American arms manufacturers have two major channels through which they can sell major weaponry to foreign countries: foreign military sales ("FMS"), in which a government-to-government agreement is negotiated by the Pentagon; and direct commercial sales ("DCS"), in which industry negotiates directly with the purchasing country and must apply for a license from the State Department.
The United States government also transfers arms to other countries by giving away weapons from U.S. military stocks for free or at greatly reduced prices, classified as excess defense articles (EDA) or emergency "drawdowns." The United States also provides military training to many foreign countries. These transfers are also managed by the Defense Department. For more information about types of U.S. arms transfers, read the "Ways and Means" chapter of The Arms Trade Revealed.
Database of Notifications to Congress of Pending U.S. Arms Transfers. Contains summaries of notifications to Congress of proposed Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales. Searchable by region, country, date, weapon system, and transfer type.
Records about Military Goods and Services Provided to Foreign Countries, 1950-2002, U.S. National Archives & Records Administration (NARA). Includes records of defense articles transferred under several different Defense Department programs. Search by country, item description number, type of assistance, program year, delivery quarter, area code and Unified Command. For other NARA military assistance databases, click here.The Excess Defense Articles Online Database, maintained by the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, includes up-to-date information on surplus weaponry given away to U.S. allies for free or at substantially reduced prices. Database of authorized transfers of small arms and light weapons, Norweigan Initiative on Small Arms Transfers. Arms Transfers Database, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
"Section 655 Report" to Congress:
Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and Military Assistance Facts is published by the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency; the most current online edition includes information throuh FY 2006.
Congressional Research Service
U.S. arms deliveries, category totals, 1994-1998. 1999. U.S. Census Bureau data, collected from shippers' export declarations, sorted by commodity type; includes specific recipient data from the Government Information Sharing Project.
World Bank Statistics on States' Arms Imports and Exports, as percentage of total imports and exports, 1990-1999.
World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers is published by the U.S. State Department. Sales data in the most recent online report covers the 1989-1999 decade, and adds two years of sales data to the last report. Starting with the 1997 edition, the WMEAT report includes estimates of direct commercial sales based on licenses authorized. Prior to the 1997 report, figures for U.S. arms sales were probably understated.
The following reports are available in pdf format:
U.S. Army Weapons System Handbook contains detailed descriptions of many U.S. military weapons systems.
For a general guide to key sources of data and analysis on the arms trade, check out the "For More Information" chapter of The Arms Trade Revealed: a Guide for Investigators and Activists.