Fiscal Year 2023 U.S. Arms Transfers and Defense Trade: An Update

Arms transfers and defense trade are important U.S. foreign policy tools with potential long-term implications for regional and global security. 

For this reason, the US follows a holistic approach when reviewing arms transfer decisions, in accordance with the U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, and weighs political, social, human rights, civilian protection, economic, military, nonproliferation, technology security, and end use factors to determine the appropriate provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales of defense articles to U.S. allies and partners.

Given the multiyear implementation timeframes for many arms transfers and defense trade cases, the Department reports three-year rolling averages. 

Each proposed transfer is carefully assessed on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act and related legislation, policy, and guidance. 

Major defense transfers and sales are also subject to Congressional notification and review.

Foreign Military Sales:

In FY 2023 the total value of transferred defense articles and services and security cooperation activities conducted under the Foreign Military Sales system was $80.9 billion. 

This represents a 55.9% increase, up from $51.9 billion in FY2022.  

This is the highest annual total of sales and assistance provided to our allies and partners.

The $80.9 billion figure for the FY 2023 includes $62.25 billion in arms sales funded by U.S. ally and partner nations; $3.97 billion funded through the Title 22 Foreign Military Financing program; and $14.68 billion funded through other Department of State programs (such as International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs) and Department of Defense Building Partner Capacity programs (like the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative).

The three-year rolling average value for transferred defense articles and services and security cooperation activities conducted under the Foreign Military Sales system was for FY 2021-FY 2023 was $55.9 billion. 

This represents a 21.9% increase from $45.8 billion for FY 2020-FY 2022.  

  FY2022 FY2023 % Change
FMS — Total Value $51.9B $80.9B +55.9%
  FY20-22 FY21-23 % Change
FMS — Three-Year Rolling Average $45.8B $55.9B +21.9%

Examples of government-to-government FMS sales notified to Congress in FY 2023 include: Poland – AH-64E Apache Helicopters $12 billion, Poland – High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) $10 billion, Germany – CH-47F Chinook Helicopters $8.5 billion, Australia – C-130J-30 Aircraft $6.35 billion, Canada – P-8A Aircraft $5.9 billion, Czech Republic – F-35 Aircraft And Munitions $5.62 billion, Republic of Korea – F-35 Aircraft $5.06 billion, Poland – Integrated Air And Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) $4.0 billion, Poland – M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks $3.75 billion, Kuwait – National Advanced Surface-To-Air Missile System (NASAMS) Medium Range Air Defense System (MRADS) $3 billion, Germany – AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-To-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) $2.90 billion, Kuwait – Follow-On Technical Support $1.8 billion, Bulgaria – Stryker Vehicles $1.5 billion, Republic of Korea – CH-47F Chinook Helicopters $1.5 billion,  Japan – E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) Airborne Early Warning And Control (AEW&C) Aircraft $1.381 billion, Norway – Defense Articles And Services Related to the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters $1.0 billion, Qatar – Fixed Site-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (FS-LIDS) $1.0 billion.

Direct Commercial Sales:

The total authorized value for privately contracted Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) authorizations for FY 2023 was $157.5 billion, which includes the value of hardware, services, and technical data authorized from exports, temporary imports, reexports, retransfers, and brokering. 

This represents a 2.5% increase, up from $153.6 billion in FY2022.  

The three-year rolling average of DCS authorizations issued by the State Department for FY 2021-FY 2023 was $124.9 billion, which was a 2.5% increase over the period FY2020-FY2022. 

  FY 2022 FY 2023 % Change
DCS — Total Value $153.6B $157.5B +2.5%
Total Licenses Adjudicated 22,138 23,474 +6.0%
Total Licensed Entities 14,861 14,445 +2.9%
  FY 20-22 FY 21-23 % Change
DCS — Three-Year Rolling Average $107.2B $124.9B +16.5%

Examples of major DCS Congressional Notifications (CNs) in FY2023 include: 

  • Italy – For the manufacturing of F-35 wing assemblies and sub-assemblies ($2.8 billion) 
  • India – For the manufacturing of GE F414-INS6 Engine hardware ($1.8 billion) 
  • Singapore – F100 propulsion system and spare parts to the Republic of Singapore, and the Ministry of Defense ($1.2 billion)
  • South Korea – F100 propulsion system and spare parts to the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense ($1.2 billion)
  • Norway, Ukraine – National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS), Norwegian Ministry of Defence, and Ukraine Ministry of Defence ($1.2 billion)
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Patriot Guided Missile – Tactical, Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces ($1 billion)

Current year numbers are not predictive of future year sales, which may increase or decrease due to several factors, including fluctuating foreign defense budgets, regional security issues, and ongoing changes to defense trade licensing jurisdiction resulting in changes in technology and export controls.