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February 11, 2008 

Heritage Foundation Issues Policy Papers on U.S. Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties and President's Export Controls Directive

The Heritage Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think tank, recently issued policy papers analyzing the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties that the U.S. signed with Australia and the United Kingdom and President Bush's recently issued Export Controls Directive.

In a Backgrounder issued last Friday, Baker Spring, Heritage's F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy, analyzes the various provisions and implementing arrangements of the treaties and concludes that because the treaties would benefit U.S. security interests that the Senate should ratify the treaties.

In a Web Memo issued last week, Mr. Spring compares President Bush's January 22, 2008 Export Control Directive to the export control reforms proposed by the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness last March. Mr. Spring concludes his analysis by noting that:

President Bush's January 22 Directive adopts most of the reforms proposed by the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness last March. Thus, it represents a significant step forward in reforming the processes used by the State Department and other executive branch agencies to administer arms export laws and policies. While the Directive is not the ultimate strategy for adapting to the post-Cold War world, it will make the arms export system more effective and efficient.

The new security environment, however, requires fundamental policy and legislative changes. The Directive addresses only how the executive branch operates the machinery of the arms export control system. It does not address how to achieve more fundamental goals, including targeting arms export restrictions, bringing U.S. friends and allies into the system in order to facilitate joint actions in the fight against terrorists, and accounting for the fact that defense procurements are increasingly dependent on an industrial base that cuts across national borders. While it works to implement the new Directive, the Bush Administration should start laying the groundwork for more fundamental changes in U.S. arms export control policies.




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