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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Small Arms/Light Weapons Destruction (SA/LW)


Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC

($ in thousands)


FY 2005 Actual

FY 2006 Actual

FY 2007 Request

FY 2008 Request






NADR-SA/LW Funds are administered by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

The Global War on Terrorism demands a robust U.S. Government program that aggressively combats the risk of the conventional arms threat. The proliferation of conventional weapons, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and other small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) and associated munitions, poses a direct threat to the national security of the United States. The NADR-SA/LW program addresses the threat from these and other conventional weapons.

Post Cold War-era surpluses of small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) worldwide-often poorly secured and susceptible to theft or illicit transfer-have become a major source of arms on the global black market. The SA/LW program encourages nations to reduce MANPADS inventories and offers assistance in securing remaining stocks. The Small Arms/Light Weapons Destruction Program seeks to destroy surplus and illicit stocks of military SA/LW and associated ammunition, as well as to assist states to properly secure remaining SA/LW stocks required for legitimate defense needs so that they will not leak into the black market. The program supports U.S. national interests in promoting regional stability, minimizing threats to civilian populations, combating terrorism and crime, rebuilding post-conflict societies, and protecting U.S. and allied forces deployed overseas. SA/LW generally refers to military-style automatic rifles, machine guns, man-portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and light mortars.

If not expeditiously destroyed or secured, stocks of arms and ammunition left over after the cessation of hostilities frequently recirculate into neighboring regions, exacerbating conflict and crime. The SA/LW program often encounters weapons storage facilities and procedures that could be significantly improved and made more secure with modest improvements. Assisting states to properly secure SA/LW stocks required for defense needs help prevent many weapons from leaking into the black market. This includes not only SA/LW stocks but also larger caliber munitions that the Department will be able to address to counter the threat that poses immediate dangers to civilians and state infrastructures. The program offers large dividends in threat reduction for a modest investment and complements other efforts in the war on terrorism.

The small arms/light weapons program has had a number of successes, including:

  • The destruction/disabling of over 16,000 man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) since 2003.
  • The destruction of over 800,000 SA/LW and over 80 million rounds of ammunition in 20 countries since the program's inception in FY 2001.

The FY 2007 request will sustain existing SA/LW and MANPADS reduction programs in countries with significant excess weapons stocks (e.g., Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Ukraine and Yemen). It also will support continued destruction of weapons collected in post-conflict countries such as Afghanistan and Sudan.

In addition to anticipated requirements for the established SA/LW destruction programs, the additional funds will continue to support unforeseen MANPADS elimination and SA/LW destruction needs. As the program has matured since its inception in 2001, a requirement for a rapid response capability to meet urgent/unforeseen SA/LW destruction needs has emerged.

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