U.S. Foreign Military Sales Agreements Up in 1996

U.S. government-to-government conventional weapons transfers increased slightly in 1996, keeping U.S. arms exports above Cold War levels, according to a June 4 Pentagon report. Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and Military Assistance Facts, published by the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), reported that U.S. government foreign military sales (FMS) agreements increased from $8.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 1995 to $10.4 billion in FY 1996. All regional markets for U.S. weapons grew except those in Canada, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The Near East and South Asia region comprised 40 percent of the agreements, replacing Europe as the leading region importing U.S. arms in 1996. Latin America and the Caribbean agreed to just under $125 million in weapons and defense equipment deals, trailed only by Africa with $12.3 million in deals. With $1.42 billion in FMS agreements, Egypt was the largest importing country, followed closely by Saudi Arabia with $1.3 billion and South Korea with $998.9 million.

From 1950 to 1996, U.S. FMS agreements averaged $6.1 billion annually, adjusted for inflation. After the success of U.S. technology in the Gulf War, they reached the unprecedented level of $32.4 billion in 1993. Since 1993, FMS agreements have steadily declined but still remain above their Cold War average.