printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy

In addition to undertaking a legal review of each proposed arms transfer and third party transfers, PM/RSAT also applies the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy laid out in Presidential Policy Directive 27 (PPD-27, January 15, 2014) prior to making a determination. The policy requires that proposed transfers take into account the following criteria:

  • Appropriateness of the transfer in responding to legitimate U.S. and recipient security needs.

  • Consistency with U.S. regional stability interests, especially when considering transfers involving power projection capability, anti-access and area denial capability, or introduction of a system that may foster increased tension or contribute to an arms race.

  • The impact of the proposed transfer on U.S. capabilities and technological advantage, particularly in protecting sensitive software and hardware design, development, manufacturing, and integration knowledge.

  • The degree of protection afforded by the recipient country to sensitive technology and potential for unauthorized third-party transfer, as well as in-country diversion to unauthorized uses.

  • The risk of revealing system vulnerabilities and adversely affecting U.S. operational capabilities in the event of compromise.

  • The risk that significant change in the political or security situation of the recipient country could lead to inappropriate end-use or transfer of defense articles.

  • The degree to which the transfer supports U.S. strategic, foreign policy, and defense interests through increased access and influence, allied burden sharing, and interoperability.

  • The human rights, democratization, counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and nonproliferation record of the recipient, and the potential for misuse of the export in question.

  • The likelihood that the recipient would use the arms to commit human rights abuses or serious violations of international humanitarian law, retransfer the arms to those who would commit human rights abuses or serious violations of international humanitarian law, or identify the United States with human rights abuses or serious violations of international humanitarian law.

  • The impact on U.S. industry and the defense industrial base, whether or not the transfer is approved.

  • The availability of comparable systems from foreign suppliers.

  • The ability of the recipient to field effectively, support, and appropriately employ the requested system in accordance with its intended end-use.

  • The risk of adverse economic, political, or social impact within the recipient nation and the degree to which security needs can be addressed by other means.


Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.