Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process
February 25, 2019
This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President.
This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the retransfer to third-party states of such military items.
Under Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), Congress must be formally notified 30 calendar days before the Administration can take the final steps to conclude a government-to-government foreign military sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more, or design and construction services valued at $200 million or more.
Commercially licensed arms sales also must be formally notified to Congress 30 calendar days before the export license is issued if they involve the sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, or defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more (Section 36(c) AECA).
In the case of sales to NATO member states, NATO, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel,or New Zealand, Congress must be formally notified 15 calendar days before the Administration is authorized to proceed with a given sale.
As with government-to-government sales, the prior notice threshold values are higher for sales to NATO members, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand.
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