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2012 Already A Record-breaking Year For US Foreign Military Sales

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro has said that 2012 is already a record-breaking year for U.S. foreign military sales, which are government-to-government sales.

Speaking in Washington on Thursday about how the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs is engaging with allies and partners to expand the defense trade, the U.S. official cited some key data in the 655 Report released last week, which is an annual report of defense articles and services that were authorized for export.

The report focuses on direct commercial sales, and it showed that there was a more than $10 billion increase in Fiscal Year 2011 in items authorized for transfer. In 2011, the Directorate for Defense Trade Controls, which is part of the Political-Military Bureau, processed more than 83,000 licenses, the most ever.

Shapiro said Washington had already surpassed $50 billion in sales in Fiscal Year 2012. This represents at least a $20 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2011, with more than a quarter of the fiscal year left.

Fiscal Year 2011 was a record-setting year at just over $30 billion. This fiscal year will be at least 70 percent greater than Fiscal Year 2011. These sales support tens of thousands of American jobs, which is welcome news for the economy, according to Shapiro.

He noted that the United States has seen "tremendous growth and sales with developing countries and emerging powers such as Brazil and India, and this speaks volumes about our diplomatic efforts."

Despite the global economic strain, demand for U.S. defense products and services is stronger than ever, Shapiro added.

He said the State Department was going to continue to press and advocate for U.S. arms sales, adding that additional sales are expected in FY13 from countries like India. "We've made tremendous progress in the relationship (with India) over the last decade. We went from nearly zero sales to about $8 billion in arms sales to India," he noted.

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