Recycled Weapons
American Exports of Surplus Arms, 1990-1995

A Study by the Arms Sales Monitoring Project
of the Federation of American Scientists

by Paul F. Pineo and Lora Lumpe

May 1996


Surplus Stocks | Army | Navy | Air Force

Methods of Transfer | CFE Treaty Cascade | Excess Defense Articles | Drawdowns | Leases/Loans

Policy Issues | Fiscal Responsibility | Congressional Oversight | Regional Arms Races | Human Rights | Industrial Base


Appendix A: Compendium of Surplus Exports

Appendix B: Breakdown of Lease Arrangements

Appendix C: Eligible Countries and Organizations

Appendix D: Bibliography


At the end of World War II, the U.S. government had tons of military equipment that it no longer needed. America shipped hundreds of excess armored vehicles, aircraft, naval vessels and infantry weapons to Europe and Asia, initiating its peacetime military aid program. Some of this surplus like C-47 transport planes and M-2 "half-tracks" transferred 40 years ago, to contain Soviet influence, is still used by many militaries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The end of the Cold War has again left the United States with much more equipment than it needs or can afford. While some excess weapons are destroyed or transferred to civilian agencies, most are given to foreign militaries through a variety of programs. Since 1990, the United States has transferred $7 billion of military equipment, including 3,900 heavy tanks and 500 ground attack jets, primarily to developing countries. Large quantities of surplus small arms and light weapons have also been exported.

Giving away excess weapons is often cheaper than destroying or storing them, and such transfers are seen as an easy way to curry diplomatic favor. Moreover, excess equipment is transferred in furtherance of U.S. policy goals, such as narcotics control, military cooperation or encouraging participation in multilateral peacekeeping operations.

However, surplus arms giveaways also raise several concerns, including issues of human rights, arms control, and fiscal responsibility. These concerns are compounded by the fact that many other countries also have large surplus arms holdings today. (The Federal Republic of Germany, for example, inherited the entire military of the German Democratic Republic.) In so much as U.S. policies may be used to justify similar actions by others, the impact of the cascade of surplus American arms deserves careful consideration.

This study examines exports of major military equipment and small arms declared excess by the U.S. Department of Defense from 1990 through 1995. It details the types and quantities of these weapons shipped from U.S. stocks, the recipients, the legal basis and decision-making process for surplus weapons exports, and the policy issues raised by these transfers. The bulk of this report comprises an appendix cataloguing all identifiable surplus arms transfers during 1990-1995, grouped primarily according to the type of military equipment transferred.

Surplus Stocks

Since 1990, the United States has reduced force levels by nearly one-third (see table 1). Excess equipment was inevitable, even without the Cold War downsizing, given the massive military modernization and build-up of the 1980s. As a result of both factors, vast quantities of weapons have been retired during the past five years.

When paring down, the military naturally sheds older equipment first, that bought in the 1960s or earlier and modernized since. However, the Army, Navy and Air Force are now retiring large numbers of newer, rather advanced surplus weapons, as well. These weapons, which entered service in the 1970s or even 1980s, were considered good enough for U.S. forces as recently as just a few years ago. Some of the major combat equipment now being retired has only served half or less of its expected lifetime.

The individual armed services are responsible for determining, within budgetary constraints, their equipment needs. Consequently, they also determine, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Defense and Congress, which weapons will be retained and which will be retired. The services have wide discretion in deciding what to do with surplus arms.

U.S. Army equipment holdings have fallen substantially in the past five years, particularly in Europe as a result of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (see p. 6). The number of U.S. Army tanks in Europe, for example, decreased from 6,000 to 1,200.

The Army's entire inventory of armored vehicles, helicopters, artillery, logistics and communications gear was modernized in the 1980s. A literal army of older equipment including over 3,000 transport and attack helicopters, 6,000 battle tanks and armored personnel carriers, and millions of rounds of ammunition has now been declared excess.

Many of these weapons have been exported to other nations, often at little or no cost. In 1990 the United States gave Egypt 700 M-60 tanks for free; Egypt paid only the transportation cost of about $1 million. (These tanks originally cost $1.3 million each. ) Other states that received surplus M-60s include Bahrain, Brazil, Greece, Morocco, Oman, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

According to a press report, by 1992 the Army was overseeing 6,000 on-going or proposed deals for excess equipment. Seeking to pick up the pace, the Army held an unprecedented tent sale in September 1993. Military officers potential customers from NATO member countries, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan spent five days browsing through the Army's old or used goods. Ted Gandy, the deputy director of weapons development for the Army Missile Command, hoped the bazaar would help the Army unload some $300 million worth of surplus missiles over the next few years. The Army has also announced plans to export 600 surplus AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and UH-1 Huey utility helicopters to foreign militaries through the end of the century.

The U.S. Navy ship strength peaked in 1987, 31 boats short of the Reagan Administration's goal of a 600-ship Navy. By 1995, force levels fell to 373 ships and are expected to fall to 330-346 vessels by 2001. Entire classes of boats were retired in the past five years. The nearly 200 decommissioned ships include modern frigates, guided destroyers, and amphibious assault ships. The Navy, and its boosters in Congress, are retiring these ships and buying new ones.

These surplus warships will meet differing fates. Many will be "mothballed" that is, put in long-term storage to minimize maintenance costs, while retaining the option of returning the vessels to active service. Others will be cannibalized for spare parts for sister ships still in active service or simply cut up for scrap. The Navy will use yet others for weapons testing (either mounting new weapons on them or using them as targets for anti-ship missiles or torpedoes). A few ships, like four Iowa-class battleships reactivated in the 1980s, will become museums.

Most are being sold, given away or leased to foreign navies. During 1990-1995, the Navy transferred 39 frigates, five guided-missile destroyers, and 13 tank landing ships. Several guided missile frigates were leased and/or given away in early 1996.

In addition to boats, the Navy is seeking to unload some of its 300 carrier-based F-18A/B Hornet fighter jets, so that it can procure newer model F/A-18C/D and E/F planes. The first sale of F/A-18s was concluded in 1995, when Spain purchased 30.

The U.S. Air Force is shedding large numbers of planes in order to maintain and acquire more sophisticated strike and transport aircraft. The USAF is retiring all of its FB-111 fighter-bombers and EF-111 Raven electronic warfare/jammer aircraft, most of its F-4 Phantom fighters, over 100 A-10 attack aircraft, and hundreds of early model F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon fighter/ground attack jets.

These aircraft constituted the bulk of the American forces designed to fight the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and as such they remain quite potent. The F-4 is one of the most widely used Western aircraft designs, with some 1,300 currently serving with nine air forces around the world. The F-111 Aardvark, which first flew during the Vietnam War, was used in the 1986 bombing raid on Tripoli, Libya. The F-15 and F-16 remain the backbone of the U.S. Air Force, performing both anti-air and ground attack missions.

In the past five years, the Air Force has transferred over 900 planes, including 82 used F-16s. The USAF has proposed selling 300-400 early model Falcons in stock to fund the procurement of 80-100 new F-16s. Potential customers include the Czech Republic, Poland, Chile and Argentina. In addition, Jordan is slated to receive 16 F-16s under a nearly no-cost lease, as a reward for making peace with Israel.

The USAF sought unsuccessfully to give Turkey fifty A-10 ground attack jets. The Turkish military refused, saying it could not afford to spend $200 million to refurbish the aircraft.

Methods of Transferring Surplus Arms

Surplus U.S. weapons stocks are sold, given, leased and loaned to foreign militaries or police or international bodies. As with exports of new weapons systems, surplus sales or grants are at the discretion of the executive branch principally the Pentagon and State Department. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (Public Law 87-195), as amended, provides the legal authority for the President to provide military assistance, financial and otherwise, to foreign nations. Section 21 of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (Public Law 90-629) authorizes the President to sell weapons directly from the Department of Defense inventory.

Most provisions of these two laws that apply to sales of new weapons also apply to transfers of excess arms. For example, as with new weapons, surplus arms may be exported only for internal security, "legitimate self-defense," or to facilitate participation by the recipient in regional or collective military arrangements consistent with the U.N. Charter. And, as with sales of new equipment, surplus arms can only be exported to those countries where the President has certified that such shipments "will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace." (Appendix C lists all countries for which such a finding has been made.) Similarly, provisions pertaining to eligibility for U.S. arms based on human rights, support for terrorism, and counter-narcotics cooperation also generally apply to exports of surplus arms, as do third party transfer restrictions. In some cases, surplus arms transfers require the approval of, or at least notification to, Congress.

The executive branch has four primary procedures for transferring surplus weapons from U.S. stocks to foreign nations

  • Transfers made pursuant to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty
  • Sales and grant transfers through the Excess Defense Articles program
  • Leases and loans of weapons
  • Special presidential authority to "draw down" Department of Defense equipment

Appendix A lists all identifiable transfers of surplus major military equipment and small arms made under these programs during 1990-1995.

CFE Treaty Cascade

A 1990 treaty intended to reduce conventional weapons in Europe has bolstered the militaries of states on Europe's periphery. The sixteen member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the six states of the former Warsaw Treaty Organization signed the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty in Paris on 19 November 1990. The treaty, which sets limits on holdings in Europe of five categories of major combat platforms (tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters and fixed-wing combat aircraft), officially entered into force on 9 November 1992, ten days after the last signatory ratified the treaty.

By the end of 1994, parties to the treaty had destroyed over 37,000 conventional weapons. However, during this same time, and in full compliance with the treaty, the United States and other NATO members (such as Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) transferred large quantities of military equipment out of the treaty's area of coverage in central Europe to militaries in other regions. NATO members in southern and northern Europe have been the principal beneficiaries.

The 1991 Conventional Forces in Europe Implementation Act (Public Law 102-228) added a new chapter 9 to the Arms Export Control Act, authorizing the President to transfer CFE-limited tanks, combat vehicles and artillery to NATO allies, consistent with the provisions of the treaty. During 1991-1993 the United States shipped nearly 2,000 tanks, over 600 armored personnel carriers and 180 artillery pieces to Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Norway, at no cost to the recipients (see table 3).

Excess Defense Articles

The Pentagon dispenses of most of its surplus weapons through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Though this program was initiated in 1976, the quantity and value of EDA transfers have shot up in the past few years. The number of countries authorized to receive EDA has also expanded dramatically.

Section 644(g) of the Foreign Assistance Act defines EDA as "the quantity of defense articles (other than construction equipment...) owned by the United States Government, and not procured in anticipation of military assistance or sales requirements, or pursuant to a military assistance or sales order, which is in excess of the [Pentagon's] approved acquisition objective and approved force retention stock."

Basically, excess defense articles are weapons which the military services no longer want. The Army decides which land systems are excess, the Navy decides which ships and naval aircraft are excess and the Air Force decides which of its aircraft are excess.

The services are also responsible for determining the current value of the surplus equipment. Department of Defense directives call for "fair" prices, ranging from five to fifty percent of the Pentagon's original purchasing cost, depending on the age and condition of the weapon. This flexible guidance has resulted in equipment often being under-priced. A 1994 General Accounting Office review of EDA pricing by the Air Force, for example, found that the service was underestimating the value of most excess items by more than 30 percent. The same study found that Army adopted a policy of pricing excess trucks at between five and ten percent of their original acquisition value, regardless of their condition. As a result of these and other irregularities, the General Accounting Office determined that the current values assigned by the services to EDA "are generally unreliable."

These deeply discounted prices are irrelevant in a sense, because EDA are usually offered for free, on an "as is, where is" basis, rather than sold (see figure 1). Between 1990-1994, 80 percent of all excess transfers were giveaways; in fiscal year 1995, half of all EDA deals were grant and half sales. When the equipment is being granted, recipients are usually responsible for crating and shipping costs, and for restoration and support of the items, but an exception is made on shipping costs for poorer countries and certain close allies.

Nevertheless, the tendency to undervalue surplus equipment complicates efforts to determine how much excess weaponry is being exported, in terms of dollar volume. Calculations based on original acquisition value would tend to overstate the amount of EDA transfers, while those based on the services' low-ball prices would tend to understate it. Given the General Accounting Office's findings, we have relied here on original acquisition values. Regardless of which price is used (original or current), the amount of EDA offered has grown dramatically in recent years.

Until just recently, the Pentagon did not provide data on actual deliveries of EDA (oftentimes foreign militaries reject the offered excess military equipment). By law, EDA exports are capped at $250 million per year (in terms of the original acquisition cost of the weapons), with the exception of naval vessels and their on-board store of munitions, and any EDA which Congress is notified of through the Foreign Military Sales program. According to information provided to Congress, well over $500 million worth of military equipment has actually been transferred in each of the past few years, with the overage apparently due to a large number of ship transfers.

Militaries seeking excess defense articles must go through a process similar to that for purchasing new weapons under the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales program. The process begins when a government or organization eligible to receive U.S. arms (see Appendix C) submits a letter of request for U.S. equipment to the Department of Defense. The request is referred to either the Army, Navy, Air Force or the Defense Logistics Agency, depending on the type of weaponry desired. These organizations determine if excess defense articles will satisfy the request.

Section 502A of the Foreign Assistance Act directs that excess defense articles "be provided whenever possible rather than providing such articles by the procurement of new items." Complaints from industry, however, have changed this. In 1993, Congress amended the law governing EDA transfers to require the President to "first consider the effects of the transfer of the excess defense articles on the national technological and industrial base, particularly the extent, if any, to which the transfer reduces the opportunities of entities in the national technology and industrial base to sell new equipment to the country or countries to which the excess defense articles are transferred." The Department of Defense now seeks to avoid competing with U.S. companies attempting to sell similar goods or services.

If the services nevertheless recommend the provision of excess defense articles, the proposed transfer must overcome two hurdles. First, the EDA Coordinating Committee must approve the transfer. The committee evaluates proposed recipient countries' military requirements and ability to effectively use the equipment, as well as the regional military balance and the foreign policy considerations involved in proposed transfers. This body is comprised principally of Defense and State Department officials, but Commerce Department representatives were recently added to represent the arms industry's interests.

Once the Coordinating Committee agrees to the transfer, the Pentagon's Defense Security Assistance Agency must formally notify Congress of the proposed export. Barring opposition from Congress, the Department of Defense is authorized to deliver most types of equipment fifteen to thirty days after notification. Transfers of excess naval vessels are handled differently than are exports of other types of surplus equipment. Congress must pass a law approving the export sale or grant of any ship less than 20 years old. In such a case, the Navy submits legislation to Congress authorizing the grant transfer or sale of the ship(s), and the Congress usually passes the request without controversy.

The Foreign Assistance Act authorizes grant EDA transfers to different countries for different purposes. They were first authorized in 1986 as a means of bolstering the militaries of the poorer members of the NATO alliance. Section 516 of the act made Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey eligible to receive lethal and non-lethal surplus military equipment at no cost.

Eligibility for EDA has been significantly expanded since. In 1988, "major non-NATO allies on the southern and southeastern flank of NATO" (Egypt and Israel) became eligible for free military equipment, and certain states that allied with U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf war were added in 1991. States currently eligible for EDA under this section include Bahrain, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Portugal, Senegal and Turkey. Because of their improved economic status, Italy and Spain are no longer eligible for grant EDA, although they can still purchase bargain-priced EDA. Pakistan would be eligible for free EDA if sanctions cutting off military aid were lifted.

While the vast majority of EDA transfers are made pursuant to Section 516, Congress and the executive branch have added several other provisions of law authorizing surplus transfers in the past few years.

In 1989, Congress added Section 517 to the Foreign Assistance Act, authorizing grant EDA transfers to Latin American and Caribbean nations for counter-narcotics purposes. There are several limits on Section 517 transfers. Transfers are limited to major illicit drug producing or transit countries that have democratic governments and whose armed forces "do not engage in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." The recipient government must certify that the military equipment will be used "primarily" for counter-narcotics purposes, rather than to counter political insurgents. EDA transfers under this authority are limited to $10 million per country per year (in original acquisition value), and countries receiving Section 517 transfers may not receive items under Sections 518 or 519. Colombia has been by far the leading recipient of excess weaponry under this provision of law.

The following year, Congress authorized grant transfers of non-lethal EDA and small arms to "friendly countries and to international organizations and private and voluntary organizations" for promotion of biodiversity and natural resource conservation, under Section 518 of the act. Intended to make small arms and vehicles available to governments fighting poachers and other environmental crimes, the only transfer made under this section was the provision of 12 Cessna Skymaster observation/light attack aircraft to Botswana in 1993.

In 1990, Congress also added Section 519, "Additional Authorities Relating to Modernization of Military Capabilities." This catch-all section authorizes grant transfers of non-lethal EDA to any government for which the administration requested and justified Foreign Military Financing during that fiscal year. In 1993, eligibility under this provision was expanded to include any government receiving any form of foreign aid from the United States. After Section 516, this is the most widely used grant EDA authority (see figure 2). Argentina, offered some 90 free aircraft in the past five years, has been the big winner under this provision. Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Ethiopia, Hungary, Oman, the Philippines, Romania, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe have also received grant aircraft through this provision of law.

Section 520 of the Foreign Assistance Act, authorizing transfers of EDA for international peacekeeping, was added in 1994. This section permits transfers to regional and international organizations of which the United States is a member. Transfers under this section to U.N. operations are to be credited to the United States' annual assessed dues to the United Nations. According to the Defense Security Assistance Agency, no transfers have taken place under this authority.

Recent appropriations laws have also extended eligibility for EDA to several countries. The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1995 (Public Law 103-306) authorized Jordan to receive excess small arms and ammunition and Albania to receive non-lethal EDA.

The "NATO Partnership Act," incorporated in the fiscal 1995 Department of Defense appropriation (Public Law 103-335), authorized Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to receive EDA in order to facilitate the standardization of these former Warsaw Pact forces with NATO forces. The fiscal year 1996 foreign aid appropriation (Public Law 104-107) made Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia eligible for lethal EDA. The three had previously been cleared to receive only non-lethal excess articles.

In 1990, ten countries purchased or received grant EDA from the Department of Defense. Five years later, 60 countries received surplus arms. During this time, the Pentagon offered up over $8.5 billion of military equipment at little or no charge (see figure 1). Figures on how much of this was actually delivered overseas were only made public beginning with 1993. According to the Department of Defense, during 1993-1995, it shipped $1.9 billion of EDA (see table 4).

Special Drawdown Authority

The executive branch may also provide military equipment, services or training from Department of Defense stocks on a grant basis to meet emergencies that it cannot meet through other aid channels.

Section 506 of the Foreign Assistance Act provides special authority for the President to transfer up to $150 million of defense articles from U.S. stocks annually. The executive branch has used this provision on several occasions (see box). The law requires the President to notify Congress of any planned drawdowns of equipment under this authority, and also to notify Congress upon completion of delivery.

Much of the equipment transferred under this provision is non-lethal, but some combat equipment is transferred. In a report to Congress in August 1995, the Defense Security Assistance Agency detailed the equipment it had transferred to Bangladesh following floods in 1991. Included in the $12 million aid package were mostly benign items (like blankets, tents, cargo parachutes, radios, medical kits) and a handful of light combat boats. Mexico has received 12 Huey military utility helicopters under this provision, and Ecuador received two C-130 transport planes.

Section 552 of the Foreign Assistance Act authorizes additional special drawdown authority for peacekeeping operations. In March 1995 President Clinton directed the Secretary of Defense to provide up to $5 million in pick-up trucks for the Palestinian police force under this authority and $7 million to support the Haitian National Police Force.

In 1994 the administration proposed, and Congress passed, legislation permitting the South Korean military to draw down U.S. equipment held in a stockpile in South Korea. In each of the past several years, the U.S. administration has added $40 million worth of munitions to the stockpile, which is intended for joint use by the two militaries in an emergency.

Under the 1994 law, after providing Congress with 30 days advance notice, the Pentagon may transfer tanks, repair parts and ammunition from the stock to South Korean control, in exchange for a concession of equal value. In a July 1995 letter, Secretary of Defense William Perry notified the Chairman of the House International Relations Committee of the Pentagon's intention to give South Korea $66.6 million of equipment (in current value) under this provision. As a concession, South Korea will subtract the same amount from storage costs the United States owes for its military equipment located in South Korea, for the defense of South Korea.

Israel has been the largest single beneficiary of emergency military aid provisions. In 1991 Congress created a special drawdown account to compensate Israel for the heightened threat to its security posed by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The legislation authorized the President to provide Israel with up to $775 million of U.S. military equipment from stocks being reduced in Europe. Through this drawdown provision Israel received 15 F-15A and 50 F-16A/B fighter jets, 24 Apache attack helicopters, and ten UH-60A Blackhawk transport helicopters.

Leases and Loans

The United States leases weapons that it might want back in the future, rather than selling or giving them away. It also leases equipment when the recipient cannot afford to purchase the weapons outright. The recipient pays rent on the equipment equal to the depreciation of the articles while leased. In addition, the lessee must pay the cost of restoration or replacement if the articles are damaged, lost or destroyed while on loan. Weapons are leased for free for cooperative military research and development projects, and for joint training exercises.

Leases and loans are carried out under Chapter 6, Sections 61-65 of the Arms Export Control Act. The law requires that the executive branch notify Congress 30 days prior to entering into a lease or loan arrangement for any military equipment valued at $14 million or more. Leases cannot run for longer than five years, but they may be renewed. As with EDA transfers of such ships, Congress must pass a law specifically authorizing the lease of naval vessels less than 20 years old. In an unprecedented move, in 1994 the U.S. government recalled ships on lease to Pakistan, presumably in late compliance with the military aid cut-off of 1990.

Although the U.S. government maintains the title for leased armaments, this channel has resulted in the transfer of a good deal of weaponry in recent years. According to the State Department, during fiscal year 1995 the United States entered into new lease arrangements for $366 million of U.S. military equipment to 15 foreign militaries, the United Nations and NATO. The previous year $308 million of weaponry was leased to 22 countries, and just over $400 million of equipment was leased in fiscal year 1993. Since the leases generally run for multiple years, as much as $1 billion of American weaponry could actually have been on lease to foreign militaries last year. The leading recipients of leased American equipment over the past three years have been France, Taiwan, Singapore, Greece and Turkey (see Appendix B). The United Nations and NATO have also been leading lessees. Most leases have involved aircraft and naval vessels, but the Pentagon has also transferred armored vehicles, guided missiles, radios and other equipment.

Policy Issues

Through the programs described above, large quantities of now-surplus military equipment much of it quite modern and lethal is cascading from the United States to countries in the developing world. Many of the arms transfers are intended to further security or foreign policy goals, like fostering participation in the NATO alliance, in peacekeeping operations, or combating drug trafficking. Some of the surplus military equipment transfers are made to combat poaching or other environmental crimes, or to aid in disaster relief. While individual transfers might appear benign, in the aggregate these surplus transfers raise several policy concerns issues of fiscal responsibility, Congressional oversight, weapons proliferation and human rights.

Fiscal Responsibility

While "deficit hawks" in Congress have taken the scalpel to more visible forms of foreign military aid, the provision of approximately $7 billion of surplus weapons (see box, next page) to other nations for little or no recompense has aroused scant opposition, in part because weapons giveaways are said to be cheaper than storing or destroying surplus arms.

This has started to change as increasingly sophisticated weapons are being transferred for free. Last year Republicans in Congress opposed, but did not block, the administration's plan to supply sixteen F-16 fighters to Jordan at a cost to taxpayers of $140 million. In early 1996 fiscal conservatives in the House International Relations Committee did succeed in blocking the Navy's plan to give away seven Perry-class guided-missile frigates and lease one. The ships each entered service between 1980-1982 and have served only half of their expected operational lives. Congress permitted the Navy to give away only four of the ships to Bahrain, Egypt and Turkey, and required that it lease the other four to Egypt, Oman and Turkey.

Congress also amended Section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act to require that, henceforth, surplus warships less than 20 years old be sold, unless the President determines that a grant transfer of a ship is in the "national security interest" of the United States. In such a case, the Congress must pass legislation authorizing the giveaway. Even when sold, however, the prices for excess weapons are deeply discounted (5-50 percent of the original purchasing cost).

Aside from the question of whether the United States is getting as much money as possible for its older equipment, a much larger issue of fiscal responsibility is raised: The services appear to be giving away still useful equipment in order to justify procurement of new weaponry. Much of the equipment now declared "excess" is quite serviceable; in fact, a lot of it was purchased or reconditioned in the Reagan arms build-up of the 1980s. For example, the Navy spent between $300 and $500 million to recommission, and many hundreds of millions more to operate, each of four Iowa-class battleships that are now being turned into floating museums.

In the name of "protecting the defense industrial base," the same Congressional "deficit hawks" added billions of dollars to military spending bills last year to buy weapons the Pentagon did not request. The services are making room for these new arms by dumping many acquired during the Reagan build-up.

For instance, to make room for new ships that the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee wants, the Navy is unloading active-duty ships, including destroyers, frigates, amphibious and support ships. The Navy also wants to sell five Ticonderoga-class, billion-dollar cruisers in order to make room for new billion-dollar destroyers. Alternatively, the Navy could perform simple upgrades that would give it potent ships, keep shipyards busy, save American taxpayers billions of dollars, and curb proliferation. This kind of thrifty solution, however, would undercut support for new shipbuilding, threatening the interests of the shipyards and their representatives in the Navy and in Congress.

In a similar case, the Air Force, aircraft manufacturers and some members of Congress want to spend hundreds of billions of dollars for the development and production of the F-22 "stealth" fighter and the Joint Strike Fighter on the basis of advanced aircraft proliferating around the world, including F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft which the Air Force and Navy have declared surplus and are now unloading.

Moreover, immediate savings gained by giving arms away (as opposed to destroying them, for example) must be weighed against potential downstream costs. If these weapons contribute to the outbreak of warfare, or if they encourage dangerous surplus arms exports by other nations, they may end up costing American taxpayers a great deal. At a minimum, the Pentagon might be forced to spend more to defend against contingencies enabled by surplus arms shipped abroad; in the worst case, U.S. forces might actually be called on to intervene in an armed conflict fueled by such transfers.

Congressional Oversight

In recent years, both because of the improved security situation (end of the Cold War) and concerns about the budget deficit, the administration and Congress have reduced appropriations for foreign military assistance. During this same time, EDA and other surplus transfers have come to supplement and in some cases supplant Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Economic Support Fund (ESF), the traditional forms of security aid (see figure 3), offsetting these reductions. But while surplus weapons transfers now constitute a military aid program of major proportions, they do not entail the same level of Congressional oversight as do other forms of security assistance.

The foreign aid committees of Congress are notified of every transfer of EDA, no matter the value, prior to shipment of the weapons. This system results in more rigorous reporting than exists for any other arms transfer program. And, because of the arms industry's concern about competition from government giveaways, the EDA program is the most transparent of all U.S. security assistance programs. In 1993, the Pentagon created a computer bulletin board on excess weapons sales and grants, open to public use.

However, the full Congress never debates and votes on surplus grants, drawdowns or leases (with the exception of ship transfers), as it does on FMF, ESF and International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds. Since they are not required to vote, busy members pay little attention to these programs. At best, only about 20 percent of the members of the House and Senate (or their staff) those on the foreign affairs committees may even be aware of surplus arms transfers.

Further, in most cases the executive branch is required to notify Congress only of proposed transfers, not actual deliveries. The General Accounting Office reported in 1994 that "relevant Congressional committees do not know how many transfers were actually executed and what the total acquisition and current values of EDAs transferred to various recipients were." Harried Congressional staff do not have the time to track hundreds of surplus arms transfer notifications, determine whether delivery was made, and piece together a full picture of what is actually going where.

In 1994, the Pentagon and State Department began providing Congress with information on deliveries of EDA and leases entered into in the preceding year. However, with FMF, ESF and IMET, the Congress sets a cap on the amount of aid to be given before it is given. With surplus arms aid, Congress is only given composite information on transfers through these channels well after the fact, in the following year's budget justification documents. Even then, the executive branch provides no single accounting of all the various channels for surplus arms transfers, like we have attempted to do here.

Moreover, arriving at a real understanding of the value and quantity of equipment going overseas through these programs is challenging. Equipment transferred under leasing arrangements and through emergency drawdowns is not tracked with EDA. Confusion about pricing of excess equipment adds to the difficulty. All of this leads to a systematic obfuscation or undervaluing of the amount of equipment being transferred.

Regional Arms Races

Under the excess arms programs, the Army, Navy and the Air Force are transferring relatively sophisticated systems. Following the Gulf War, the Army gave Israel surplus Apache attack helicopters, Blackhawk transport helicopters, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and Patriot tactical anti-missiles. In 1995, four M-1 Abrams tank turrets were provided to Egypt as excess defense articles. (Egypt is building 535 M-1A1 tanks under license from General Dynamics.) All of these systems were fielded with U.S. forces in the 1980s.

Even older equipment, like M-60 tanks and F-4 aircraft purchased in the 1960s or 1970s, can remain quite formidable through regular upgrades and modifications. While these weapons seem dated to the U.S. armed services, they often become the centerpiece of foreign militaries. A discarded U.S. Navy ship, for instance, will serve as the flagship of Bahrain's navy. Similarly, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco have each received hundreds of used M-60 tanks for free, creating large modern tank armies which they otherwise could not afford.

The executive branch claims to consider thoroughly the implications of surplus transfers on the regional balance of forces. There is some evidence of this. For example, as a condition of the transfer of M-60 tanks to Egypt in 1990, the U.S. government required that Egypt retire one older tank for each M-60 received. Although this transfer resulted in no quantitative increase, it did result in a qualitative upgrade, since the new tanks are more effective.

In other cases, American surplus arms seem to be fanning regional rivalries, as excess weapons are sent to both sides of several on-going arms races. Most notable is the vast amount of arms that the United States has given to hostile NATO partners Turkey and Greece. In addition, significant quantities of surplus arms are going to Argentina and Chile. The two are embarked on a nascent arms race and on-going border disputes. Finally, in the Middle East, American surplus arms are flowing to both Israel and Egypt, engaged in a cold peace.

In 1994 Admiral Edward Shaefer, director of naval intelligence, called Turkish-Greek animosity "Among the most worrisome situations developing in Europe, and the one most dangerous to NATO as an institution." In February 1996, this long-simmering tension boiled over. President Clinton had to intervene to head off a military confrontation over a disputed island.

Shaefer said that "The Greco-Turkish dynamic has been exacerbated by a continuing Aegean naval buildup prompted by Western naval surplus disposals. Greece has acquired virtually a completely modernized surface force from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands....In order to redress the naval balance in the Aegean, Turkey has found it necessary to accept U.S. Navy offers for eight Knox-class frigates." The United States has not only transferred more than 16 warships to this antagonistic pair, but large quantities of tanks, aircraft and artillery, as well.

As Adm. Shaefer noted, the United States is not the only country getting rid of surplus arms, and contributing to regional arms races. The Federal Republic of Germany inherited and has been selling off the armed forces of the German Democratic Republic. Russia has been demobilizing troops in large numbers, creating an enormous surplus which it is seeking to sell, and the Netherlands has marketed abroad its older ships, aircraft and army vehicles. Other governments, too, can be expected to follow America's lead with respect to disposing of their surplus military stocks. Indeed, East European countries sought to export tanks and other combat equipment limited by the CFE Treaty, much as the United States did, only Poland and Czechoslovakia marketed their surplus weapons in Syria and Iran, causing great alarm in Washington.

Particularly dangerous in this respect is an Air Force initiative to sell old weapons to fund the procurement of new weapons. In early 1994 the U.S. Air Force disclosed plans to finance the purchase of up to 90 new F-16C/D aircraft through sales of some 360 older model F-16A/B fighter jets. USAF Vice Chief of Staff Michael Carns, an architect of the plan, said the scheme would give him "brand new war fighting planes at no cost to the taxpayer." - Lockheed Martin manufacturer of the F-16 is lobbying hard for the hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrade work and new USAF orders.

To overcome arms control opposition, the Air Force put a Madison Avenue spin on the sales plan, re-packaging it as "Coalition Force Enhancement" a way to strengthen friendly militar- ies. Over a dozen countries have been briefed on the availability of the cheap F-16s ($9-14 million per plane). Potential customers include Argentina, Chile, the Czech Republic, Egypt, South Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Thailand, and Tunisia.

There is precedent for this sort of off-budget procurement (although not to the magnitude envisioned here the Air Force plan would involve $5 billion of aircraft sales). In the fiscal year 1993 defense authorization bill, Congress permitted the Army to use $197 million from the sale of excess M-48 and M-60 tanks for the M-1 Abrams tank upgrade program. The act also allowed the use of $15.2 million from M-113 sales for the procurement of Bradley Fighting Vehicles. And in the fiscal year 1994 Department of Defense bill, the House Armed Services Committee suggested that the Navy sell excess Mk-46 torpedoes and use the pro- ceeds to offset buying the Mk-50 Advanced Light Weight Torpedo.

Again, the potential downstream costs of this practice are considerable, especially if other exporters follow our lead and seek to fund their weapons procurement through arms sales. In fact, the U.S. government has protested vociferously in the past when other governments pursued such a policy.

In 1991, China's practice of buying new weapons with the proceeds from weapons exports generated outrage and near hysteria in the western press. Similarly, U.S. government officials heavily denounced a Russian plan in the early 1990s to finance arms industry conversion through arms sales. In both cases, U.S. officials criticized the creation of a dangerous and short-sighted bureaucratic interest in selling weapons abroad.

Human Rights

Several of the countries receiving large quantities of U.S. arms through surplus programs are engaged in conflict, or have poor human rights records. In cases where government repression or other abuses are prevalent, transfers of small arms, light weapons, ammunition, bombs and missiles are of primary concern, as these are the implements which actually kill people. In addition, though, "non-lethal" equipment like observation and transport planes and helicopters is also of concern, as it is used to locate targets and deliver soldiers to those targets.

The Turkish government has a very well-documented record of abysmal human rights performance. According to the State Department, in 1995 "police and security forces often employed torture during periods of incommunicado detention and interrogation." In addition, the government is cited as being responsible for "mystery killings," disappearances and political repression.

Most abuses center around Turkey's repression of its Kurdish population and war against Kurdish militants. Police and military forces have destroyed some 2,000 villages, killed tens of thousands primarily civilians and displaced millions in its 12 year long war. The State Department acknowledged in a report last June that Turkey was employing American-supplied weapons in attacks on non-combattant populations. In particular, the report noted that Turkey has used M-113 armored personnel carriers and Cobra and Blackhawk helicopters in indiscriminate attacks on Kurdish villages. Turkey received 250 free M-113s as a result of the CFE Treaty limits, and 28 free Cobra helicopters under Section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act. In addition, the United States has sent Turkey hundreds of howitzers at no cost.

In Bahrain, government forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas into crowds of demonstrators demanding a restoration of the parliament, which the ruling al-Khalifa family dissolved in 1975. Anti-government demonstrations and bombings broke out in early January 1996 after several months of calm and continued through May. In addition to some measure of representative democracy, the protestors are demanding jobs, freedom of speech, the release of political prisoners, and the return of deported dissidents.

Last summer, members of Congress asked the administration's position on the demands of the Bahraini opposition. The State Department responded for the record that, "The United States supports expansion of political participation for all Bahrainis."

Nevertheless, during 1993-1995, but principally in 1995, the United States gave the ruling clique two C-130 military transport planes, six observation/light attack jets, 22 Cobra attack helicopters, 2,000 .38 caliber pistols and 120 grenade launchers. In addition, the Pentagon transferred 60 M-60 tanks under a lease arrangement. (The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain.)

According to the State Department's latest human rights report, the Colombian police and armed forces were responsible for "widespread human rights abuse" in 1995, including political and extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture. In addition to fighting narco-traffickers, Colombian armed forces and police are waging war against several left-wing political groups. There has long been concern in Washington that military aid provided to Colombia was being diverted to fight insurgents, and civilians thought to be complicit with them. Yet, as noted previously, Colombia is the largest recipient of grant EDA under the counternarcotics provision (see page 10).

Israel, the leading beneficiary of U.S. military and economic aid, used U.S.-supplied arms in its recent deadly assault in Lebanon, in which an ambulance and a U.N. refugee camp were apparently targeted as they were thought to be shielding Hezbollah guerillas. Under surplus grant arms programs, Israel has received nearly 65,000 M-16A1 rifles, 2,500 M-204 grenade launchers, 24 Apache attack helicopters, 65 F-15 and F-16 fighter-bomber jets.

Morocco, also a major recipient of grant EDA, is governed by a highly repressive monarchy which has illegally occupied the Western Sahara for 20 years. In 1991, the United Nations brokered a fragile peace agreement between Morocco and Polisario Front guerillas of the Western Sahara, who are seeking independence. However, Morocco has obstructed the peace process, and the resumption of fighting appears likely.

The United States has a long history of quiet but close military and intelligence ties to the Moroccan monarchy. In the past five years Morocco has taken delivery of significant quantities of U.S. surplus small arms, tanks and attack aircraft.

Industrial Base

Surplus weapons programs are a mixed bag for the arms industry. Smaller arms manufacturing companies largely support the EDA program, as they make money through upgrade and repair contracts on the excess equipment. In addition, free or reduced-price EDA transfers undercut foreign competitors, strengthening links between the U.S. military and foreign militaries and enhancing future business opportunities for the entire U.S. industry.

On the other hand, prime contractors have argued that EDA and other giveaways pose unfair competition, and that such transfers undermine the health of the "defense industrial base." Certain segments of the industry are being particularly hard hit by the flood of excess equipment onto the market. The helicopter industry and ammunition makers have been quite vocal in opposing surplus transfers.

Ironically, this self-interest leaves the arms industry as the main force pressing for arms control demilitarization of equipment rather than exports of it. For example, citing a case where the U.S. Army gave Greece 58,000 rounds of tank ammunition, which caused Greece to cancel a $30 million order, the CEO of Alliant Tech Systems argued in December 1993 that the government should "adopt demilitarization as the preferred strategy for disposing of unusable ammunition. This will lessen the pressure to give excess stocks away to potential foreign customers, while providing a source of income to help sustain the ammunition industrial base."

The Pentagon now takes greater pains to ensure that it does not jeopardize cash deals when offering EDA.28,47


Surplus weapons transfers will continue to be a prominent part of U.S. security assistance for the next several years, as the remainder of the weapons retired at the end of the Cold War are disbursed.

In cases where the U.S. armed services can save money by transferring appropriate equipment, which they no longer need, to responsible end-users, the practice would appear to benefit all involved: the services, U.S. taxpayers, and the recipients. But care must be taken that these criteria are met. It is not fiscally prudent to transfer weaponry that still has much useful life remaining, simply because the military services want newer, fancier equipment. It is especially unwise if, in the process of unloading older weapons, the services contribute to the regional instability that is now their major preoccupation. Moreover, appropriate equipment and appropriate levels of equipment would not fuel arms races or facilitate repression.

The following guidelines would help ensure that U.S. surplus arms transfers do not imperil innocent lives abroad or endanger American soldiers. These policy recommendations would also minimize the burden on U.S. taxpayers.

  • Provide a full accounting of all surplus arms transfers, using realistic values for the equipment. In 1994, the General Accounting Office called for fuller reporting by the executive branch on EDA transfers and lease arrangements. In particular, the oversight agency saw a need for Congress to be informed about the actual quantity of EDA delivered. The administration subsequently began to provide this information in its annual security assistance budget justification, called the "Congressional Presentation Document."

    However, many of the official statistics on U.S. arms exports routinely omit surplus arms transfers. For instance, the Pentagon's annual report Foreign Military Sales Facts, on U.S. arms exports, does not include grant EDA transfers. For leased equipment, only the rental fees are included in total export figures, rather than the value of the equipment being leased. Omitting these transfers dramatically undercounts total levels of U.S. arms exports, as evidenced by Appendix A.

    Mis-pricing by the services of EDA also understates the total amount of U.S. weaponry being exported. Most government sources measure levels of EDA transfers in the often-flawed discount values assigned by the military services. The Department of Defense concurred with the General Accounting Office's 1994 finding that the armed services have often failed to adhere to proper guidelines for pricing excess equipment. The Pentagon agreed to reinforce its guidance and procedures for pricing, but there is no evidence that these problems have been corrected. In 1995, Defense Security Assistance Agency figures still misstated the original acquisition price of EDA.23

    The services told GAO investigators that they lack incentive to adhere to the pricing guidelines, since they gain no economic advantage from EDA transfers. (In fact, the services currently have a vested interest in getting rid of excess equipment as quickly as possible, in order to minimize storage and maintenance costs for which they are charged.) Some sort of carrot or stick needs to be devised to ensure compliance with fair pricing procedures.

  • Prohibit funding the procurement of new weapons through proceeds from sales of old or surplus arms. While using arms sales proceeds to fund new weapons procurement might seem like a good deal for taxpayers, the downstream costs of such a policy are potentially enormous. There should be no built in incentive direct or indirect for the services to export excess arms. If other countries follow suit, taxpayers will be forced to fund higher levels of Pentagon spending to counter the threats posed by a much more highly militarized world.
  • Set and enforce caps on the amount of EDA and other surplus arms transfers per year. Unlike with other forms of security aid, Congress never votes on levels of surplus arms to individual countries. In fact, members of Congress and their staff are generally unaware of levels of surplus arms transfers until well after the export has occurred. Congress and the administration should set caps on the amount of surplus arms exports that each country is eligible for in the coming year. Because of the services' questionable pricing practices, these caps should be based on original acquisition value of the equipment.

    If policymakers are unwilling to set annual country-specific caps on surplus transfers, they should, at a minimum, set a firm cap on the overall amount of EDA and other surplus weapons that may be transferred to all countries in a given year.

    Currently, the Pentagon may export EDA worth $250 million in original acquisition value annually. Warships and their munitions, however, are exempted from this cap. Apparently because of this loophole, well over $500 million per year is actually being transferred (see table 4).

    A bill now pending in the Senate would raise the cap on grant EDA exports to $350 million per year in current value, placing no cap on the amount of EDA sales, but eliminating the exemption for naval vessels and their munitions. This change would represent a vast increase in the amount of EDA exports permitted. Given the low-ball pricing by the services of surplus equipment, $350 million in current value could easily comprise several billions of dollars of equipment in terms of the original cost. Moreover, since ship transfers currently require Congress to pass a law specifically approving the export, abolishing the ship exemption would not really engender greater oversight than already exists. Congress should set a cap measured in original acquisition value and ensure that it is not surpassed.

  • Prohibit surplus weapons transfers to repressive regimes. Despite law barring the provision of military aid to governments which are "gross and consistent" abusers of human rights, the United States has given away billions of dollars of surplus arms to abusive regimes.

    Strictly speaking, this is not now a violation of U.S. law; Sections 516 and 519 of the Foreign Assistance Act currently include a clause which exempts EDA from all legal restrictions. This clause ("not withstanding any other provision of law") means that the human rights, non-aggression and re-transfer provisions of the Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act do not apply to the vast majority of EDA transfers.

    Congress should repeal this clause. Transfers of surplus military equipment should be subject to all laws enacted to minimize the potential negative consequences of arms exports.

    In addition, Congress and the executive branch must marshal the political will to block surplus arms transfers to repressive regimes, even when the government in question is a current U.S. ally. Such regimes are by nature unstable, and channeling large amounts of free weaponry to them is not sound policy. In addition to abetting in the repression of people in those countries, such transfers may imperil U.S. security, if an unfriendly regime comes to power and inherits the U.S.-supplied arsenal.


1. For discussion of the origins of U.S. military assistance programs, see Chester J. Pach, Jr., Arming the Free World, Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina University Press, 1991.

2. We employ the same definition of "major" weapons systems as does the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery (caliber 100 mm), combat aircraft (including military transport planes), attack helicopters, warships, missiles and launchers (range 25 km). See U.N. General Assembly, Report of the Secretary-General [A/48/344], 11 October 1993.

3. The Pentagon is also disposing of an enormous amount of non-lethal surplus property, such as trucks, uniforms, spare parts, test and training equipment, office furniture, etc., which is outside the scope of this study.

4. International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, 1990-1991, pp. 25, 30; The Military Balance, 1995-1996, pp. 19, 25.

5. Washington Times, 21 February 1990, p. A3 and 2 March 1990, p. A3.

6. Congressional Record, 24 November 1993, p. E3033.

7. Defense News, 21-27 September 1992, p.4.

8. Philadelphia Inquirer, 24 September 1993.

9. Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6 March 1995, p. 57.

10. Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to the President and the Congress 1993, p. 82.

11. William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to the President and the Congress 1995, p. 184.

12. Jane's Defence Weekly, 4 February 1995, p. 9.

13. William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to the President and the Congress 1995, p. 200.

14. Wall Street Journal, 14 February 1994.

15. Jane's Defence Weekly, 2 April 1994.

16. Section 502, Foreign Assistance Act.

17. Section 3(a)(1), Arms Export Control Act.

18. Sections 502B, 620A, 487 and 505, Foreign Assistance Act.

19. U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Threat Control Through Arms Control, Report to Congress for 1994, released July 1995, p. 32.

20. Report by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, pursuant to Public Law 102-228 and Section 94(b)(2) of the Arms Export Control Act, 30 August 1994; U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance: Excess Defense Articles for Foreign Countries" [GAO/NSIAD-93-164FS], March 1993.

21. Dr. Louis J. Samelson, "Excess Defense Articles," DISAM Journal, Spring 1992, p. 111; U.S. General Accounting Office, Security Assistance: Need for Improved Reporting on Excess Defense Article Transfers" [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], January 1994, pp. 34-36.

22. According to Department of Defense regulation 7000.14-R, contained in Security Assistance Policy and Procedures, the value of excess equipment is decided as follows: 1) determine the normal peacetime life of the weapon system; 2) determine the percentage of useful life remaining, taking into consideration the condition of the item; and 3) apply this percentage to the original acquisition price.
Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) placed in the Congressional Record an explanation by the Pentagon of how such methodology could result in the price of surplus M-60A3 tanks varying widely, from $130,000, to $790,000 per tank, in recent sales. (Congressional Record, 24 November 1993, p. E3033.)

23. GAO investigators found that original acquisition prices of EDA were sometimes under-reported, too. According to the GAO, the original price of C-130 transport planes is $12 million, but the USAF reported the original cost as $6.9 million. (U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance..." [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], pp. 29-32.)
In 1995, the USAF was stating the original acquisition cost of C-130Bs as $2.1-3.3 million, according to data we received from the Defense Security Assistance Agency.

24. U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance..." [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], p. 16 for period 1990-1992; Defense Security Assistance Agency data for 1993-1995. These data include notification by the Pentagon of plans to offer as EDA not only major military equipment, but spare parts, ammunition and non-lethal equipment.

25. Section 31(d), Arms Export Control Act.

26. U.S. Department of State, Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, fiscal years 1995-1997.

27. Section 731(a) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for fiscal years 1994 and 1995 added this language to sections 516-519 of the Foreign Assistance Act, which govern EDA eligibility.

28. In 1993 the Pentagon decided that where a recipient country could afford it, new equipment would be offered first. Only if the customer rejected that option would EDA be offered. Under this policy, however, the provision of financing assistance by the U.S. government including grant financing is included in calculations of whether a country can afford to buy the system new. See Jane's Defence Weekly, 13 November 1993.

29. Sections 516-520 of the Foreign Assistance Act require advance notice to Congress of proposed grant transfers. Transfers authorized under Sections 516 and 518 require 30 day pre-notification. Those authorized by Sections 517 and 519 require 15 days. Section 546 of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act of 1993 requires 15 day prior notification to Congress of EDA sales.

30. Section 7307 of Public Law 84-1028.

31. Section 620E(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act, known as the "Pressler Amendment" after its sponsor, Senator Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), requires that "No assistance shall be furnished to Pakistan and no military equipment of technology shall be sold or transferred to Pakistan...unless the President shall have certified...that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device and that the proposed United States assistance program will reduce significantly the risk that Pakistan will possess a nuclear explosive device." This law was enacted in 1985. In 1990 President Bush was unable to make the requisite certification, triggering a cut-off of military aid, including EDA.

32. Section 542 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1995 (Public Law 103-306) directs that countries authorized for EDA under Section 516 take priority over all other countries. In fiscal year 1993, Section 516 transfers accounted for 95 percent of all grant EDA transfers, and over 70 percent of all grant and sales EDA combined (in terms of original acquisition value of the equipment transferred).

33. Section 15 of the International Narcotics Control Act of 1990 (Public Law 102-623) changed this restriction from "only" to "primarily," apparently because the former requirement was not being met. 34. Letter from the Defense Security Assistance Agency to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 3 August 1995, DSAA reference no. I-01774/95.

35. U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance..." [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], p. 26.

36. Presidential Determination No. 95-17, "Drawdown of Commodities and Services from the Inventory and Resources of the department of Defense to Support Activities of the Palestinian Police Force," dated 16 March 1995, White House ID no. 9501944; William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to the President and the Congress 1996, p. J-2.

37. Section 509, Foreign Relations Act for Fiscal Years 1994-1995 (Public Law 103-236). 38. Letter from Secretary of Defense William Perry to Benjamin Gilman, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, 5 July 1995.

39. Section 599B, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (Public Law 101-513).

40. Jane's Defence Weekly, 10 October 1992, p. 7.

41. Section 7307 of Public Law 84-1028.

42. U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance..." [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], p.12.

43. U.S. Department of State, Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, fiscal year 1997, p. 475.

44. U.S. Department of State, Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, fiscal year 1996, p. 504.

45. U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense, Congressional Presentation for Promoting Peace, fiscal year 1995, p. 205.

46. According to Chas. Freeman, Jr., then Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Security Affairs, "The Excess Defense Articles program provides a useful and cost effective means of assisting U.S. allies and friends to modernize their defense forces....[P]roviding Excess Defense Articles to the recipient governments at no cost to the U.S. government saves the military departments millions of dollars in storage, transportation, demilitarization and disposal costs." U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance..." [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], p. 43.

47. Congressional Quarterly, 17 February 1996, p. 398.

48. Section 1012, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (Public Law 104-106).

49. Ibid.

50. At the urging of industry, Congress included the "Excess Property Business Initiative" in the Fiscal Year 1993 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. This provision required the Pentagon to establish an on-line computer database on EDA transfers, to keep industry informed of Pentagon marketing of free goods. This bulletin board was the source of much of the information contained in this report.

51. U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance..." [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], p. 27.

52. Wall Street Journal, 14 February 1994.

53. U.S. Department of State, "Turkey," Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995.

54. Amnesty International USA, Human Rights and U.S. Security Assistance 1995, p. 48.

55. U.S. Department of State, Report to Congress on Allegations of Human Rights Abuses by the Turkish Military and on the Situation in Cyprus, June 1995. For a more thorough-going assessment of the use by Turkey of U.S.-supplied arms, see Weapons Transfers and Violations of the Laws of War in Turkey, Human Rights Watch Arms Project (New York, 1995).

56. Overview of U.S. Policy in the Middle East, hearing of the House International Relations Committee on 2 August 1995, p. 118.

57. U.S. Department of State, "Colombia," Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995.

58. Washington Post, 4 December 1995, p. A26.

59. National Defense, December 1993, pp. 22-23.

60. U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance..." [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], p. 49.

61. The House passed H.R.3121 on 16 April. The Senate is set to consider it in late May or June. See Congressional Record, 16 April 1996.

APPENDIX C Countries and International Organizations Eligible for American Arms


Angola | Benin | Botswana | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cameroon | Cape Verdi | Central African Rep. | Chad | Comoros | Congo | Cote D'Ivoire | Djibouti | Equatorial Guinea | Eritrea | Ethiopia | Gabon | Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Kenya | Lesotho | Liberia | Madagascar | Malawi | Mali | Mauritania | Mauritius | Mozambique | Namibia | Niger | Nigeria | Rwanda | Sao Tome & Principe | Senegal | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Somalia | South Africa | Sudan | Tanzania | Togo | Uganda | Zaire | Zambia | Zimbabwe |

Latin America and the Caribbean

Antigua & Barbuda | Argentina | Bahamas | Barbados | Belize | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Costa Rica | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | El Salvador | Grenada | Guatemala | Guyana | Haiti | Honduras | Jamaica | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | St. Kitts-Nevis | St. Lucia | St. Vincent & Grenadines | Suriname | Trinidad & Tobago |

East Asia and the Pacific

Australia | Brunei | Burma | Cambodia | China | Cook Islands | Fiji | Indonesia | Japan | Korea (South) | Laos | Malaysia | Marshall Islands | Micronesia | Mongolia | New Zealand | Papua New Guinea | Philippines | Singapore | Solomon Islands | Taiwan | Thailand | Tonga | Vanuatu | Vietnam | Western Samoa |

Europe and Canada

Albania | Austria | Belgium | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Canada | Czech Republic | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia | France | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | Luxembourg | Lithuania | Malta | Netherlands | Norway | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Slovakia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey | United Kingdom | Yugoslavia |

Near East

Algeria | Bahrain | Egypt | Iran | Israel | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Morocco | Oman | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | Yemen Arab Republic |

South Asia Afghanistan | Bangladesh | India | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka |

International Organizations

North Atlantic Treaty Organization | United Nations Organization of African Unity | Organization of American States |

Selected Sources on Surplus Weapons

Defense Institute for Security Assistance Management, The Management of Security Assistance, Eleventh Edition, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, April 1991.

Defense Institute for Security Assistance Management, Security Assistance Management Manual, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, May 1994.

Department of Defense Excess Defense Article computer bulletin board system, Washington, D.C., (703) 604-6470 (computer, modem and communications software necessary to access this system).

U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance: Excess Defense Articles for Foreign Countries" [GAO/NSIAD-93-164FS], Washington, D.C., March 1993.

U.S. General Accounting Office, "Security Assistance: Excess Defense Articles for Foreign Countries" [GAO/NSIAD-94-27], Washington, D.C., January 1994.

Jackson, Collins M., "Excess Defense Articles Transfers: Problems and Necessary Actions," The DISAM Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, Fall 1994, pp. 80-85.

Pierre, Andrew J., Arms Transfers and American Foreign Policy (New York: New York University Press, 1979).

Samelson, Louis J., " Excess Defense Articles," The DISAM Journal, Vol. 14, No. 3, Spring 1992, p. 111-116.

FAS Home | ASMP Home | Search | About ASMP
Publications | Sales Data | Issues | Resources