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US Weapons Exports End 2016 at $33.6 Billion

November 8, 2016 (Photo Credit: Sgt. Devin Nichols/US Marine Corps)
WASHINGTON – The US hit $33.6 billion for foreign weapon sales in fiscal year 2016, down $13 billion from the record-setting FY 2015 number.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced Tuesday that it cleared $2.9 billion of Foreign Military Financing-funded cases; $5.0 billion in Building Partner Capacity-funded cases; and $25.7 billion funded by partner nations.

Among sales that were cleared in 2016 were $785 million from the UAE for munitions such as the GBU-10, announced in July; $1.2 billion from Australia for AIM-120D air-to-air missiles; and $1.15 billion from Saudi Arabia for M1A2S tanks and M88Al/A2 vehicles.

The drop from the 2015 total was predicted last month by DSCA head Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey, who argued that the total overall figure is not a barometer his agency uses to judge its success.

“We don’t look at sales like a benchmark we’re trying to capture. It’s not a number we’re trying to go for. Sales is really a fundamental result of foreign policy. We just have to understand what kind of workforce we’re going to need to prosecute those sales,” Rixey said then. “It’s nothing more than a tool for us to anticipate what we’re going to anticipate and work with.”

As an example, Rixey pointed out that if the long-awaited sale of fighter jets to Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain had been cleared in 2016, as many had expected, the total would have eclipsed the record-setting year of 2015. 

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