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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Advanced Conventional Weapons

An important component of the United States' nonproliferation policy is preventing the proliferation of advanced conventional weapons (ACW). ACW are modern, sophisticated munitions designed for conventional warfare. The international community faces growing new threats related to the proliferation of ACW. The U.S. strives to control the proliferation of ACW by promoting transparent and responsible transfers to prevent destabilizing accumulations of military capabilities; and coordinating national export control policies on these weapons and on the dual-use goods and technologies important in their development and production. Such efforts help to protect U.S. goods and technologies from exploitation; hinder terrorists and other non-state end-users from acquiring such systems; and avoid exacerbating regional instabilities.

The systems include, but are not limited to, Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS); major weapons systems and heavy military equipment (tanks, aircraft, missiles); sensors and lasers; and precision-guided munitions.

The Department is active both bilaterally and multilaterally to prevent the proliferation of ACW. The Bureau of Nonproliferation chairs an interagency working group that seeks to prevent the transfer of ACW to countries and regions of concern. In addition, the U.S. is a participating state in the Wassenaar Arrangement. The Arrangement seeks to prevent destabilizing buildups of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies by a formal process of transparency, consultation, and where appropriate, restraint. Participants have agreed to control, through national policies, those items and technologies contained in a list of dual-use goods and technologies and a separate munitions list. See fact sheet on the Wassenaar Arrangement for more information.


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