The Forum on the Arms Trade is a network of civil society experts and a point of contact for strengthening public efforts to address the humanitarian, economic and other implications of arms transfers, security assistance, and weapons use. Managed from Washington DC, the Forum provides a venue for bringing its community's wide-ranging expertise together to amplify and strengthen its work, while also offering government and media members a one-stop resource for the latest information, analysis, and best contacts. Forum-listed experts are located around the world and work on diverse topics including human rights, development, arms control, humanitarian disarmament, cybersecurity, arms and the environment, anti-corruption, and related fields.
New FMS notifications: July 30 - Philippines $126 million for boats and armaments July 28 - Kuwait $59.6 million for training ammunition July 27 - Netherlands $39 million for medium range air-to-air missiles July 23 - Chile $634.70 million for F-16 modernization July 10 - South Korea $250 million for support to Peace Krypton reconnaissance aircraft July 9 - Japan $23.11 billion for 105 F-35 fighter aircraft; Taiwan $620 million for Patriot missile recertification; Germany $130 million for 64 MK 54 lightweight torpedoes; Belgium $33.3 million for 29 MK 54 lightweight torpedoes July 7 - Jordan $23 million for one Black Hawk helicopter July 6 - Israel $3 billion for fuel; Indonesia $2 billion for 8 Osprey aircraft; France $2 billion for 3 Hawkeye aircraft; Lithuania $380 million for 6 Black Hawk helicopters; Argentina $100 million for 27 Stryker infantry carriers June 17 - Ukraine $600 million 16 Mark VI patrol boats June 15 - Canada $862.3 million 50 Sidewinder missiles and other items for F/A-18A aircraft see resource
Resource Page - Int'l Trade of Firearms & Ammunition: Move to Commerce Control
On January 17, the Federal Register put online final rules (Commerce, State), that were officially published on Jan. 23. Numerous states attorneys generals filed a case to block the rules.
On March 4, more than 20 organizations sent a letter to Congress opposing the policy. On March 6, a temporary injunction was issued barring the transfer of 3D printing plan regulation to Commerce (but not impacting the remainder of the rules). The broader rules have now come into effect (March 9).
In July, Rep. Norma Torres introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act requiring Congressional notification be retained on firearms moved over to Commerce and 45 organizations sent a letter to Congress supporting efforts to do so. The amendment was not ruled in order.
See resource page for reactions and developments.
On February 4, 2019, Congress was notified of final rules to transfer of some items on US Munitions List (USML) categories I-III to the Commerce Control List (CCL), starting a 30-day review period. Legislation to block the change has now been introduced in both the Senate and the House and a hold placed delaying its implementation. A hearing on this topic is was held Tuesday, March 26, in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. On May 14, more than 100 organizations sent a letter to Congress opposing the changes.
On July 11, the House added an amendment (#10) to the NDAA, which would block these changes, by a vote of 225 to 205. On July 12, the House passed the full NDAA by a vote of 220 to 197, but the NDAA has since remained stalled in conference. The Senate version did not contain this provision. On October 24, 44 organizations delivered a letter calling for retention of this amendment in the NDAA, along with many others.
November 12, Congressional staff were briefed on Trump administration plans to move these rules forward.
The December 9 conference (and ultimately final) version of the National Defense Authorization Act did not retain the amendment that would prohibit changes to firearms export rules (see conference report). But on December 10, Senator Menendez again requested a hold be placed (see letter).
The proposed rule was published on May 24 and closed for public comment on July 9, 2018.
See resource for concerns expressed and more information.
Highlighting publications in which Forum-listed experts were involved. Inclusion on the Forum on the Arms Trade expert list does not indicate agreement with or endorsement of the opinions of others.
Bonnie Docherty, "Convention on Cluster Munitions Celebrates 10th Anniversary: A Living Legacy," Disarmament Dialogue blog, July 31, 2020.
Mary Wareham, "Treaty Banning Cluster Munitions Turns 10, but Without the US," Just Security, July 31, 2020.
Amy Nelson+, "Inevitable Bedfellows? Cooperation on Military Technology for the Development of UAVs and Cruise Missiles in the Asia-Pacific," International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), July 28, 2020.
N.R. Jenzen-Jones+, "Black & Grey: The Illicit Online Trade of Small Arms in Venezuela," Armament Research Services (ARES), July 27, 2020
Wim Zwijnenburg, "Yemen’s Disappearing Date Palms: Applied Environmental OSINT," Bellingcat, July 24, 2020.
Matthew Breay Bolton, "Political Minefields: The Struggle against Automated Killing," I.B. Taurus, July 23, 2020.
Anna Stavrianakis, "'Isolated incidents': The legal absurdity of UK arms sales for Saudi war in Yemen," Middle East Eye, July 23, 2020.
Elias Yousif, "Beyond Performance: Lessons Learned from U.S. Security Assistance to Tunisia,"Security Assistance Monitor, July 22, 2020.
Adam Isacson, "In Latin America, COVID-19 Risks Permanently Disturbing Civil-Military Relations," Washington Office on Latin America, July 20, 2020.
View the full list of recent and past publications featuring Forum on the Arms Trade-listed experts.
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U.S. Landmine Policy
Changes to U.S. landmine policy to allow for greater use of the weapons were announced by the White House on Jan 31. UPDATE (May 6) - More than 100 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Esper expressing disappointment in new U.S. landmine policy and seeking answers to questions on the justification for the reversal and future plans. (See here for expert commentary.) Reaction and information available - resource page.
U.S. Presidential Election 2020 - Candidate Positions
Quotes and other resources identifying positions of candidates for U.S. President on four key arms trade issues: Arms Trade Treaty; arms to Saudi-led coalition; firearms export oversight, and the Mine Ban Treaty. Will be expanded and updated regularly. See resource.
2020 Annual Conference -
Missed the conference? Check out the video.
"Arms Trade FAQ" videos
See transcripts and more details here.
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