FAS Obtains Key Report on US Arms Exports

Deliveries of arms through the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program decreased by nearly a billion dollars in fiscal year 2008, according to the most recent edition of the Annual Military Assistance Report. The report, which is often referred to as the “Section 655 Report” after the section in the Foreign Assistance Act that requires it, is compiled each year by the Defense Department and the State Department. The Defense Department’s contribution to the report was acquired by the Federation of American Scientists under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to this year’s report, FMS deliveries in FY08 totaled $10,996,180,000 – nearly $1 billion less than the $11,910,160,000 delivered in FY2007.  This is surprising given the significant increase in FMS agreements in recent years.   FMS agreements jumped from $9.5 billion in FY2005 to more than $18 billion in FY2006, and nearly doubled again to $36 billion in FY2008. One possible explanation for the apparent lag is that deliveries, and particularly deliveries of big-ticket items, can take years.  If this is the case, FMS delivery totals are likely to rise sharply over the next few years.

Adam Willner contributed to this report.

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State Department Confirms FAS Warhead Estimate

Retirement of the W62 warhead will be completed in 2009.

By Hans M. Kristensen

The U.S. State Department has confirmed the estimate made by FAS on this blog in February that the United States had already reached the limit of 2,200 operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads set by the 2002 Moscow Treaty. The confirmation occurred earlier today in a fact sheet published on the State Department’s web site: “As of May 2009, the United States had cut its number of operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 2,126.”

This is a reduction of 77 warheads from the 2,203 operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads deployed on February 5, 2009, and probably reflects the ongoing retirement of the W62 warhead from the Minuteman III ICBM force, scheduled for completion later this year.

The total U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile includes approximately 5,200 warheads.

The Big Picture – what is really at stake with the START follow-on Treaty

by Alicia Godsberg

There is cause for cautious optimism after Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed their START follow-on Joint Understanding in Moscow last Monday – the goal of completing a legally binding bilateral nuclear disarmament agreement with verification measures is preferable to letting START expire without an agreement or without one that keeps some sort of verification protocol.  The Joint Understanding leaves some familiar questions open, such as the lack of definition of a “strategic offensive weapon” and what to do about the thousands of nuclear warheads in reserve or awaiting dismantlement.  But so far few analysts on either side of the nuclear debate have been talking about the big picture, what for the vast majority of the world (and therefore our own national security) is really at stake here – the viability of the nonproliferation regime itself. Continue reading