- The Washington Times - Monday, February 20, 2017

The sale of American-made weapons to the global community is surging ahead, with the United States controlling nearly one-third of all military-grade arms and equipment fielded by international forces, according to new analysis of the international arms market.

During a four-year period beginning in 2012, American weapons manufacturers increased their overseas sales by 21 percent, compared to sales figures during a previous four-year cycle starting in 2007, analysts at the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said Monday.

“The USA supplies major arms to at least 100 countries around the world — significantly more than any other supplier state’, said Dr. Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

“Both advanced strike aircraft with cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions and the latest generation air and missile defence systems account for a significant share of US arms exports,” Dr. Fleuant said in a statement accompanying the report.

China boosted its international sales percentages from 3.8 percent of the market from 2007 to 2011, to 6.2 percent of the world market from 2012 to 2016, the report states.

This uptick has firmly secured Beijing’s role as “a top-tier supplier” of weapons and equipment to international militaries, putting China on par with military defense firms in France and Germany, analysts say.

Russian-based defense firms accounted for just over 23 percent of all global arms sales during the same four-year period, analysts say.

News of Washington’s position as the top armorer for the word’s armies comes months after a dire Pentagon assessment of it’s own foreign weapons program.

The Pentagon sold over $33 billion in military-grade weapons, materiel and equipment to partner nations across the globe in 2016, which is $13 billion less than what the United States had sold in the previous years, according to a Defense Department report in November.

Of the $33.6 billion tallied by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Pentagon directorate overseeing the department’s financial interactions with international allies, in 2016 roughly $25.7 billion came directly from weapon sales to partner countries.

In 2015, the Pentagon racked up $35.3 billion in weapon sales alone, excluding the non-procurement efforts from the agency’s programs, which garnered the Pentagon a total of $11.7 billion that year.

However the agency’s three to five year economic forecast of its foreign weapons sales did sync up with Monday’s SIPRI report. Beginning in 2014, “you can see the continuing, growing sales-trend over the last decade,” agency Director Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey said in November.

• Carlo Muñoz can be reached at cmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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