US overseas weapons sales in 2018 almost set record

US overseas weapons sales in 2018 almost set record

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Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, discusses security cooperation and full spectrum capability regarding defense systems to support bilateral partnerships at the 2018 Senior Strategy Session – Arabian Peninsula / Levant in Arlington, Va, July 11, 2018 ((U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Von Marie Donato)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. sold $55.6 billion in weapons overseas during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the highest total in six years, defense officials said Tuesday.

The sales were a third higher than those of fiscal year 2017, reflecting a duopoly of prospective sales initiated years ago that were finally closed as well as more aggressive sales pitches by the Trump administration.

‘There has never been better cooperation between industry and the interagency,” Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said during remarks at the annual exposition of the Association of the United States Army, taking place in Washington. Hooper praised the cooperation among Congress, the White House, Pentagon and State Department in uniting on boosting sales.

The $55.6 billion represents signed letters of agreement for foreign military sales between the United States and other nations. Hooper said there are 14,556 foreign military sales “open cases” being worked by DSCA, in various stages of discussions and negotiations.

The record for overseas military sales is $69.1 billion in the fiscal year 2012. That total was enhanced by a $29 billion deal for 84 F-15s sold to Saudi Arabia.

Sales for fiscal 2017 were $41.9 billion.

European nations led the purchases, followed by the Gulf and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Mexico and Canada, one DSCA official said.

“What we are getting at this moment are real tools where we can make a business system work better,” Ann Cataldo, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for exports and cooperation, said during the AUSA briefing.

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