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Foreign military sales (FMS)

Definition Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is a U.S. government program that facilitates sales of American defense equipment, services, and training to foreign governments. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Defense through agreements with foreign nations. This aids in enhancing the security and defense capabilities of allied countries, while promoting U.S. national security […]

Definition

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is a U.S. government program that facilitates sales of American defense equipment, services, and training to foreign governments. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Defense through agreements with foreign nations. This aids in enhancing the security and defense capabilities of allied countries, while promoting U.S. national security interests.

Key Takeaways

  1. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) refers to the United States government’s program for selling defense equipment, services, and training to allied and partner nations. This helps to promote global security and stability.
  2. The FMS program operates as a form of security assistance and is completely financed by the recipient countries. This enables nations that might not have the capacity to purchase high-quality military equipment directly, to still have access to these resources.
  3. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency oversees the FMS program. The process involves several steps such as case development, implementation, execution, and finally closure, ensuring full governmental oversight on such transactions to maintain the integrity of the program and adhere to U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Importance

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is an important term in military operations as it signifies the program under which the U.S. government operates as an intermediary in selling U.S.

defense equipment, services, and training to foreign allies and partners. This is vital because it enhances regional stability and defense capabilities, strengthening international relationships and bolstering global security.

FMS plays a key role in fostering these mutual security relationships, as it provides logistical and operational support and helps to ensure that these resources are used in a strategic and responsible manner. It supports the U.S.

defense industry and helps maintain the country’s industrial base, which is ultimately crucial for the U.S.’ readiness and national security.

Explanation

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) play a critical role in enhancing global security, promoting peace, and establishing diplomatic ties. Essentially, FMS act as a mechanism through which countries can procure military equipment, defense articles, training, and services from the United States. The primary purpose of this instrument is to aid in the bolstering of the defense capabilities of American allies, subsequently reinforcing international alliances and security cooperation.

The operational utility of FMS is multifaceted. On one hand, it assists the U.S. in fostering strategic relationships with partner nations, facilitating a robust military interoperability that serves American global interests.

On the other hand, it helps recipient nations modernize their military forces, counter threats, and participate effectively in coalition operations. The focus is not merely on the sale of equipment but also extends to enhancing operational readiness and capacity building of friendly nations’ forces. Thus, FMS are both a diplomatic channel of military aid and a potent tool to improve the global strategic environment.

Examples of Foreign military sales (FMS)

F-16 Fighter Jets to Taiwan: The US State Department in 2019 approved the sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan via FMS, in a move to bolster Taiwan’s defensive capabilities against potential aggression from Mainland China. This was a tangible example of FMS in action.

Saudi Arabia’s Purchase of THAAD Antimissile Defense Systems: In 2018, the U.S. signed a Foreign Military Sales deal to sell Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile defense system to Saudi Arabia, responding to the latter’s need to improve its defense infrastructure due to the growing threats in the Middle East region.

AH-64 Apaches to India: In 2020, The United States completed the delivery of Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopters to India as part of a multimillion-dollar foreign military sales deal. These helicopters enhanced the Indian Air Force’s combat capabilities particularly in terms of its ability to conduct precision strikes.

FAQ – Foreign Military Sales (FMS)

1. What is Foreign Military Sales (FMS)?

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is a security assistance program regulated by the U.S. government, selling defense articles, defense services, and military training to foreign countries and international organizations.

2. Who benefits from the FMS?

The FMS program is not only advantageous to the U.S., but also to its allied countries. Apart from strengthening the defensive capabilities of allies, the FMS also promotes national and global security, increases foreign policy influence, and fosters better military-to-military contacts.

3. How is the pricing determined in FMS?

Pricing in FMS sales are calculated based on a no-profit, no-loss principle. The U.S. Government does not make profit from the deal, however, it seeks to recover the costs associated with the management of the program.

4. Can any country purchase defense articles via FMS?

No, not every country can engage in a Foreign Military Sales program. The President determines which countries are eligible to make a purchase via FMS based on foreign policy and national security considerations.

5. What are defense articles and services?

Defense articles refer to any weapon, weapons system, munition, aircraft, vessel, boat or other implement of war. Defense services include any service, test, inspection, repair, training, publication, technical or other assistance, or defense information used for the purpose of making sales.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)
  • Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA)
  • Direct commercial sales (DCS)
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
  • Security Assistance Program

Sources for More Information

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