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Fact Sheet: U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy

January 15, 2014

Today, the Administration announced the update of the U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy. After a two-year comprehensive review, the President approved this update to ensure that our conventional arms transfer policies support 21st century national security and foreign policy objectives. The policy was last updated in 1995.

The New Policy

The Administration's review concluded that the 1995 conventional arms transfer policy was effective but needed to be updated to address 21st century national security and foreign policy objectives.

Our policy continues to be guided by 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 provides greater clarity and transparency with respect to U.S. goals for arms transfers and on the criteria used to make arms transfer decisions. More specifically, it highlights the importance the United States places on key factors such as respect for human rights, international stability, homeland security, counter-terrorism, combatting transnational organized crime, and supporting nonproliferation.

The scope of the policy has also broadened to include not only transfers of arms, but also the provision of related services and the transfer of technical data related to arms. The 1995 policy had dealt with these issues in general terms; the new policy addresses them directly.

Today's announcement and the release of the new U.S. policy highlight the President's commitment to continued U.S. leadership in responsible and transparent conventional arms transfers.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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