OFFICE of the SECRETARY of DEFENSE
Ensuring the Edge
DTSA is the Office of Primary Responsibility within DoD for
the U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy. In 2013, the
President approved a comprehensive policy to govern the transfer
of conventional arms based on two fundamental tenets:
to support transfers that meet the legitimate security
requirements of our allies and partners in support of our
national security and foreign policy interests; and to promote
restraint, both by the United States and other suppliers, in
transfers of weapon systems that may be destabilizing or
dangerous to international peace and security.
The new policy improved the clarity of U.S. goals for arms
transfers and the criteria used in making arms transfer
decisions in support of those goals. It highlights the
value the United States places on human rights and international
stability, our focus on homeland security priorities,
counter-terrorism, combating transnational organized crime, and
support for nonproliferation, and it broadened the scope of the
policy to include not only arms, but the provision of services
and the transfer of technical data related to arms.
During the review of the previous policy and its update, DTSA
coordinated all of the relevant issues with the Joint Staff, the
Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Office of the
Undersecretary for Acquisition, Transportation and Logistics and
the appropriate offices with the Office of the Undersecretary
for Policy. Key players in the Interagency who contributed
to the final policy included the Departments of State, Homeland
Security, Justice, and the National Security Staff.
DTSA is the office of primary responsibility within DoD for
the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
The ATT establishes a common international standard for the
national regulation of the international trade in conventional
arms. The Treaty can help improve both U.S. national security
and global security by reducing the risk that international
transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the
world’s worst crimes, including genocide, crimes against
humanity, and war crimes.
In particular, countries that are party to the Treaty are
required to establish national export and import controls for
tanks, combat vehicles and aircraft, warships, missile and
artillery systems, small arms and light weapons. This will
require States Parties to establish export and import control
systems closer to the high standard the United States already
sets with its own national system. Joining the ATT would not
result in any additional U.S. export or import controls.
The DTCTs provide a comprehensive framework for exports
and transfers to Australia or the U.K. of classified and
unclassified defense articles without a license or other
written authorization. DTSA has primary responsibility
within the Department for establishing requirements for the
proper marking, transfer and control of classified
information shared with Approved Community members and
Intermediate Consignees established under the Treaties and
for reviewing and updating the Exempted Technologies Lists.
The Office of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L)
has primary responsibility within DoD for DTCT issues.
DTSA works closely with the Services, AT&L, the
Department of State, and the Australian and U.K. governments
in identifying technologies that can be shared with our
Allies, under the auspices of the DTCT, to further our close