DIIG Current Issues No. 9: An Economic Overview of U.S. Arms Sales
April 7, 2009
In the past two decades, the U.S. has exported arms worth well over $10 billion annually (in 2008 dollars). Tightly regulated by the government, these sales remain controversial. Advocates cite benefits such as political influence, greater interoperability with allies, a more resilient defense-industrial base, and cost savings from economies of scale. Critics counter with fears of technology dissemination to rivals, worries that U.S. arms fuel conflict and oppression, and assertions that exports support jobs overseas via offsets.