Congress is without a role. Far from it, as chapter 4 explains, but the White House has overwhelming authority in setting policy in this realm, and possesses the resources to implement it.
Accordingly, decisions to sell or give weapons and other forms of military aid to foreign governments originate in the executive branch. Many efforts to promote US weapons abroad also originate there, including embassy support for overseas marketing efforts by US arms companies; high-level government advocacy for particular weapons sales; and Pentagon participation at international air shows and arms bazaars.
Several executive branch departments and agencies are involved. The key offices and decision makers are identified here, along with information about their role in the process and the timing of their actions. We have given special emphasis to those most likely to respond to citizen pressure, or to those offices likely to be allies in restraint. While persons occupying these positions change with new administrations, and even during an administration, the functions and addresses listed should endure.
The Buck Stops Here
The President of the United States is ultimately responsible for US arms export policy, although in practice, of course, he delegates much of this authority to several different government officials. In recent years, President Clinton has made phone calls or otherwise lobbied foreign heads of state to buy American when shopping for arms. Such high- level advocacy has been urged by US arms contractors, who claim that European government leaders are actively promoting sales for their companies.
The personal attitude of the Chief Executive toward weapons trafficking sets the tone for US arms export policy. President Carter, for instance, entered the office with a determination to rein in the lethal commerce. (Unfortunately, his good intentions were soon quashed.) President Reagan moved in with a strong belief in the utility of arms transfers-especially covert arms supply-to roll back Soviet influence. (Unfortunately, his bad intentions were not soon enough quashed.) President Clinton brought to the White House strong pro-trade convictions, and a penchant for corporate political fund-raising, that have shaped his administrations policies on arms exporting.
Presidential predispositions aside, calls and letters to the President can be effective in influencing his policy. At the risk of stating the obvious, the White House is an intensely political place; it responds to political pressure, exemplified by mass or influential mail and phone calls on an issue.
Every letter counts, but individual letters usually receive a standard, pat answer from a low level White House staffer. Massive quantities of letters-through a letter-writing campaign-or letters from prestigious or well-known people (like a local bishop, the CEO of a large company, your representative, senator, mayor or governor, or a significant campaign contributor) are the most effective, as they may actually reach the President. In the same vein, while electronic mail and form letters are easier to write and send, a personalized, hand-written letter will garner more attention.
Despite the long-shot odds that your letter will actually cross the Presidents desk, communicating your concerns and wishes to the President allows you to bypass many layers of bureaucracy that might be hostile to your message. Letters or letter-writing campaigns to the Vice President or the First Lady can also prove effective in influencing the President, since they presumably have his ear. And any letter that you write-to the President, Vice President, First Lady, Secretary of State, etc.-could easily be modified and sent to your Congressperson, or published as a letter to the editor of your local paper, so that you get as much mileage out of your effort as possible.
Write to the President any time, but especially when you know (from the newspaper or other sources) that a particular issue has been bumped up to him/her for resolution. For example, during the internal debate in 1997 over whether to support the Ottawa treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, the issue became so highly politicized that only President Clinton could decide US policy. (Unfortunately, he has not yet made the right decision, so you can still write to him about mines!)
The Super Secret NSC
The National Security Council (NSC) staff is part of the Executive Office of the President. Its role is to weigh the often competing interests of the NSC members (the Secretaries of State and Defense, Director of Central Intelligence, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a few others) and arrive at recommendations to the President for US policy. The NSC staff has no institutional position on arms trade or other issues-although individuals, of course, bring their own biases and opinions to their work. Generally speaking, NSC staff members coordinate interagency working groups which assess the various options for issues that overlap the authority of these multiple agencies. On occasion, however, the staff has been more activist. Remember, for example, that Oliver North and company ran the Iran-Contra covert arms supply operation out of the National Security Council.
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, currently Samuel "Sandy" Berger, directs the NSC staff of some 155 people. The influence of the National Security Adviser varies from President to President. Henry Kissinger, for example, overshadowed all other foreign policymakers-including the Secretaries of State and Defense-in the Nixon administration when he served as the National Security Advisor. While Sandy Berger reportedly has an excellent relationship with President Clinton, and his advice on foreign policy matters and arms control initiatives is highly regarded, he does not have Kissinger's clout. Instead, Berger, like most of predecessors, has a level of influence roughly equal to that of the Secretaries of Defense and State.
The NSC director and staff are generally pretty insulated from the public, although not from public opinion. Strong expressions of public attitude coupled with elite media coverage of an issue can sway the staffs views. This influence may in turn trickle up to the White House in the form of an edited policy recommendation.
When a new administration enters office, it usually reviews existing policy in dozens of areas of special interest, in order to consider continuity with or change from the previous administration's policy. During 1993-94, the NSC coordinated a review of US arms transfer policy in a working document called Presidential Review Document-41. There were several contentious issues, including whether the policy would include even a mild rhetorical statement in support of restraint in the global arms trade, a new arms export financing program and limits on increased internationalization of weapons production. Facing an impasse, the NSC staff had to bump these issues up to the President for resolution. In February 1995, President Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive-34, establishing a new conventional arms sales policy, which looked very much like the Reagan/Bush administration status quo.
Currently, two staff positions are most relevant to arms export policy. First is the Def-ense Policy and Arms Control Office, which is at the center of White House decision-making on conventional and nuclear arms control, as well as US military spending, programs and policies. Robert Bell, the present director of this office, has played a central role in formulating the US position on anti-personnel landmines. A second relevant office is that of Nonproliferation and Export Controls, overseen currently by Gary Samore. This office advises and assists the President and the National Security Advisor on export controls and conventional arms transfer policy.
The Role of Foggy Bottom
The State Department (located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington) is pivotal in setting arms export policy. The President has delegated the authority to conduct and regulate arms exports, military education and training and military assistance to the Secretary of State.
The over-riding imperative of the State Department is to maintain good relations with foreign governments. Unfortunately, in so doing, the diplomats have generally supported arms sales as the one-size-fits-all fix for almost any foreign policy situation. Need to maintain "influence" with a country? Send weapons. Need to reward allies for participating in Operation Desert Storm, peacekeeping in Haiti or enforcing the no-fly zone over Iraq? Send weapons. Need to gain access to a port or airfield overseas? Send weapons. Need to seal a peace agreement? Send weapons (and write off past military debt, as well!).
And with Pentagon sales reps in embassies in nearly every country, Foggy Bottom is well-placed to promote arms transfers around the world. In one of his first actions as Secretary of State, Warren Christopher sent a memo to US embassies in 1993 which outlined the role of embassy personnel in facilitating weapons exports. Under the title Advancing US Business and Economic Interests, the Christopher cable directed that embassy officials do everything possible to support US firms seeking overseas business. This guidance was not limited to simply promoting American wheat or computers, but also extended to the promotion of industry-direct and government-negotiated arms sales.
Not all of the State Department marches in lock step in promoting arms as diplomatic currency. The Departments Democracy and Human Rights Bureau should be an ally for restraint. This office is responsible for producing the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which reviews each country's record over the preceding year. The reports are published in February or March and are available on-line, or from the Government Printing Office bookstores (see p.110). Stacks of supportive letters from citizens could strengthen the bureau directors hand in internal debates about whether to permit arms sales to repressive governments.
The Office of the Inspector General, while not a likely target for grassroots activism, is also a potential ally. This office often produces publicly available reports detailing fraud or ineptitude in the conduct of US foreign military aid programs.
In late 1998 or early 1999, under pressure from Congress, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) will be folded into the State Department. ACDA is/was a semi-independent agency created by Congress in 1961 to develop and promote arms control policy and verification methods to ensure compliance with arms control measures. The agency's concerns have included conventional, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and it has managed US participation in negotiations on non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament treaties. ACDA has also monitored arms transfers worldwide, publishing this data annually in World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers (see p. 108). Publication of this report is expected to continue after the ACDA/State Department merger.
ACDA has often been a lonely voice within the Clinton administration arguing for arms export restraint, albeit a relatively faint voice compared to that of the Commerce, Defense and State Departments. Its director's various responsibilities have recently been merged with those of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs into an expanded position, meaning that no high-ranking administration official now has the sole or even primary mission of advocating arms limitations. With this change, the previously anemic voice of restraint within the State Department has been further muffled. In general, most of the State Department apparatus actively supports relatively unrestricted arms trading to current US friends and allies, no matter their record on human rights, aggression or democracy.
"The trading of arms is disgusting and contributes to horrors around the world. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, its a bazaar out there."
-Madeleine Albright, as quoted in NY Times Magazine, 22 September 1996
Lets start at the top. Although the current Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, is not involved in day-to-day decision- making on arms transfers, letters expressing general concern about US arms export policy, as well as those about specific sales decisions, should be addressed to her. The Secretary can override the policies of any of the Departments other decision-makers and, of course, has influence with, and access to, the President. The Secretary of State hears frequently from arms industry officials and foreign government lobbyists in support of military sales. She needs to hear frequently from citizens concerned about US arms export policies, as well. There are several reasons to believe that Secretary Albright might be sympathetic. First, she has made a point of seeking broad public support for US foreign policy. Second, Secretary Albright (like her predecessors) has stated repeatedly that democracy, human rights and non-aggression are cornerstones of US policy. And third, before assuming her current position, then US Ambassador to the United Nations Albright spoke strongly against the arms trade.
The Policy Planning office at the State Department serves as the Secretary's in-house think tank. In theory, this office is free from the day-to-day pressures that plague the functional bureaus, allowing it to think creatively and strategically about US foreign and security policy interests. The Director of the Policy Planning staff, currently Gregory Craig, has the Secretarys ear. Specific campaigns targeting the Director of this office, while unusual, could prove effective.
If you consider the potential of arms to inflict damage, you are obviously drawn to weapons of mass destruction, which can wipe out whole cities at a time. But if you consider their actual impact, youre drawn to conventional weapons, which routinely are wiping out whole cities, a few people at a time.
-John Holum, testimony before Congress, 5 March 1997
Directly below the Secretary of State is the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. This position has central responsibility for US arms export and military aid policy within the State Department and is also responsible for negotiating international agreements to restrict arms proliferation. Letter campaigns or individual letters to the Under Secretary would be useful, especially to influence particular policy decisions in the works (e.g., US arms sales to Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey or Latin America). As of this writing, Congress and the President are still trying to determine the best way to reorganize the State Department, but in 1998 the responsibilities of the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) were combined with those of the Under Secretary. The current Director of ACDA, John Holum, holds this expanded portfolio, with the job title Under Secretary/Senior Advisor to the President and Secretary of State.
One rung below the Under Secretary is the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM), which serves as the principal liaison between the State and Defense Departments on military assistance issues. Personnel in PM advise the Secretary and other State Department officials on arms control, regional security arrangements, military aid programs and weapons proliferation. PM is also responsible for licensing and regulating exports of military equipment and services negotiated directly by US weapons firms. The bureau is headed by the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, currently Eric Newsom.
The ACDA/State Department merger will affect PMs portfolio of responsibilities and perhaps its structure, since PM and ACDA work on similar issues. Currently, though, four deputies within PM report to the Assistant Secretary.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Arms Control is responsible for policy direction and implementation, which makes him/her an ideal target for advocacy. Eric Newsom previously held this position, where he played a central role in US policy on landmines and arms exports to Latin America. With his promotion, this job is vacant as we go to press. Simply address letters to DAS for Arms Control, or phone the State Department public affairs office (202/647-6575), or check the State Department web site (www.state.gov) for personnel updates.
The DAS for Export Controls, currently John Barker, is responsible for regulating exports of military equipment and dual-use items-technology with military and civilian applications, like satellites, encryption equipment and aircraft engines. Mr. Barker represents the US government at plenary meetings of the Wassenaar Arrangement-a forum in the Netherlands that seeks to increase transparency around arms exports by the 33 participant states. Under this DAS is the Office of Defense Trade Controls (DTC), currently directed by William B. Lowell. This office licenses the export and tempo-rary import (for repair or upgrade) of weapons and related services. DTC also decides on whether foreign governments may retransfer US- supplied arms to third destinations, enforces compliance with US arms export laws and regulations, and notifies Congress of proposed US arms export licenses. Also under this DAS is the Office of Export Control and Nonproliferation, headed by Greg Suchan.
The DAS for Non-Proliferation, currently Robert J. Einhorn, works on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons control (which is not the focus of this book).
The DAS for Regional Affairs and Security Assistance, currently Robert B. Croft, deals primarily with peacekeeping operations and military aid programs. Under this DAS, the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers is very involved in decision-making about military aid levels and arms export policy decisions. Pamela Frazier currently directs the office.
In the late autumn, the State Department, together with the Defense Department, prepares the military aid budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. This is a good time to write in opposition to the gift of your money to repressive foreign troops.
The Pentagon: Your One-Stop-Shop
While the President has delegated statutory authority for the conduct of US arms trade and aid to the Secretary of State, in practice, the Secretary of State has delegated considerable responsibility to the Department of Defense and its Secretary. The reason for this is that the Pentagon has jurisdiction over weapons production, negotiation of government-to-government arms sales and the actual provision of military assistance and training.
Most of the Defense Department has an institutional stake in facilitating arms transfers, and there are thousands of Pentagon bureaucrats and military service officers involved in pushing arms and providing military training. There are several reasons for this hand and glove relationship. First, the basic attitude in the Pentagon is that what's good for Lockheed Martin is good for the Department of Defense. The US armed forces work closely with the weaponeers in the development and procurement of new weapons systems. Thus, the Pentagon wants to maintain a healthy and happy defense industrial base-the network of prime contractors, subcontractors and suppliers that build American weapons systems. The Clinton administration's 1995 conventional arms trade policy (see p. 37) stated-for the first time-that decisions about whether to permit a weapons export would explicitly consider whether the denial of the sale would have a negative impact on the arms manufacturer.
The procurement people at the Pentagon have a vested interest in selling newly- designed weapons, in order to lower the per unit cost for US armed forces. Taxpayers are now faced with the burden of spending some $70 billion to develop the F-22 "Stealth" fighter jet. This plane was originally intended to fight the Soviet air force, and is now justified on the basis of the large number of advanced fighter jets which have been sold to developing countries. Already, Lockheed Martin (the manufacturer of the F-22) and the US Air Force are working out overseas marketing plans for this plane.
Future job security is also at stake. As chapter 5 discusses, many Pentagon policymakers later go on to take lucrative jobs with weapons manufactures or arms trade associations. The Defense Department bureaucrat who advocates for fighter aircraft exports today understands that the manufacturer will be hiring government relations specialists in the future. What better way to make a good impression on your potential future employer than by securing a multi-billion dollar sale?
In addition, current Pentagon strategy requires that US troops be prepared to intervene in two major regional contingencies at the same time, anywhere around the world, on short notice. In order to facilitate the global presence required to do so, the Pentagon uses arms sales and give-aways to gain access to overseas ports and airfields. Coalition warfare is also a principal Pentagon strategy, and interoperability-commonality of weaponry-is said to aid this type of fighting.
All of this has led the Pentagon to promote arms sales aggressively. In fact, according to the Department of Defense, helping US arms manufacturers ply their wares at overseas arms bazaars is a matter of national security (although enhancing defense equipment sales opportunities is a clear side benefit, according to a Pentagon memo).
In 1997, the Defense Department spent your money to market weapons at arms shows in Singapore, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and France among other places.
The US weapons industry once had to lease military equipment for air shows, plus pay transportation, insurance, and personnel costs. In 1991, the Pentagon initiated a new policy, which included unprecedented marketing and public relations assistance at these events. Defense Department officials argued that increased participation promoted national security, foreign policy and community relations goals. Ironically, this geared-up sales support came at the same time the Bush administration was working with other United Nations Security Council members (China, Russia, England, and France) to limit the transfer of advanced armaments around the world, particularly to the Middle East.
Reported costs for participation at these shows are kept artificially low by flying training missions to arms bazaars and air shows around the world. For example, at the 1991 Paris Airshow, the first time the new policy was fully unveiled, the Pentagon paid for 20 aircraft, complete with pilots and crews, to travel to the City of Lights. Flight displays during the show were also fit into training schedules, thus allowing the presence not only of the aircraft and weapons systems, but also the uniformed American personnel who operate them. Who better to describe the attributes of a Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon than its pilot? Sure beats a pin-striped corporate executive on leave from his desk at Lockheed's Marietta, Georgia offices. Never explained, though, is how flying into Le Bourget airport or performing a fly-by bears any resemblance to combat training.
The Pentagon 1996-97 World Marketing Tour
Coming soon to a country near you!
Asian Aerospace 96
6-11 February 1996 FIDAE 96 Air Show and Trade Exhibit Santiago, Chile 10-17 March 1996 Indonesian Air Show 96 Jakarta 22-30 June 1996 Eurosatory International Land Defense Equipment Exhibition Paris 24-29 June 1996 Farnborough 96 London 2-8 September 1996 96 Euronaval International Maritime Defense Equipment Exhibit Paris 21-25 October 1996 Aero India 96 International Aerospace Exhibition Bangalore 3-6 December 1996 Asia 97 International Trade Exhibition, Singapore 15-17 January 1997 Airshow Downunder 97 Melbourne, Australia 18-23 February 1997 International Defense Exhibition 97 United Arab Emirates 16-20 March 1997 Paris Air Show Paris 15-22 June 1997 Air Show Canada Vancouver 6-10 August 1997 International Maritime Defense Exhibition London 7-10 October 1997 Argentine Air Show Mantenar 97 Cordoba 13-19 October 1997 1997 Defense Asia Trade Show Bangkok 16-18 October 1997 Dubai Air Show 97 United Arab Emirates 16-20 November 1997 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition Malaysia 2-7 December 1997 Venezuelan Air Show/Aero expo 97 Marcay 3-7 December 1997
As you might expect in the world's largest bureaucracy, there are some divergent points of view. For example, the Inspector General's office seeks to root out waste, fraud and abuse in Defense Department programs, including military aid programs. While the IG's office is not a ripe target for an activist letter-writing campaign, you could suggest that your member of Congress request or mandate that the Pentagon IG look into a particular program. In recent years, the inspector's office has published several reports highlighting costly or wasteful programs. These reports (available on-line at www.dodig.osd.mil) serve as media hooks for op-eds or letters to the editor, and they sometimes even result in policy reforms being undertaken.
In some pockets of the Pentagon, people even view the proliferation of American and other countries' arms as a danger (or a potential danger). The respective heads of regional forces-known as the Commanders in Chief (or CINCs)-sometimes speak out against the increasing availability of high-tech arms on the market. The reason for this is simple; they see first hand, and must deal with, the threats created by the proliferation of conventional weapons in their regional command. Publicizing such statements, usually made in testimony before Congress, can be very effective. Cultivating former high-ranking military personnel in support of arms restraint is even more useful. A number of retired generals who were CINCs spoke out persuasively in support of an international ban on anti-personnel landmines, providing political cover for President Clinton to endorse US participation in the global mine ban treaty. (Unfortunately, he still has not faced down Pentagon opposition to the treaty.)
Some enlisted or lower level officers are also critical of widespread conventional weapons build-ups, and servicepeople who have faced or will be called on in the future to face US-armed adversaries are very potent allies. Politicians and arms contractors squirm when confronted by military personnel-or former service people-who say that US arms sales directly threaten US troops. Educate and cultivate veterans in your community to speak out against the arms trade boomerang!
The Defense Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence, both of which are tasked with understanding the military capabilities of potential US adversaries, have frequently cited the general threat to US forces posed by the spread of sophisticated conventional arms. These offices are not consulted when US weapons sales are being decided, and grassroots efforts to activate these intelligence offices are unlikely to succeed. What activists can do, though, is publicize the reports and statements that these offices issue. The media might pay some attention to a report by independent policy analysts or the peace lobby on the threat posed to US troops by the arms trade, but militarists at the Pentagon and diplomats at Foggy Bottom will easily ignore it. A critical intelligence report published in-house, however, will reverberate throughout the buildings, particulary if the press picks it up.
The Sales Chain of Command
William S. Cohen, who had a long career representing Maine in the US Senate, currently serves as the Secretary of Defense. As with his State Department counterpart, Secretary Cohen is not personally involved in the day-to-day workings of the arms sales process, although he has advocated US weapons sales all over the world and has engaged in some arm-twisting of foreign civilian leaders and military representatives during diplomatic visits. Secretary Cohen and his predecessors have also dropped by overseas arms bazaars to tout the virtues of American-made weapons. Letter writing campaigns or other grassroots efforts should target the Secretary. Mail and messages opposing liberal weapons export policies provide balance to perspectives and lobbying from weapons transfer proponents within the Pentagon, as well as by arms manufactures.
We are not trying to sell expensive, sophisticated equipment to countries who cannot afford it. That is not in our interest...
William Cohen, press briefing en route to Argentina, 22 May 1998
The Deputy Secretary of Defense, currently John Hamre, serves directly below the Secretary. While the Secretary receives most of the press coverage, meets with foreign dignitaries and testifies before Congress, the Deputy Secretary has his hand on the pulse of decision-making at the Pentagon on a day-to-day basis. This office oversees three Under Secretaries who are even more involved in the intricacies of policy formation and decisions-one for Acquisition and Technology, one for Personnel and Readiness and one for Policy. The latter position is of greatest relevance here, as it contains the Pentagon's political-military and security assistance components. This position is responsible for implementing and ensuring compliance with arms control initiatives, managing military relations with foreign governments and coordinating military assistance plans. Walter Slocombe now serves as the Under Secretary for Defense Policy. Reporting to him is Jan Lodal, a key decision maker on arms export policy.
Below this level, there are three distinct offices that have direct involvement in weapons transfer and military assistance policies: International Security Affairs, the Defense Security Assistance Agency and the Defense Technology Security Administration. Frank Kramer is the current Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs (ISA). Best described as a State Department within the Pentagon, ISA manages political-military relations, supervises security assistance programs with other states (excluding the former Soviet Union) and handles military-to-military contacts.
ISA also contains the Pentagons arms sales office, the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), which interprets executive branch policy and federal legislation on arms sales into Pentagon regulations. The DSAA also administers government-to-government arms sales through the Foreign Military Sales program, controls transfers of excess defense articles, oversees US participation in arms bazaars and develops other military assistance programs. The DSAA publishes annual reports detailing foreign military sales, overseas military base construction, training of foreign troops, etc. (see p. 106). For arms control activists, this office is critical for information gathering, but is not a particularly ripe target for letter-writing and other activism. Since its whole raison d'etre is to sell arms, DSAA staff are not likely to be swayed by opposing viewpoints. When the weapons industry needs help from the Defense Department with legislation or an executive policy, this is the office it contacts. In short, the DSAA acts as an advocate within the Pentagon for arms exports and further promotion of military assistance and training programs. Lt. General Michael Davison is the Director of the DSAA.
On the other hand, the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) develops and implements the Pentagons policies on transfers of high-end military equipment, services and technologies to ensure that they are consistent with US national security interests. This office determines when/if particular high-tech US weapon systems can be cleared for export to a particular country or region. DTSA works with the Department of State's Office of Defense Trade Controls on licence applications for arms exports and with the Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration for the export of dual-use goods and technology. Dave Tarbell is the current Director of DTSA.
The Commerce Department's Business Is Business
The Commerce Department is not as centrally involved in the formulation or implementation of weapons sales policy as are the State and Defense Departments, but it does have influence on the process. And the role it plays varies, depending on the proclivities of the Secretary. Former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was extraordinarily active in promoting weapons sales, personally advocating for major deals and appearing at the opening of air shows. He also directed the department to open an Office of Strategic Industries and Economic Security, which works in support of weapons trade. This office has produced several guides to help US firms enter or gain greater arms market shares in Latin America, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East and Europe.
Secretary Brown and his Bush administration predecessor worked to get Pentagon personnel involved at overseas air shows and arms bazaars. And before that, since 1985, Commerce Department has managed the "USA National Pavilion" at the biennial Paris Air Show-the grandest of them all. The current Secretary of Commerce, William Daley, has not been as publicly active in supporting the weapons trade as have his forerunners.
While the Commerce Department does not oversee exports of munitions, it is responsible for controlling (through export licenses) shipments of dual-use articles-like computers, encryption software and police equipment. The Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) determines whether or not to approve a license, taking into account national security, foreign policy and alternate supply factors. In addition, the office develops export control policies and oversees enforcement of export regulations. The Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, Bill Reinsch, is currently the head of BXA. He has been a strong voice on control matters, particularly enforcement of BXA's regulations.
However, BXA has the twin-and at times contradictory-mandates of enhancing national security and economic prosperity. A large sale which fosters economic growth may be damaging to national security, given the destination and type of equipment. Conversely, an arms sale which is said to benefit US national security may in fact damage the American economy due to high volume offsets attached to it (see p. 22). The BXA Office of Strategic Industries has been an honest broker in exposing the cost of offsets included in weapons export contracts to other US industries. The office publishes an annual report, Offsets in Defense Trade, which includes information on the amount of new offset agreements undertaken by American arms corporations, and the transactions completed to fulfill them.