Goals and Plans
Project Goals: Transparency, accountability and restraint in
U.S. arms exports; elimination of taxpayer subsidies for weapons
exports; broadening the coalition of citizens working to reform
arms export policy; and increasing the level of pressure on policy
makers to act for the public interest rather than the special
interests of arms manufactures.
Project History: The Project was founded in 1991 by Lora
Lumpe, who directed the project until August 1998. Under
her leadership, the Project grew in size, scope, and stature,
so that it is now recognized as one of the best sources of information
and analysis on U.S. arms export policy. The ASMP is now administered
by Matt Schroeder.
Since 1991, the FAS Arms Sales Monitoring
Project has worked for transparency, accountability and deep
reductions in global conventional weapons production and trade.
Our aim is to prevent dangerous and wasteful military build-ups,
and thereby reduce the likelihood of warfare and the lethality
of warfare when it does occur. Reducing militarismespecially
in the developing worldshould also alleviate much of the
justification for continued large U.S. military expenditures.
Given the United States' dominance of the
arms market and of global military relations, our project focuses
first and foremost on reforming U.S. export policy. Because other
countries do produce and export arms, we encourage multilateral
arms control/disarmament solutions to the problems posed by global
weapons proliferation. However, we believe U.S. leadership is
vital; the United States will not succeed in pressing other governments
to limit their dangerous arms exports until it gets its own house
For the past decade, we have reported
and publicized the U.S. government's arms export policies and
practices through the Arms Sales Monitor, media outreach,
public speaking and reports and articles. In particular, we have
sought to highlight the costs of the arms trade todayin
terms of lives, dollars and security. Our objective was/is to
get information out to interested journalists, activists and
policy makers, so that many people can act on it, achieving much
more than we alone can.
In addition to publication of
the newsletter and our ongoing media work, our current foci include:
- preventing industry and the Bush administration from
weakening export control laws. To this end, we are working in coalition
with like-minded organizations to oppose "war on terrorism"-related efforts
to eliminate human rights restrictions and increase military aid for abusive
and undemocratic regimes. The ASMP and the Center for Defense Information also completed a joint study entitled
Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Debunking the Myths and Exposing the Risks of Arms Export Reform, which addresses many of the arguments
advanced by the defense industry and their allies to justify their efforts to weaken export licensing requirements.
- pushing for the drafting and implementation of an international
Arms Trade Treaty, which would require signatories to refrain from
providing weapons to countries that would use them to commit
serious human rights violations, violate international humanitarian law, or engage
in acts of aggression.
Through each of these initiatives, we are
continuing our two-prong approach to reining in the global arms trade -
strengthening domestic controls while working for the creation and
ratification of international agreements that impose comparable restrictions
on foreign exporters.