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The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) requires the U.S. government (USG) to conduct End-Use Monitoring (EUM) to ensure that foreign end-users are complying with the requirements agreed with by foreign partners via government-to-government transfers or imposed by the U.S. government for direct commercial sale transfers (DCS) with respect to use, transfers, and security of defense articles and defense services and such articles and services are used only for the purposes for which they were furnished.  USG EUM can include scheduled inspections, physical inventories, general inquiries, and reviews of accountability records by the U.S. government.  The end-use of U.S.-origin defense articles should also be in accordance with international law and consistent with any agreements or licenses under which such articles have been transferred.  The United States remains committed to expediting, when possible, defense transfers to U.S. allies and partners, while it also seeks to prevent unauthorized access to U.S.-origin defense technologies by hostile state and non-state actors.

The purpose of the EUM program is to improve accountability with respect to defense articles sold, leased, or exported under the AECA or Foreign Assistance Act.  USG EUM is an important component to protecting sensitive U.S. military and intelligence technologies and ensuring American warfighters retain their military edge over their adversaries.  The U.S. commitment to EUM is considerable, as indicated by the fact our pre- and post-transfer checks are more robust than even those of our closest allies and partners in terms of defense trade and shared values.  Our strategic competitors, Russia and the People’s Republic of China, lack comparable systems of EUM and conduct their defense trade without the transparency, accountability, and legislative oversight found in the U.S.

Before U.S.-origin defense articles and services are exported or transferred to foreign entities, those entities must agree to:

  1. Not retransfer equipment to third parties without first receiving written U.S. government authorization;
  2. Not dispose of or use the defense article for purposes other than those for which they were furnished without first receiving written U.S. government authorization; and,
  3. Maintain the security of any item with substantially the same degree of protection afforded to it by the U.S. government.

Furthermore, in cases where U.S.-origin defense articles and services are transferred to a foreign government via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or security cooperation programs, that foreign government must also agree to make items available for EUM inspections for the operational life of the equipment.

USG EUM programs are designed to provide end-use verification of defense articles and services sold or leased by the USG to U.S. allies and partners through the FMS system.  This, however, does not absolve recipients of the above requirements.  The U.S. government takes all allegations of diversion or unauthorized use of defense articles very seriously and engages with partners at all levels to ensure adherence to end-use agreements.

Blue Lantern – EUM for Direct Commercial Sales

The Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls implements EUM for defense articles transferred via Direct Commercial Sales through the Blue Lantern program.  The Blue Lantern program accomplishes several goals:

  • Promote understanding of U.S. defense trade controls by our foreign partners;
  • Build mutual confidence among the U.S. government, partner government, and industry in the defense trade relationship and supply chain;
  • Mitigate the risk of diversion and unauthorized use of U.S. defense articles;
  • Combat gray arms trafficking; and
  • Uncover violations under Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

Cooperation with Blue Lantern end-use monitoring can further facilitate transfer of more sensitive U.S. defense articles to our defense trade partners in the future.  Lack of cooperation may result in increased scrutiny of, or restrictions on, future exports.

Under the Blue Lantern program, PM Bureau and U.S. Embassy personnel worldwide conduct pre-license, post-license/pre-shipment, and post-shipment checks to verify the bona fides of foreign consignees and end-users, and confirm the legitimacy of proposed transactions.  Blue Lantern checks are not law enforcement investigations; rather they, to the extent possible, provide reasonable assurance that: 1) the recipient is complying with the requirements imposed by the U.S. government with respect to use, transfers, and security of defense articles and defense services; and 2) such articles and services are being used for the purposes for which they were provided.  Blue Lantern checks may include interviews of the foreign parties, visual inspections of inventories and physical security controls, and confirmation from foreign governments that the entities subject to the check are in good standing.  The Department of State’s annual end-use monitoring report provides information on the Blue Lantern checks initiated and closed by region.

Golden Sentry – EUM for Government-to-Government Transfers

Department of Defense (DoD) EUM for defense equipment transferred via FMS or other U.S. government security cooperation/assistance programs is executed under the auspices of the DoD’s Golden Sentry  program and is conducted by Security Cooperation Organization (SCO) personnel assigned to U.S. Embassies abroad.

Under the Golden Sentry program, EUM of U.S.-origin defense articles is a joint responsibility of the partner nations and the U.S. government.  The partner assumes full responsibility, based on the terms under which the transfers are made, for the defense articles including physical security and accountability requirements, and restrictions on end-use.  Under Golden Sentry, the U.S. government seeks to verify the end-use, physical security and accountability of  U.S.-origin defense articles via periodic EUM checks  and investigations into potential end-use violations.

Under the Golden Sentry program, the U.S. government conducts routine and enhanced EUM checks.  Routine EUM checks are required based on a “watch list ” of significant military equipment (SME), are conducted at least quarterly by SCO personnel during regular visits to partner nation installations in performance of their security cooperation duties, and the checks are documented electronically.  Enhanced EUM checks are required based on a list  of sensitive items identified in Chapter 8 of the Security Assistance Management Manual (SAMM).  In addition to an initial inventory by serial number, Enhanced EUM requires physical security and accountability assessments of the storage facilities and 100% annual serial number inventories to verify compliance with transfer agreements.  The security and accountability assessments are conducted in accordance with defined checklists documented electronically.  SCO compliance with program requirements and partner nation compliance with pre-transfer assurances are periodically assessed by personnel from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) – the DoD organization that manages the Golden Sentry Program.

Violations Under the AECA

Section 3 of the AECA requires the Department report to Congress any substantial violation of an agreement under which the U.S. government provides defense articles, or any transfer made without the consent of the U.S. Government.  Whether a violation is substantial is determined by reference to the quantity of items involved or the gravity of the consequences of the suspected violation.

In the event the U.S. government receives notification of a suspected violation of the underlying agreement that supported the transfer of defense articles and services, the Department promptly works to gather information to confirm the validity of the report, assess whether the activities described in the report constitute a violation of the agreement, and determines the actions the U.S. government will take to prevent such violations from happening again.

U.S. Department of State

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