Journalism in the Public Interest

In Big Win for Defense Industry, Obama Rolls Back Limits on Arms Exports

Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others. 

Black Hawk helicopters are among the items that may now be subject to fewer export restrictions (Image: Flickr)

The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.

Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.

Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.  

Brake pads may sound innocuous, but “the Iranians are constantly looking for spare parts for old U.S. jets,” said Steven Pelak, who recently left the Department of Justice after six years overseeing investigations and prosecutions of export violations.

“It’s going to be easier for these military items to flow, harder to get a heads-up on their movements, and, in theory, easier for a smuggling ring to move weapons,” said William Hartung, author of a recent report on the topic for the Center for International Policy.

In the current system, every manufacturer and exporter of military equipment has to register with the State Department and get a license for each planned export. U.S. officials scrutinize each proposed deal to make sure the receiving country isn’t violating human rights and to determine the risk of the shipment winding up with terrorists or another questionable group.

Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more “flexible” controls. Final rules have been issued for six of 19 categories of equipment and more will roll out in the coming months. Some military equipment, such as fighter jets, drones, and other systems and parts, will stay under the State Department’s tighter oversight.

Commerce will do interagency human rights reviews before allowing exports, but only as a matter of policy, whereas in the State Department it is required by law.

The switch from State to Commerce represents a big win for defense manufacturers, who have long lobbied in favor of relaxing U.S. export rules, which they say put a damper on international trade. Among the companies that recently lobbied on the issue: Lockheed, which manufactures C-130 transport planes, Textron, which makes Kiowa Warrior helicopters, and Honeywell, which outfits military choppers.

Overall, industry trade groups and big defense companies have spent roughly $170 million over the last three years lobbying on a variety of issues, including export control reform, a ProPublica analysis of disclosure forms shows.

The administration says in a factsheet that “spending time and resources protecting a specialty bolt diverts resources from protecting truly sensitive items,” and that the effort will allow them to build “higher fences around fewer items.” Commerce says it will beef up its enforcement wing to prevent illegal re-exports or shipments to banned entities. The military has also supported the relaxed controls, arguing that the changes will make it easier to arm foreign allies.

An interview with Commerce Department officials was canceled due to the government shutdown, and the State Department did not respond to questions.

The shift is part of a larger administration initiative to update the arms export process, which many acknowledge needed to be streamlined. But critics of the move to Commerce say that decision has been overly driven by the interests of defense manufacturers.

“They’ve cut through the fat, into the meat, and to the bone,” said Brittany Benowitz, who was defense adviser to former Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and recently co-authored a paper on the pending changes.

“I think it’s fair to say that the views of the enforcement agencies and actors charged with carrying out the controls haven’t won the day,” said Pelak, the former Justice Department official.

Current controls haven’t prevented the U.S. from dominating arms exports up to now: In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements, nearly 80 percent of the global market. The State Department denied just one percent of arms export licenses between 2008 and 2010.

At a recent hearing, a State Department official touted the economic benefits, saying the “defense industry is going to become even more competitive than they are already.”

Under the new policy, military helicopters, transport planes and other types of military equipment that typically need approval may be eligible for license-free export to 36 allied governments, including much of Europe, Argentina, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

According to Colby Goodman, an arms-control expert with the Open Society Policy Center, once an item is approved for that exemption, it’s not clear that there will be any ongoing, country-specific human rights review. (The State Department hasn’t yet responded to our request for comment on that point.)

Goodman is particularly concerned about Turkey, where in the last year authorities violently suppressed protests and “security forces committed unlawful killings,” according to the most recent State Department Human Rights report.

Under the new system, some military parts can now be sent license-free to any country besides China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. Other parts that are deemed not “specially designed” for military use, while also initially banned from those countries, have even fewer restrictions on re-exports.

Spare parts are in high demand from sanctioned countries and groups, which need them to keep old equipment up and running, according to arms control researchers. Indonesia scrambled to keep its C-130s in the air after the U.S. blocked exports for human rights violations in the 1990s. In a report on trade in arms parts, Oxfam noted that by the time of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, Muammar Qaddafi’s air combat fleet was in dire shape, referred to by one analyst as “the world’s largest military parking lot.” Goodman said Congolese militia members may be using aging arms that the U.S. sold decades ago to the former Zaire.

Pelak says the changes will make enforcement harder by getting rid of part of the paper trail as parts and munitions exit the U.S.: “When you take away that licensing record, you put the investigation overseas.” His office handled dozens of cases each year in which military items had been diverted to prohibited countries. The Government Accountability Office raised concerns last year about Commerce’s enforcement abilities as it takes control of exports that once went through the State Department.

The president is authorized – in fact, required – to revise the list of items under State Department control. But the massive shift to Commerce means that laws and regulations that were designed with the longstanding State Department system in place may now be up to presidential prerogative.

Vetting for human rights compliance is one such requirement. The Commerce Department said it will also continue to publicly report the sales of so-called “major defense equipment.”

Other laws may not get carried over, however. For example, if firearms are moved to Commerce, manufacturers may no longer have to notify Congress of foreign sales.

Several organizations, including the Center for International Policy, the Open Society Policy Center, and the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, have called on the administration to hold off moving some military items from the State Department, and have asked Congress to apply State’s reporting requirements and restrictions to more of the military items and parts soon to be under Commerce control.

In one area, the administration does appear to have temporarily backed off – firearms and ammunition. Any decision to loosen exports for firearms could have conflicted with the president’s call for enhanced domestic gun control.

According to a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal last spring, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security both opposed draft versions of revisions to the firearms category. (The Justice Department press office is out of operation due to the government shutdown, and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.) Shifting firearms was also likely to be a lightning rod for arms control groups. As the New York Times’ C.J. Chivers has documented, small arms trafficking has been the scourge of conflicts around the world.

Draft rules for firearms and ammunitions were ready in mid-2012, according to Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun manufacturers. The Commerce Department even sent representatives to an industry export conference to preview manufacturers on the new system they might fall under.

But since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December, no proposed rule has been published.

Keane thinks the connection is irrelevant. “This has nothing to do with domestic gun control legislation. We’re talking about exports,” he said. “Our products have not moved forward, and we’re disappointed by that.”

The defense industry has long pushed for a loosening of the U.S. export controls. Initial wish-lists were aimed at restructuring and speeding up the State Department system, where the wait for a license had sometimes stretched to months. The current focus on moving items to Commerce began under the Obama administration.

The aerospace industry has been particularly active, as new rules for aircraft are the first to take effect. Commercial satellites had been moved briefly to Commerce in the 1990s, but when U.S. space companies were caught giving technical data to China in 1998, Congress returned them to State control. Last year, satellite makers successfully lobbied Congress to lift satellite-specific rules that had kept them from being eligible for the reforms.

Newer industries want to cash in, too. Virgin Galactic wrote in a comment on a proposed rule that the “nascent but growing” space tourism industry was hindered by current rules. At a conference in 2011, the chief executive of Northrup Grumman warned of “the U.S. drone aircraft industry losing its dominance” if exports weren’t boosted. (Drones are regulated under missile technology controls, and are mostly unaffected by the current changes.)

Lauren Airey, of the National Association of Manufacturers, named two main objections to the current system. First off, fees: Any company that makes a product on the State Department list has to be registered whether or not they actually export, with yearly costs starting at $2,500. There’s no fee for the Commerce list.

Secondly, any equipment that contains a listed part gets “lifetime controls,” Airey said. If a buyer wants to resell something, even for scrap, they need U.S. approval. (For example, the U.S. is currently debating whether to let Turkey re-sell American attack helicopters to Pakistan.) Under Commerce, “there are still limitations, but they are more flexible,” Airey said.

Airey’s association (and other trade groups) makes the case that foreign competitors are “taking advantage of perceived and real issues in U.S. export controls to promote foreign parts and components – advertising themselves as State-Department-free.” Airey demurred when asked for an estimate on the amount of business lost: “It’s hard to put a number directly on how much export controls cause U.S. companies to be avoided.”

An Aerospace Industries Association executive noted at a panel this spring, “We really did not move the needle at all by complaining about the fact that we weren't making as much money as we wanted to.”

But at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, members of Congress highlighted economic impact.

“In my district in Rhode Island,” said David Cicilline, D-R.I., “as many of our defense companies are looking to expand their business, really, to respond to declines in defense domestic spending, international sales are becoming even more important and really critical…to the job growth in my state.”

William Keating, D-Mass., said that “with declining defense budgets, arms sales are even more critical to the defense industry in my state to maintain production lines and keep jobs.”

“That would not have been the response a decade ago,” said one staffer who works on the issue. “National security hawks would have been worried about defense items moving to the Commerce list. The environment on the Hill has dramatically changed.”

One concern came from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which believes that easing controls on military technology and software could actually lead to more outsourcing of production.

William Lowell, who spent a decade of his 30 years at the State Department directing defense trade controls, told ProPublica that the move represents a major shift in the U.S. attitude towards international arms trade. U.S. policy has long been aimed at “denying the entry of U.S. military articles of any type into the international gray arms market – for which small arms and military parts are the lifeblood,” Lowell wrote in comments opposing the new rules. “Commercial arms exports have never been considered normal commercial trade.”


P.S. A few follow-up comments, questions about arms exports

This story prompted a lengthy discussion on reddit. Below are a few good comments and questions we thought were worth following up on.  — Cora Currier

“It's not like they're ‘arming everyone in shady countries’ with machine guns and rocket launchers.”ihaveaninja

Very true. The biggest shift here is for parts, not fully assembled military items or anything like “machine guns and rocket launchers.” (And no, you can’t just take apart a weapon and sell it abroad in pieces – exporters still need a license to ship many arms parts.)

Even some critics of the new system concede that some parts are probably harmless. Brandt Pasco, one of the authors of this reform, told ProPublica that there was previously “precious little distinction between a Home Depot item and item that has a fine.”

But some parts that don’t require a license are more sophisticated than nuts and bolts and may be sought by sanctioned countries to keep old military equipment running, according to arms control groups. Besides entities specifically banned by the U.S., parts can now go to any country in the world, without the State Department reviewing each deal to see if it is a good idea, even if it may be legal.

Controls on some assembled equipment are also being loosened, though not so drastically. For example, Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters are now under control of the Commerce Department. If they are approved for exemption, they could be sent to 36 allied governments without a license (though still with some other restrictions.)

The Commerce Department will still be controlling all of these items. If spare parts end up in a banned country, like Sudan, a company will still be in trouble. Jdi4tc

Jdi4tc is right that if an item is re-exported against the rules, a company would be liable even if it didn’t need a license to send it to the original destination. But removing the initial license check means that measures to prevent illegal re-export or diversion to a banned country would largely happen at Customs and through follow-up “end-use checks” by the Commerce Department.

The Government Accountability Office has raised concerns that the reforms will cause problems for enforcement, as Commerce takes responsibility for thousands of exports that used to flow through the State Department. Some former officials say the new rules could also lead to legal battles over whether an item is designed for military use or not.

Other lawyers I spoke to said that the new rules will make it easier for companies to know what is restricted -- even if it is fewer items – and therefore they’ll be better able to comply with the rules.

Why is China one of the countries barred from getting U.S. military items? pondlife78

China is subject to specific restrictions on arms sales commonly known as “Tienanmen Sanctions,” most of which were put in place by Congress after the Chinese government killed protesters in Tienanmen Square in 1989.

These sanctions can be waived in various ways and have been in the past. The Commerce Department could approve some parts exports to China, if it can be guaranteed that the items are not destined for use by the military.

It is naïve to think that any effort to restrain arms sales and other related movements would reduce such traffic around the world.  Neither this author nor many others offered concerns when the Saudis bought close to $300 Billions in arms of all kinds just from the United States in just two years recently. Even fewer seem to question how the Taliban, Hamas and other nice people get and pay for all sorts of weapons.
No, it isn’t pleasant to think about all this dangerous stuff making its way around the world, but it is foolhardy to think that a decision by the President to restrain the stuff coming from the US will a big difference except to the satisfaction of the folks in Russia and Iran who have been happily selling it and would simply see their own markets expand.

I take the first commenter to believe in the moral code of “I it feels good, do it.”.  We have lost all sense of morality as a nation.  At least the plutocracy has.  And they rationalize their evil by stating that if we didn’t do it, then someone else would. 

The U.S. is the world’s death dealer.  A free and just society may not be able to stop the hoodlums around the world, but we would stand against them.  We would be the beacon of justice and morality that the world could look up to.  Instead, we are just the opposite.  Made in the U.S.A. is generally limited to poisonous GMOs, the overdrugging of the world with pharma, financial looting and weapons of death.

I wonder how many people who support this system realize Jesus of Nazareth was a pacifist.  And, that there is evidence he belonged to the Essenes sect of Judaism that outlawed the making of any type of weapons or any tool that could be used to harm another human being. 

USA! USA! USA!  Hahaha.  People victimize themselves through their own adopted belief systems of their oppressors.  Useful idiots.

Just more proof of what & who in the current
Govt. Really is. It remains Greed of our congress and the wicked, evil Administration & DOD, state dept, Homeland Security which is a joke & about securing Socialism. Not only does this Govt want equal everything to Americans, but Aids our enemies that want to destroy. Us.  Money is the word for our Govt and our Defense weapon Mfg. They just want more money at the expense of who Americans really want. I can’t think of these people as American.

Proves my way of thinking that the business of business, whether government or civilian, is to make money; the American form of capitalism.  The United States has lost its moral compass though I’m not certain that it ever really had a moral compass when the choice was between what is morally correct thing to do or what is politically expedient.

DHS IS a joke!  Going through the motions locally within a school district, within my state to report against a school perpetrated by a student went unheard; no action taken.  I pushed it up to DHS but there are so many sub departments that I didn’t know where to turn.  What the heck.  I sent an e-mail of my concerns to Secretary Napolitano.  Never got a reply.  No one in positions of authority really care.

Brent Remiiington

Oct. 14, 2013, 5:26 p.m.

Jesus did give unto Caesar what is caesars. he didn,t supply weapons to opressors.

Yeah, less impediments to the ultra rich making money on human suffering. Good going, Christians!

Let’s see. John Kerry just signed the UN Small Arms Treaty (not small arms at all). This POTUS is lost. So we have the truth, small arms treaty means disarm citizens. Guess he thinks we are stupid and haven’t read the huge volume that describes small arms.

I would also think that allowing the sell—Obama more worried about job numbers e.g. more lost jobs in USA.

Obama is about self—nothing more.

Does the name Penny Pritzker ring a bell?

To those who have responded, please know that I am deeply gratified that you would take the time and passion to do so.  My hope is none of you will have to live in the shadow of people like the Ayotollah Khomeini who only last year screamed “Kill All Jews and Destroy Israel.” and then proceeded to display the weapons and missiles with which he could order it done at least to Israel.  The new elected president is hardly a free agent and must obey the religionist leaders of his country. 
As to the accusations of America, none of the fine respondents has offered commentary about the wonderful(?)array of weapons shuttled into Syria from Russia, Hamas, Iran and other hidden places that have helped to knock off more than 100,000 Syrian men, women and children and driven more than a million into refugee status,  But what you do not read are the realities many of those wounded or other wise needing medical care and shelter have been taken in in Israel without concern to their religious or other stuff .
Again, my appreciation for the time and effort.  As a very young person, I marched with the Pacifist of them all who was also a fighter in the trenches for civil rights and was there when he made his Dream Speech in DC…MLK.

The United States created fundamentalism in Iran by the CIA destabilizing and overthrowing a democratically-elected Mossadegh government in Iran then installing a police state run by our lackey, the Shah of Iran.  Why?  So we could loot the country of oil and have a puppet who would buy untold billions of our weapons while he kept the jack boot of American tyranny on the neck of average Iranians. 

Wake up.  The greatest enemy to this nation comes from within.  It is the corporate state.

Another win for the military-industrial complex.  Congress loves keeping jobs in their districts as do we all.  But does the U.S. have to continue increasing weaponry throughout the world?!  I’m quite sure there a lot of other things we could manufacture that wouldn’t add to the ever endless wars in the world.

Always remember: Power & Profit take Precedence over People and Peace.

If “It is naïve to think that any effort to restrain arms sales and other related movements would reduce such traffic around the world.” then one should tell that to those companies who are requesting the changes.”

So no real increase in arms sales?  Why are the USA manufacturers even bother? 

I’d suggest it is a considerable sum of money that might be highly leveraged by foreign governments.

The superior technology of USA armaments might make foreign fabricated replacements inadequate so an old USA fighter plane that is decommissioned due to lack of replacement parts is truly out of action.

Now this plane, in foreign hands, can be brought back alive at possibly a low cost..

And furthermore, bringing up the mean level of armaments around the world will cause the always ready Military-Industrial complex to increase its plea for more funding for even more advanced weapons.

As Douglas MacArthur said:

It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our
political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.
Speech to the Michigan legislature, in Lansing, Michigan (15 May 1952),

Do as I say not as I do. 

Dollars before all.

Sixty years ago the comic strip character Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

200 years ago Thomas Paine said, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls….”

Wonder where else this story would be reported if Mitt Romney or George Bush did this.

Anyone who thinks there’s any difference between either of the two corporate parties is deluded.

Anthony McCarthy

Oct. 15, 2013, 8:52 a.m.

As usual Barack Obama does something the oligarchs who opposed him here and to support oligarchs and warlords around the world, betraying those who supported him in two elections.  Clearly our political system has been destroyed in exactly the way that was intended by most of those on the Supreme Court who voted for Buckely vs. Valeo and Citizens United.  The weak attempts to stop things like unlimited arms exports had to be stopped and the most undemocratic part of the government was the place it was stopped.

Barack Obama has done as much to bring the Democratic Party, my party, into disrepute as anyone.  He is continuing what Clinton began.  American democracy is in ruins and it’s increasingly looking like just fighting over that ruin.  And the major force, within government, which has led to that is the Supreme Court in the post Warren period.

toto hanthala

Oct. 15, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

war is peace-violence is gentleness and the usa is not the greatest purveyor of violence, the largest exporter of terrorism and weaponry in the world today

clarnce swinney

Oct. 15, 2013, 4:54 p.m.

On Monday, North Carolina became the first state to halt its welfare program, called Work First in the state and funded through the Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) program, thanks to the government shutdown. While current enrollees will get October benefits, county offices have been instructed to stop processing new applications and November benefits won’t go out if the shutdown isn’t resolved in time. More than 20,700 state residents are enrolled in the program.

When Congress failed to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, it also failed to extend funding for TANF, meaning that state programs haven’t been getting any federal funding since October 1. Before Monday, all states had stepped up to cover the costs themselves. Arizona originally cut off benefits but later reversed course.

But experts have warned that if the shutdown lasted more than a month some would start cutting off benefits. “After a month states [will] start to get nervous,” wondering when they will get federal funding, Elizabeth Lower-Basch, policy coordinator at CLASP, previously told ThinkProgress. As it wears on, more states are likely to join North Carolina.

The state had also previously said it would cut off benefits to 50,000 low-income mothers and children from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which is also not seeing any federal funds in the shutdown. But two days later it reversed that decision and continued issuing benefits.

TANF lifted 650,000 children out of deep poverty in 2005. Without the benefits, poverty would be 0.3 percent higher

clarence swinney

Oct. 15, 2013, 4:58 p.m.

I thought we had had enough killing.
Reagan-Bush I and Bush II initiated our involvement in 10 foreign conflicts. Many thousands of innocents were killed.
I am sick of killing.


If that’s true, why are all the weapons on every third world battlefield in the world either AK-47’s and RPG-7’s instead of M16’s or LAW’s?

And still no mention of the fact that a lot of foreign arms shipments are called “military aid”, and are paid for by Uncle Sam, directly to the corporations that manufacture them. This is the nature of a high percentage of the foreign aid we give. The US is so generous!

Jack, you sound as if you’ve been there. If you really were, you would know that AK-47’s are preferred weapons because they perform well in sand and dirt. M16’s are finicky. I know that from wikipedia, I’m not a secret agent…

America will make cuts by destroying social security but won’t make cuts in its massive military budget. Noam Chomsky was right, America IS a terrorist rogue state.

“Defense Industry”

War is peace - right?

George Orwell says hello.

Is there any doubt that the only thing the USA has left to export are weapons of mass destruction accompanied often by our own children.

Mike W and others who’ve asked about military aid. We’ve covered that too. Here’s a recent story:

Given the number of people who make their money from defense, and the amount those companies donate to political campaigns, it’s hardly surprising that they get what they want.  Presumably, they come right after banks and energy companies, who not only contribute a ton to campaigns, but can also literally turn off the lights.

I guess this is what they mean by profiting from war and being prophets of war at the same time. How much more sin and bad karma can this country keep accumulating? Just selling weapons and then watch people, without food, resources, protection, security, law & order, and/or people without education, knowledge, counseling or therapy, re-education, enlightenment, powerful or thuggish…kill each other or be killed.

How sick is this?

This is what happens when you give children bombs, or give businessmen, or people with business mentality without ethics, limits, standards or humanity, weapons. They will use weapons willy nilly for everything, and the latter group will start selling bloodshed and mayhem for money.

Sicko and psycho.

In a world where whole regions are beset by poverty, disease, hopelessness and suffering, its good to know our President is stepping up to make sure those poor souls have unlimited access to cluster bombs.

huh…switching the responsibility for protecting the American people, all U.S. businesses not selling arms and military equipment, our military, and our diplomatic missions in other nations from State to Commerce only after Kerry becomes SoS….

gee…what is the difference between Kerry and Clinton?

Oh, yeah; Kerry is former military and so he knows that logistics - your ability to deliver weapons platforms (be that men or jets/ships/boats/tanks/APcs/whatever) and their supplies (be that food/medical supplies/ammo/computer chips/nuts and bolts/whatever) on time and on target is how you win a war…be that war terrorism, a low-intensity, unacknowledged conflict, or a world-burner.

While a Clinton…well, they have a long history of working with the Republicans to destroy America’s ability to sustain war….an unbroken string of successful attempts to destroy America’s industrial infrastructure - and, worse, transfer dual-use technology, its means of manufacture, and the military- and public infrastructure-supporting tax base that such jobs/manufacturing provides - wholesale to those countries/forms of government most likely to compete with America on all levels to include war.

This is supposed to be a democracy wherein the government is “of the People, by the people, and for the people” in recognition of the fact that America is the American people.  Sacrificing the American people’s ability to find employment and the nation’s industrial infrastructure and tax base - and, now, our military’s expectation that weapons of U.S. origin will rarely, if ever, be used against them - in order to further enrich a handful of executives in the defense (or any other) industry and the major shareholders in those corporations isn’t democracy in action; it is subversion and betrayal.

A betrayal that would be risky to expect a former military man to go along with…

Understand that I am not suggesting that a Clinton is a traitor acting with intent any more than I am suggesting that Obama may be.  But a Kerry - because of his past experience - is better equipped to see what a Clinton (or a President whose ears are being filled with the wishes of “long-time Washington insiders” rather than advice) could not:  The risk to our military and country that is the end result of selling, directly or indirectly, “weird little parts” to potential or current enemies.

A military man or woman is less likely to trade their nation’s security and safety and prosperity of the American people (the latter is a synonym for the former) for having their ego stroked by the cesspool of “lobbyists’, Representatives and Senators, “advisors”, and the other forms of corruption that are innocuously called “Washington insiders”.  Someone who knows what “dual-use” really means in terms of tipping the balance of power and making these United States of America vulnerable would be immediately perceived as a threat by those who enrich themselves through selling America out as they stroke their personal sadism by hurting “labor” in America (as they name the 99.99%).

So I’m thinking that the figure of $170 million spent buying politicians and paying “advisiors” is likely extremely low…and the lies and money started flowing before Clinton looked to be stepping down, particularly given the likelihood that she would be just as vulnerable as her husband to organized displays of adoration - or the naming of schools after her - that are some of the additional ego strokes offered by certain other nations to a President who will sell our people out.

(lolll…that’s the good thing about having an artificially limited supply of politicians in D.C.: like all markets wherein supply is artificially constrained, corrupting our government costs our 0.01%...our wealthy so-called “conservatives”....more and more all of the time. 

On the down side, that cost and its escalation makes them want to destroy democracy once and for all.)

By way:  You’d think that it wouldn’t be a big deal to build a database of all parts manufactured in or for America (perhaps pilfering current UPC, manufacturer parts databases, and so on).

And then link those parts to where they’re used in all military hardware manufactured either in America or elsewhere.

And then link in an additional table that says what countries have what military hardware.

And then when an application for export of any part is made, you could readily pull up the destination country to see if you should be concerned…and/or the intermediariy countries and/or purchasing agents(/arms dealers) to see if further investigation is warranted.

I said “should”, because the ACA act website has made me unconfortably aware that you also have to worry about just how badly the contractor wants their database to work…whether they want functionality quickly, or a cash cow that can be milked for a long time…

And you have to worry about “garbage in, garbage out’...whether individuals looking to bypass or destroy a system would put bad data in or massive amounts of bogus or even valid data in in order to overwhelm and crash that system…

And “should”, because the Republicans are quick to attempt to block or defund anything that might impede the rate of wealth accumulation of their owners…

America has a big problem:  The number of nominal Americans who believe that any and all actions are justified - that morality, ethics, and the longevity of these United States of America are moot - if they take those actions in the name of ‘profit’...or, more accurately, self-enrichment.

loll…something else:  The g’ment needs to put some of the more exotic RFID tags on some of the…stuff…that leaves America; might spead up some of the enforcement activities that must be carried out in certain seas and gulfs.

Active tags might seem easier to track and triangulate, but like anything that emits RF (to include certain military battlefield strokes of genius) they’re also easier to detect…to triangulate.

Passive tags would require the carrying/emplacement of scanners, but given the ability to use easily applied and concealed tags that keep their mouths shut until they see the proper key…

The bottom line is the dispersion of arms and their spare parts is a personnel issue; while we might not currently be able to do anything about the corrupt in America because of the number of Republican, neoliberal, and Tea Party politicians they own, offshore enforcement offers opportunities for solutions of a more permanent nature.

One of Americas biggest exports are wepons. A lot of money is being made by some large companies. Large amounts of money are earned by a few gready and powerfull people who have no morals. They are the ones that are running America, not the president. He is just a front man or if you like a puppet.
These persons are also making millions out of terroism.

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