This week, the Pentagon outlined steps to speed up its lagging foreign military sales process by engaging in better discussions with other foreign governments about their defense needs and expanding the industry’s capacity to produce more military equipment.
Speaking to reporters, Sasha Baker, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, said American allies and partners are a “center of gravity and the greatest strategic advantage for the US military.” Baker told reporters that the National Defense Strategy is a “call to action for the defense enterprise to incorporate our allies and partners across the board at every stage of defense planning” and that FMS has “a big role to play in that process.”
The US sells tens of billions of dollars of weaponry to allies in a year, usually reaching a high of $83.5 billion in 2020 before dropping to nearly $35 billion the next year and then growing again to $52 billion in 2022.
However, the Pentagon’s process of approving and delivering weapons to nations like Taiwan has been sluggish, lagging for several months and drawing concerns from lawmakers and partner nations in desperate need of US weaponry. Baker said the Pentagon’s panel is reviewing the FMS process and will recommend changes regarding how the military does business but cautioned that there was not a single “silver bullet” to fix the process.
Other changes that officials at the Pentagon highlighted included cutting down delays in processing, a new Defense Security Cooperation Service akin to the existing Defense Attache Service, and organization and security cooperation processes.
The new steps will help security cooperation officers obtain training and professional development to make “good choices and decisions” while working with customers, said Baker.
Baker also noted that the industrial base expansion strategy by the Pentagon will achieve better use of multiyear contracts. The Pentagon officials noted that it will help expand production capacity, including production increase capacity for high-demand, low-supply systems, and munitions, aiding its goal of improving the FMS process and building a greater supply for foreign customers.
Regarding timing challenges between Washington and allies over weaponry readiness, the Pentagon has created a monthly meeting on FMS issues whereby combatant commanders can highlight cases that need more attention from senior leaders or have gone wrong and need correction.
The latest announcement from the Pentagon comes as the Pentagon is currently short on producing new weaponry and equipment for the US army, given supply chain issues and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The US Navy, Marines, Air Force, and other sectors are experiencing a lack of sophisticated technology and recruits following the gridlock in Congress and so-called ‘woke’ policies entering the armed forces.