Arms Transfer Policies and Treaties

Forum hall in Geneva, Switzerland

United States Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy

Conventional Arms Transfer Policy

In April of 2018, the President approved a new U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy. The policy better aligns our conventional arms transfers with our national and economic interests. The policy helps us to better equip our allies and partners to contribute to shared security objectives and to enhance global deterrence, while maintaining our technological edge over potential adversaries. It seeks to strengthen partnerships that preserve and extend our global influence and enhance the ability of the defense industrial base to create jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness in key global markets. Lastly it reemphasizes our commitment to prevent proliferation by exercising constraint in transfers that may be destabilizing, dangerous to international peace and security or result in potential adversaries obtaining capabilities that could threaten the superiority of the United States military or our allies and partners. DTSA plays a leading role in executing this policy though identifying and mitigating the national security risk associated with the international transfers of advanced technology and critical information in order to maintain the U.S. warfighter’s technological edge and support the security objectives of the President’s Conventional Arms Transfer Policy.

Conventional Arms Transfer Implementation Framework and Plan

The President approved an implementation framework in 2018. The framework seeks, to prioritize strategic competition, create a conducive environment for exports, and organize the export enterprise to efficiently execute the CAT Policy. DTSA supports these efforts by helping to facilitate the identification of capabilities that suit U.S. strategic and economic objectives for specified allies and transfers, build defense partner capability to protect sensitive technologies, and support the review of defense exports at a pace of relevance. DTSA actively works to resolve issues that might impede high priority capabilities and seeks to revise or eliminate policies that inhibit priority arms transfers. DTSA recognizes the changing strategic and competitive arms transfer environment and supports other DoD offices and services/agencies in streamlining regulations, addressing challenging technology security reviews, and conducting national security reviews inside and outside of U.S. military programs.

Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties (DTCT) with Australia and the United Kingdom

The DTCTs provide a comprehensive framework for transfers of defense articles to Australia or the U.K. without a license or other written authorization. The Treaties were designed to improve the support we provide to our Armed Forces and aim to simplify the movement and sharing of equipment and information between our nations. A key feature of the Treaty is the Exempted Technology List (ETL) which is the technology security baseline for determining what projects or systems may be exported under the ambit of the Treaty. DTSA has primary responsibility within the Department for reviewing and updating the ETL. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) has primary responsibility within DoD for DTCT issues.

DTSA works closely with the Services, A&S, the Department of State, and the Australian and U.K. governments in identifying technologies that can be shared under the auspices of the DTCT, to further our close defense cooperation.