Transcript

DOS and DOD Officials Brief Reporters on Fiscal 2020 Arms Transfer Figures

Dec. 4, 2020
R. Clarke Cooper, Assistant Secretary Of State For Political-Military Affairs; Heidi Grant, Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency

STAFF:  Good afternoon, and welcome to our press briefing to discuss the fiscal year 2020 arms transfer figures, as well as the other notable Defense and State Department security assistance and security cooperation accomplishments and statistics.  I am Mike Howard.  I will be moderating today's event, which we are doing in a COVID-safe environment.

Joining me on stage are the Honorable R. Clark Cooper, Assistant Secretary of State for political military affairs, and Mr. -- I'm sorry -- and Miss Heidi Grant, the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.  So to begin, I will give the mic to Mr. Cooper.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE R. CLARKE COOPER:  Thank you.  Appreciate the kind introduction.

First, I'll speak about fiscal year 2020, the arms sales figures and the important role the Department of State plays in overseeing U.S. and defense trade and our advocacy in that space.  We're always synched up, closely-coordinated at all levels, from the secretaries of State and Defense on down.  I will then yield the floor over to Ms. Grant, who will also discuss the DSCA's Fiscal Year 2020 accomplishments.

FY2020 saw a total of $175.8 billion in U.S. government-authorized arms exports.  This is overall a 2.8 percent increase since fiscal year 2019.  These sales offer -- they are a continuance of the strong support for the U.S. defense industry and American workers, up to one million of these workers who depend on U.S. defense exports for their job security.  These individuals and the companies they work for represent a part of American entrepreneurship and innovation, and they also help maintain the United States as the world leader in the defense and aerospace sectors to ensure our Armed Forces sustain their military edge.

The overall value of State Department-authorized government-to-government FMS (Foreign Military Sales) cases implemented by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency decreased 8.3 percent from $55.39 billion in Fiscal Year 2019 to $50.78 billion in Fiscal Year 2020.  However, the three-year rolling average, which is the more accurate measure of trends in defense trade, rose to $54 billion.  This is for a 5.8 percent increase in sales volume.

The dollar value of potential FMS sales, formally notified to Congress, also rose by more than 50 percent from $58.33 billion to $87.64 billion.  This was driven by the July potential sale of $23.11 billion worth of F-35 aircraft to Japan, which was the second largest single FMS notification ever authorized by the Department of State.

This and other multibillion-dollar sales listed in our fact sheet, if concluded, argue for the continued strong FMS sales well into fiscal year 2021.

Moving on to privately-contracted Direct Commercial Sales, or DCS, the value of Department of State-authorized commercial export licenses totaled $124.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2020, and this was up from $114.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2019.  This represented an 8.4 percent increase.  This total value covers authorizations of hardware, defense services, and technical data.  The total number of licenses issued decreased by 20-percent from 36,111 in Fiscal Year 2019 to 28,800 in Fiscal Year 2020.

The top commercial DCS sales notified to Congress in Fiscal Year 2020 include an $8.39 billion sale to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom for F-35 components.  This also included a $3.2 billion sale to Australia for P-8 aircraft parts, and a $2.48 billion sale to United Kingdom and Australia for E-7 airborne early warning and control aircraft.

Now, as far looking at recent trends from this year going into the next year, I do want to acknowledge some accomplishments.  A variety of factors and conditions are involved in defense trade numbers in any given year, regardless of what conditions are -- are being met, not least of which partner nations' defense and budgetary priorities.  So when we consider process improvements, we focus on aspects that we can control -- removing red tape, reforming defense trade regulations, and bringing cases to a more decisive decision in a prompt fashion.  Key elements of our reform efforts include continued streamlining the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, and improving trade promotion and advocacy by the government.

The State Department's Bureau -- PM Bureau -- Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, or DDTC, responded very quickly with temporary changes to the ITAR to reduce fees, extend some registrations and licenses, and allow for electronic submissions, which is critical in this time of pandemic posture.  We also helped industry ensure continuity of operations, practiced social distance, maximized telework, and reduced the burden on IT systems, while still safeguarding national security and protecting technical data.

Director Grant will shortly address the DSCA-led aspects, which include building exportability into platforms, improving support to non-program-of-record sales, improving contracting for Foreign Military Sales, and examining U.S. government policy on offsets.

The PM Bureau's efforts in Fiscal Year 2020 include the January -- January 2020 publication of final rules to amend Categories I, II, and III of the U.S. Munitions List to transfer that oversight for export of some types of non-military-grade firearms and ammunition and related items over to the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security, commonly known as BIS.  This right-sizing of export controls has crucially benefited U.S. industry.

Moving into March of 2020, Lithuania became the most recent participant in the European Recapitalization Incentive Program, or ERIP.  This is after PM (Bureau) provided more than a $30 million grant for foreign military financing to supplement Lithuania's $310 million in national funds to procure four UH-60 Black Hawks, and divest from legacy Russian Mi-8 helicopters.

Since September of 2018, the eight recipients of ERIP --  Albania, Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia, Croatia, Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Lithuania -- collectively committed more than $1.6 billion in national funds and out-year defense budgeting.

Moving to the summer, in July of 2020, the Trump administration updated the United States policy on the export of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).  This important change benefited one of America's most innovative industries, and allowed the United States to export additional UAS to key partners who require intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to address counterterrorism and border security capabilities.

The first proposed sales of the MQ-9B UAS under this updated policy were to -- and are to -- Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates.  And those were formally notified in early Fiscal (Year) 2021 to Congress.

Lastly, one of our more promising recent accomplishments that we've done together is the Targeting Working Group, or the TWG.  This is truly a joint Department of State and Department of Defense effort to facilitate ally and partner efforts to reduce the risk of partner nation or coalition operations causing civilian harm.

The TWG works to ensure appropriate targeting of infrastructure capabilities for certain munitions, notably precision-guided munitions or PGMs.  These are accounted for wherever such munitions are sold or transferred via the Foreign Military Sales Program or other U.S. government security cooperation activities.

The U.S. government will identify the appropriate targeting infrastructure for each sale, and require a U.S. targeting solution that includes software, data, and training if the partner does not have these capabilities as of yet.

The Advanced Target Development Initiative, or ATDI, is our new program that uses military grant assistance to provide partners these critical targeting capabilities.

To date, State Political-Military Affairs has provided $78 million in FMF -- again, Foreign Military Financing -- for ATDI to support 10 bilateral partners, and recipients are currently in various stages of finalizing letters of offer and acceptance for this program.

State PM is currently identifying opportunities for additional funding to expand the program to other partners, and I'll defer to Director Grant to speak further about this important initiative.

Earlier I referenced the posture that we're all working with the pandemic, so let me take a moment to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic and defense trade posture this year adjusted.

Their supply chains and revenue streams, though they were disrupted and budgets are uncertain, our partners' programmatic needs remain unchanged.  Both the United States government and industry continue to honor our commitments to our partners.  We continue to process cases at approximately apace, and a volume as we did before the onset of the COVID pandemic.

America's defense industry is fulfilling contracts and timely deliveries continue despite persistent transportation and logistical challenges.  Our security partners also affirm they want to continue their pending purchases.  Some partners are even pursuing new and additional requests in response to COVID-related uncertainty.

So finally, at this point, I would like to yield the floor to friend and colleague, DSCA Director Heidi Grant.

DSCA DIRECTOR HEIDI GRANT:  Mike, thanks, okay.

So good afternoon, my name's Heidi Grant.  I'm the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency or, as many of you know it as DSCA.  And I'd like, again, to thank the -- take the opportunity to thank each of you for attending today.

I've been at the helm of DSCA for just about four months, and I can tell you I'm excited to lead the agency at such a transformational time.  And you know, for the security cooperation enterprise.  Going forward, I hope to continue to build upon the work -- the great work that my predecessors have accomplished.

I'm really proud to be sitting here with Mr. Cooper.  The State Department-Defense Department partnership is vital in executing our important and expansive mission set, particularly as senior leaders across the U.S. public and private sector are turning to security cooperation to help solve the most pressing U.S. national security challenges.

Before I discuss DSCA's arms sales figures, I want to acknowledge the Department of Defense Security Cooperation workforce, who made all of this possible.

The Department of Defense Security Cooperation (Agency) workforce is comprised of approximately 20,000 military and civilian members, which include roughly 1,000 at the DSCA headquarters and other locations, including the Defense Security Cooperation University West, or DSCU, and the DSCA Case Writing Division in Ohio, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, known as DIILS in Rhode Island, the Institute for Security Governance, known as ISG in California, and the Humanitarian Demining Training Center, which is in Fort Lee, Virginia.

Our security cooperation workforce, it also includes personnel at our embassies, implementing agencies, the acquisition program offices and other defense organizations around the entire world.

DSCA, in collaboration with the security cooperation workforce, leads the Department of Defense effort to enable security cooperation for our U.S. allies and partners.

Many assume that this is limited to just the provision of defense articles and services under Foreign Military Sales Program.  However, the DSCA security cooperation mission encompasses much more including the provision of international military education and training, institutional capacity-building programs aimed to assist partners in strengthening their policies and processes, so important to the effective operation of their security sector institutions -- and Mr. Cooper mentioned a few of those in his opening remarks -- along with humanitarian disaster relief and mine action.

The range of security cooperation programs DOD offers allows us to provide full-spectrum capability and develop strong long-term relationships.  Those enable ally and partner militaries to stand alongside the U.S. military in order to address our shared security issues.

The FY2020 security cooperation figures highlight that the United States continues to be the global security partner of choice.  As noted for 2020, FMS arms sales totaled $50.78 billion.  This comprised approximately $44.79 billion arms sales funded by ally and partner nation funds under the Foreign Military Sales program.  Arms sales funded under the Title 22 Foreign Military Financing Program, totaled $3.3 billion.

Those sales, funded through the Title 10 Foreign Assistance Act, or Building Partner Capacity programs, such as Global Train and Equip, totaled $2.69 billion.  The three-year rolling average for arms sales rose to $54 billion, which is a 5.8 percent increase in sales volume.  This is a more accurate measure than the annual total as it reduces the impact of sales that were implemented late in one fiscal year or early in the next.  So I think that is why this rolling average is a more accurate determination.

The sales demonstrate the United States continues to be the global security partner of choice.  Not only do we already offer the most advanced defense equipment in the world, we're also crucially adapting to meet the technical needs of our allies and partner militaries in conjunction with the departments of State and Commerce by addressing export issues in support of our U.S. industry partners.

We're increasingly expanding our sales, moving beyond standard U.S. programs of record and offering a rising number of non-program of record systems, some of which are unique configurations or opportunities to integrate ally and partner nation systems into the U.S. platforms.

By moving beyond standard U.S. programs of record and U.S. inventory including these systems that are newly developed but not yet deployed by U.S. forces, we're enhancing our ability to respond quickly and consistently to our international partners.  Development and execution of both program of record and non-program of record programs is heavily reliant on the DOD acquisition system.

DSCA continues to champion initiatives that integrate partner nation requirements with acquisition systems, best practices, and management processes, deepening our partnerships with the Security Cooperation Enterprise and increasing transparency.  DSCA also adapted to meet ally and partner budgetary needs despite COVID-19.

While State PM’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls adjusted their execution of ITAR regulations, DSCA worked with allies and partners to help them address the pandemic's budgetary impacts.  DSCA proactively identified opportunities to help many allies and partners balance FMS financial obligations with current financial realities.

For example, DSCA identified opportunities such as offering eligible allies and partners to delay planned payments to future years on current procurements, established unique payment plans on procurements currently in development, and returned excess funds currently on deposit with the United States.

These opportunities, along with several recent reforms such as reduced administrative fees associated with FMS and offering competitive financing, lowered the cost of doing business with the United States at a time that is very critical.  From the start of the pandemic on March 1st through September 30th of this year, DSCA offered 1,313 new letters of offer of acceptance, LOAs, worth $21.5 billion for 123 countries and programs.  Of the 1,313 LOAs, 919 have been implemented for sales of $10.4 billion.

Since the U.S. views arms sales as just one component of a long-term relationship, DOD complements sales with activities that enhance defense institutions necessary to meaningfully absorb, apply, and sustain capabilities consistent with international norms of the rule of law.

We trained over 31,000 foreign military students in the Department of Defense schoolhouses.  DSCA's component Defense Institute of International Legal Studies conducted almost a hundred educational events for over 800 participants from foreign militaries.

Another DCSA component, the Institute of Security Governance, conducted just over 200 advising activities and education events for international students from 70 countries.  DSCA also offered advisory training through our Ministry of Defense Advisors Program.  This program trains and deploys DOD senior civilian subject matter experts to become advisers that embed with our ally and partner defense institutions and other security-related regional organizations.  We have deployed 55 advisers to 13 ally partner nations.

I can't say enough how the training the United States provides our allies and partners can have a huge impact on a military or even a society.  Among the capabilities that DSCA has recently begun to offer to allies and partners is assisting and reducing the partners' risk to civilian harm caused by military operations.

We're consistently working with our allies and partners to facilitate the employment of military capabilities consistent with our values.  We have been particularly focused on minimizing civilian harm resulting from their operations, including expanding training, ensuring the provision of targeting capabilities to partners, providing additional advisory support with a specific emphasis on mitigation of civilian harm, and enhancing DOD partner assessments.

I noted at the beginning that our people, the security cooperation workforce, are responsible for our successes.  Thus consistent with Congressional mandates in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act through DSCA's schoolhouse, the Defense Security Cooperation University delivered almost 18,000 courses demonstrating the commitment of the Security Cooperation workforce to effectively execute the mission.

So in closing, although I can't forecast, you know, next year's figures, I can share the initiatives that DSCA will pursue in upcoming fiscal year.  Expansion of opportunities for industry to compete by being more proactive and transparent in our work.  The second is identification of barriers to progress and development of plans -- and plans to remove them by being more collaborative and networked with our stakeholders.  And the third and final is fostering innovation across the enterprise by empowering our experts to proactively develop solutions and hold ourselves accountable as we implement them.

So I'd like to end by saying the American approach to security cooperation is beneficial for our allies and partners as well as the United States.  These long-term relationships and holistic solutions serve as our strategic advantage, our asymmetric edge that our competitors cannot match.

And I look forward to taking -- talking in more detail and hearing some of your questions.  Thank you.

STAFF:  Thank you, Mr. Cooper and Ms. Grant.

So now we're going to turn to the questions.  We have about 15 minutes and we have about eight questions, so please be brief.  So we're going to start with Tony.

Q:  I have a question for you (Mr. Cooper) and Ms. Grant.  For size and scope, for people who don't follow this issue, $175 billion combined, where does that stand in terms of the last decade?  Is that about average, low, or high?

MR. COOPER:  It's -- short answer, on the high end.

Q:  On the high end.  And for the rolling average that you both attributed a lot of importance to, what would it be for 20 -- do have what it would have been for FY16 or 17, just for -- for comparison's sake?

MR. COOPER:  We could follow up.  I -- I would go back and emphasize the reason why we do the rolling average is because you have things in train.  So some of the things that we cited were notifications that have not come to contract and it helps actually build a better forecasting picture on our industry side, but we could certainly follow up on that.

Q:  And Ms. Grant, the hottest FMS subject in -- in Washington right now is the F-35 UAE sale.  Reality check -- if, in fact, the LOA was signed in the next month or so, it became one of the 1,313 LOAs you talked about, realistically, when would the first F-35 plane be delivered to the United Arab Emirates, given Lockheed's backlog of other customers?

I -- if you both -- if you both -- realistically, how long would it take to deliver the first plane, if a production contract was signed?

MR. COOPER:  Yeah, I -- we -- we may need to follow up on that, just from a classification standpoint --

MS. GRANT:  Yeah.

MR. COOPER:  -- but, I mean, there -- there is -- so as -- but you -- you noted that there is -- there's always going to be production timelines that are associated past an LOA signing.  So we can -- we could follow up if we can actually talk about that in a public fora.  Yeah?

STAFF:  So just --

MR. COOPER:  I -- I mean happy to -- if -- if we can, we'll give you that --

MS. GRANT:  Yeah.

Q:  Right, ‘cause it's an important subject, given the Senate debate next week.

MS. GRANT:  Right.

MR. COOPER:  Yeah.

Q:  Thank you.

STAFF:  So just for clarity, Tony was from Bloomberg.  We're going now to Aaron from Defense News.

Q:  Thanks, Mike.  Hi, guys.  Just a quick clarification and a question.  Of the $175 billion number that you guys have there, $50 billion of that is the FMS cases, which were actually approved.  The rest is -- is DCS authorization, and my understanding is those authorizations are not actual sales, they're what was authorized.  The total actual sales number is going to be coming down the pipeline.  Is that correct?

MR. COOPER:  Yeah, Aaron.  So when -- the figure I gave you of $175.08 billion, that is for authorized exports, so that is the grand total of what's authorized.  And when we look at the overall authorization, the overall increase is 2.8 percent from Fiscal Year 2019.

Q:  When -- when we say DCS authorization, is that the equivalent of the, like, hard FMS $50 billion number or is it -- have (included) in, like, the Congressional notification?

MR. COOPER:  It's in -- it's -- it's all-encompassing of FMS and DCS, but we can give you the breakdown for follow up.

MS. GRANT:  This --

Q:  All right.  And then for both of you, just -- we know that there's been a lot of reform attempts from the Trump administration to -- to help speed this up along -- this group has talked about some of those.  We know also that a lot of folks are calling for the Biden administration to roll back some of those -- the drone regulations, in particular, but others.

What is your concern -- or level of concern, I should say, about potentially some of that being rolled back and how do you think that would impact industry and the economic benefits you talked about?

MR. COOPER:  Sure.  Well I'll give you a little bit of history.  You know, some of the reforms that have actually been achieved in the last four years were not new.  They had been in the -- the works for quite a while.  The moving of classes I-III (Ed. note:  Categories I-III) on the U.S. Munitions List over to Commerce actually began during the Obama administration.

So what you are seeing here is there are a number of implementations of reforms that actually had their genesis or birth in a previous administration, and it's not atypical of -- of -- of this kind of work.  In fact, part of the reason why we actually do address a three-year rolling average is that a number of the issues associated with arms transfer and tech transfers aren't limited to a calendar year, are not limited to a fiscal year, and often times cross administrations.

MS. GRANT:  Yeah, I just wanted to highlight -- I was hoping that one of you would pick on -- or pick up on this -- on -- on my comments about the rolling average.  You know, I just want to foot stomp one other thing.  So we said $50.78 billion, and what I highlighted, I specifically put it into three categories for you because I want it to really jump out at you, that these nations have decided to use their own defense dollars and chose the U.S.

So the largest percent of -- you know, often times, people think about the sales being foreign military, financing, Title 22 or -- or Title 10, but it -- what -- what I was hoping that jumps out at all of you -- at $44.79 billion, where partner nations deciding to use their own defense dollars, of the $50.78.  I just wanted to foot stomp that.

MR. COOPER:  Which, of course -- and I -- and I appreciate the foot stomp on the national funds.  I mean, this is why any of our FMS, our foreign military financing grant programs, are predicated on states putting more toward national funds, toward purchases.

So the -- the FMF programs aren't giveaways, they are incentivizing the use of national funds on procurements.

STAFF:  Okay, thank you.  So now we're going to turn to The National from UAE.  Bryant, are you on the line?

Q:  Hey, thanks so much for doing the call.  I wanted to ask about the F-35 sales to the UAE.  Assuming Congress isn't able to block it and the sale is approved, can you walk us through kind of some of the benchmarks of the process over the next several years and what that looks like, if you're able to lay out some sort of timeline?  Thank you.

MR. COOPER:  Yeah, so what we can talk about here today is that, as you noted, the -- one of the benchmarks we have coming next week is the end of the congressional notification period on December 11th.  So, of course, that's a 30 day period per the Arms Export Control Act, it's a statutory notification period.

Parallel to that, as we would with any case that's in a formal notification, we are working with the partner on the letters of offer and acceptance.  And so that process is ongoing, that will continue.  Those are predicated on a back and forth bilaterally.  So this is not just a -- a U.S. timeline, this is like any other case, this is the partner's timeline, as well, and then moving on beyond that, then we get into the -- the aspects of the production delivery, which was asked earlier.

But -- so -- but if you look at it from a -- a broad sense, the broad sweeps are congressional clearance, LOA completion, signature of LOA, and then getting into production timeline.  And I want to -- I do want to add to -- other piece of that would be what benchmarks that we look at from our purview.

MS. GRANT:  I -- I -- I think you're -- you answered it.  Okay.

STAFF:  So now let's turn to CNN.  Ryan?

Q:  Thank you very much, both of you, for doing this.  I just -- two quick ones.  One on the -- the recent change to the drone export regulation -- would the Taiwan and UAE drone packages been -- would you have been able to do those if you had not made the change?

And then I have a -- a follow up on end-use monitoring.

MR. COOPER:  Sure.  So the -- the necessity for the Trump administration back in the summer to actually pursue a -- a policy -- again, one -- is rooted over several years -- the United States worked in bilateral fora on the MTCR, the Missile Technology Control Regime, to seek a -- an ability to be able to get this capability to partners who need it.

Most partners who are seeking it, and two that you just mentioned, are looking at it from a maritime domain awareness, border integrity, border-protection capability.  It's not a strategic tool, it's a tactical operational tool, but to your question, would we have been able to succeed?  Not likely.  It's -- it's why the U.S. government decided to pursue a UAS policy that's -- so that we could do that.

And Director Grant made a reference to this in her remarks, is that in a competitive market space, we have partners who are seeking -- they want -- they prefer to have our capabilities vice others, and so this is -- having this policy pursued was to ensure that we do remain the partner of choice in that space, as well.

Q:  Thank you.  Ms. Grant, on -- and on end-use monitoring, obviously, there has been a lot of reporting about both UAE having had some issues with end-use monitoring and transferring of equipment.  Is -- are they -- current -- do you know if there's currently any end-use monitoring investigations with previous sales to the UAE?

And -- and also, for both of you, is -- is there still a hold on Turkish -- on arms sales to Turkey?  I mean, there's been reports that those kind of have been blocked from moving forward partly due to investigations.  So thank you.

MS. GRANT:  Yeah, I can -- I can speak to you from my hat in the job before this, as the director of Defense Technology Security Administration, that we take that monitoring very seriously.  We work with our State Department colleagues to make sure that the right protections and agreements are in place for any type of transfer that we do, and then we follow up with the monitoring.  So I'm not going to comment on specific country monitoring that we have, but I can tell you that it's constantly ongoing to ensure that those agreements that we have with each country to protect our most valued crown jewels, that that is being conducted on a regular basis. 

Q:  Thanks.  Can you say whether or not there's effectively no arms -- Turkish arms -- arms sales to Turkey have been kind of effectively blocked, for the time being?

MR. COOPER:  There are -- I mean, there's -- in the -- in the public space, I mean, there are -- there are holds on -- on Turkish sales on the congressional side, yes.

Q:  Thank you.

STAFF:  So we'll move on.  We're going to take time for two more questions.  I'm going to go to Marcus from Defense One, and then Jim, I'll do you -- you'll have the final question.  So Marcus?

Q:  Hey, thanks for taking my question.  I -- I wanted to ask about in the implemented FMS cases if the -- there was that $5 billion monthly decrease.  Is there something that attributed to that?  And if I could do a quick follow-up.  In your opinion, would it be possible for UAE to get that F-35 deal on contract before January 20th, or are there too many bureaucratic hurdles still for them to be able to do that?  Thank you.

MR. COOPER:  I'll start -- I'll start with your question about fiscal year 2020.  So I -- I noted in my remarks that we had a very significant FMS case with Japan on the F-35.  That case, worth $23.11 billion, that's certainly contributed to the -- the -- the total on FMS for fiscal year '20.  And -- and as I mentioned earlier, probably what's significant for 2020 -- it was the second-largest case notified ever by the Department of State in the history of the department's work in this space.

Q:  (inaudible).

MR. COOPER:  Hm?

Q:  What was the highest?

MR. COOPER:  We'll follow up with you on that.  I -- I -- I -- it's funny you asked that, because I actually -- we initially -- in the initial calculus this summer is that we thought it was, as we came back and did some research in the archives.  It's the second highest, but we'll get you -- we'll get you the -- the -- the number one.

(CROSSTALK)

MR. COOPER:  On -- so the question about -- on -- on F-35 as -- as already covered here today, you know, the benchmarks, the first one that's in front of us is the congressional notification period completion next week, and LOA crafting and signatures.  Again, when we're looking at that next benchmark, that is two ways:  that's a bilateral process between the United States and the UAE.  So that -- that does not have a particular set timeline.  Obviously, when we work on LOAs, in any case, the partners certainly would like to see it done sooner than later, but it is not -- does not have a date specificity.

(CROSSTALK)

STAFF:  Ms. Grant, did you have something that you wanted to add?

MS. GRANT:  No, I just -- you know, if you ask if it's possible, absolutely, it's possible.

MR. COOPER:  Yeah.

MS. GRANT:  But you know, it -- we don't control it.  We're waiting on the Congress to benchmark, then we're going to wait.  Once we offer it to Emirates, it's up to them --

MR. COOPER:  Yeah.

MS. GRANT:  -- as far as timeline.  But it's possible.

MR. COOPER:  Yeah.

STAFF:  So Jim, we're going to --

MR. COOPER:  It's physically possible.

STAFF: Jim from Defense.gov will have the final question.

Q:  Thanks for doing this.  I'd like to talk about the Targeting Working Group, which -- you know, you guys put caveats on the transfer/sale of weapons to other nations to minimize the risk to civilian populations.  First, does any other nation do something like that?  I mean, does any other arms-selling nation have something like this that tries to minimize the risk to civilian populations?  And do other nations see this and perhaps want to join the U.S. in doing that?  And the second question, I guess, out of that, is this having the effect that you really wanted it to have?

MR. COOPER:  Well, so, a little history.  This has birthed the Conventional Arms Transfer policy that President Trump set to readdress in 2018.  This is where we actually put additional focus on increasing appropriate use of arms, arms transfers, tech transfers, and specific to the Advanced Targeting Development Initiative, which was born out of the -- the CAT policy, was to increase opportunities for pre-deployment training, increase opportunities for simulation of very complex, find-fix-finish scenarios, and also help partners better be prepared and actually operating, avoiding the -- these -- these casualties.

To your question about others, the short answer is no, there is no other state that has the ability to include this kind of suite that would be a -- a supplement.  As I said, we have 10 -- and we can follow up -- we have 10 bilateral partners that have signed up and rogered up to take on the ATDI voluntarily.  I mean, these are -- partners have come to us and said, "We want more of this."  No, there is no comparison.

Now, as far as interest, I don’t want to go outside of diplomatic channels, but there are certainly some other states that are looking, from a lessons learned.  It's early for us to give deep lessons learned for partners, but there are other -- other states that are looking to do something similar.  But no, from a partner-of-choice aspect, not only do we have the -- the best and the most capable material and technology available; we come with that whole, total-package approach, and that total-package approach is inclusive of mitigating civilian casualties.

Q:  Is it having that effect?

MR. COOPER:  Early -- early data is showing that -- that it is, but I would -- I don't want to overpromise effects, because it is -- it is new.  The -- the partners that have signed up for it are seeking to improve their capabilities and to reduce the risk, and manage the risk.  We will be able to get better data as time goes on.

STAFF:  So Ms. Grant, could you offer any answer to that?  And then a brief closing comment, maybe in 30 or 40 seconds?

Ms. Grant:  Yeah, so -- so again, I -- I think it's something -- is the reason why our partners and allies value doing business with us, is because this is part of our nation's values -- that civilian harm mitigation.  So I see it as a growing demand that I don't have the statistics right now, but I think come back to me in six months, and I can tell you.

And I think it also helps us, as far as Congressional oversight, when we can show that our partners have the will to make sure that they focus on civilian harm mitigation with this high-end technology.  I think it's -- again, this whole -- when I look at stakeholders, our stakeholders aren't our initial international partners, but they're our U.S. partners making sure there's a comfort in what we're transferring.

Q:  You raised an important point here.  Is this going to become a criteria for sale, if they sign or if they don't sign, they're not going to get the sale?

STAFF:  Tony, I'm sorry, but we'll have to address that afterwards.  Mr. Cooper, do you have any final comments?

MR. COOPER:  Just to close with we were able, as a country, as a government and as the American industrial base to adapt and overcome challenges in 2020.  It does speak to the entrepreneurship and the innovation in the private sector and in government to actually provide the best to our partners and allies and to maintain that status as the preferred partner and the partner of choice.  Thank you.

STAFF:  Thank you, Ms. Grant and Mr. Cooper.

And thank you all for your questions, thank you both for your time, for being here.  This concludes today's press conference.  Thank you.