A lot of events are taking place currently in the United States of America as far as policymaking is concerned. It is evident that various arms of governments play critical roles in determining these events and policies and how they are carried out and implemented. The federal arms of government have three parts. They include Executive (President and about 5 million workers), the judicial (Supreme Court and lower Courts) and the Legislative (Senate and House of Representatives). One of the current events in the United States is the Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy. Since its one of the heated debates in the country today, as much as these arms of government plays critical roles in its welfare, this paper only considers the part of the executive with regards to this policy and current event.
Over the years, U.S. arms exports have been used by the county as an epitome of power and influence to give it a political edge over their clients. Recently, Trump's administration released its new Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy. Increasing the export of arms is viewed as part of the goals by the administration to strengthen the country's security and economy and thus increasing the country's already established dominance of the global market as far as ammunitions are concerned.
However, the administration has placed too much emphasis on the economic utility of arms sales. This increases the bargaining power of their clients thus reducing the political influence and sway of the U.S. The administration is releasing advanced military earlier than expected due to leverage of client states and U.S. arms industry without taking into account human rights considerations raised by the Congress. These additional security and economic steps taken by the Trump administration may end up eroding the base of some of the excellent benefits intended by the new CAT policy. Placing too much emphasis on the economic protectionist agenda such as the imposition of tariffs on aluminum and steel could lead to low sales by U.S. defense since it will stir up prices or even retaliation from the affected arms clients (Knorr, 2016).
Also, the political tension between the country and some of its allies like in NATO may also lead them to find ways in which they can decrease their dependence on American made arms and create industrial cooperation between themselves without the U.S. This could potentially lead to increased competition for the global market for the sales of weapons and subsystems and thus harm the future of U.S. arms and subsystem sales.
The Trump administration's argument in presenting this new CAT policy is that it will enable Washington to preserve global peace by reducing the need for the American boots on the ground since it shall have strengthened the military capabilities of its partners and allies. It is also doing this as a response to the ever-increasing competition between the great superpowers. By doing this, it enables the U.S. to promote innovations and inventions, helps in supporting the defense industry, helps the country to maintain its influence over the actions and policies of its client's state in critical places around the world as well as keeping American Jobs. This new policy also entails the need for an assessment of the dangers that the transfer of these arms poses to technology transfer issues, U.S. nonproliferation objectives, and human rights (Mayer, 2017).
What strengthens this policy is the President's vision that achieving economic security is also achieving national security. Since the aerospace and defense industry is America's second largest gross exporter as the sector contributes a revenue of around $ 1 trillion annually to the economy and provides employment to approximately 2.5 million people, it is thus evident that this policy will go a long way in improving the country economic might even further. This will also reduce the cost-per-unit for U.S. military, reduce the need for domestic investment significantly and increase investment in innovation hence maintaining America's technological lead.
The new CAT policy is made to improve the dynamics of the administration's arms export system. This effort is prompted by current leadership advocacy lead by the president and by hands-on which include American diplomats around the globe and senior officials who participate in international arms-show. The executive is also trying to engage with the U.S. arms industry to add it to the interagency process of implementing this policy. During the planning phase of the new CAT policy, the U.S. Chambers of Commerce's new Defense and Aerospace Export Council presented 30 recommendations on how to improve the decision processes of the arms export.
The executive is also engaging congress about the concerns being raised over possible violation of the client states' human rights and the administration is taking the initiative to address them at the highest level. The administration is considering measures such as helping their allies with the identification of their critical needs, providing them with the financial support to carry out these needs, reduction of check out fees and transport costs, as well as engaging with the industry to come up with the strategies to deal with the issue of counterclaims from the clients while being able to compete for sales effectively (Crookes and Knoerich, 2015).
Even though the new CAT policy is impressive in ambition and expectations, it is based on many assumptions. There are those sectors of the administration which believes that the policy if implemented in its design, would lead to exponential increase in the export of the arms annually. This is as predicted by the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thomson about the level of arms export for 2019. He thinks that by that time, the CAT policy will have been in place and feedback received from the industry and partners to help them increase the efficiencies hence increased sales (Beck, 2018).
Nevertheless, these sales tend to depend on what clients want to buy thus rendering the annual worth of arms export from the country uneven. Even the purchase of one primary weapon such as warplanes can solely boost the value of arms export in a given year. The arms export revenue can also be affected by other administrative policies outside of CAT such as the imposition of the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
The traditional U.S. arms production partners have become increasingly worried over their continued cooperation with the U.S. This is because the administration has resorted to the use of export rules to improve its commercial competition over other exporters dependent on the U.S made arms components. This worry is evidenced in the case where the U.S. refused to authorize the sale of parts for the sale of the French SCALP cruise missile to Egypt. Right now the French government is considering reducing its dependence on the U.S. made components for their weapon systems by establishing their parallel components production which could lead to competition for the U.S. in the future.
The executive is also considering re-introduction of previously banned advanced capabilities for exports. This is partly due to the desire to increase revenue from arms exports - for example, the push by the administration to redefine the categorization of unnamed aerial aircraft which is expected to increase the share of America on the global market. Permissions have been given to countries in Asia-Pacific, some countries in Europe and India to market armed drones. This move is expected to increase America's share of the global market from $6 billion in 2015 to $12 billion by 2025.
In conclusion, given the circumstances of reverse leverage, the influence of the U.S. over the arms use is likely to be of considerable importance in the booming market where most of the countries buy arms and America's revenue is expected to increase in the coming years. But still, they are likely to face challenges from the superpower countries like the Germans and Russians.
Beck, U. (2018). The reinvention of politics: Rethinking modernity in the global social order. John Wiley & Sons.
Crookes, P. I., & Knoerich, J. (Eds.). (2015). Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations in an Era of Technological Change: Security, Economic and Cultural Dimensions. Springer.
Knorr, K. (2016). Power and wealth: the political economy of international power. Springer
Mayer, J. (2017). Dark money: The hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right. Anchor Books.
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