Ukraine, China Propel U.S. Arms Sales to $52 Billion in 2022, Up 50% over 2021

  • Bureau
  • 10:12 AM, January 26, 2023
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Ukraine, China Propel U.S. Arms Sales to $52 Billion in 2022, Up 50% over 2021
F-35 for Japan

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) adminitered arms sales worth about $52 Billion during fiscal 2022, exceeded FY21's $34.81 billion in sales by nearly 50%.
James A. Hursch, the director of DSCA, cited factors such as the waning effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and concerns about China's rising influence in the Pacific as possible reasons for increased sales.
"Perhaps most importantly, [we attribute this to] the understanding among our partners and allies that we're back in an age of great power competition," Hursch said. "They see what's happened in Ukraine. Central European countries, for example, are looking to get some of the same capabilities that have worked well for the Ukrainian army, and to increase their own capabilities for deterrence."
In the Pacific, allies and partners are wary of China's increasing dominance. "Allies are looking at China and the situations with China in Asia, and thinking they need to increase their capabilities," he said.

Ukraine, China Propel U.S. Arms Sales to $52 Billion in 2022, Up 50% over 2021
M142 HIMARS Multiple launch rocket system

Last year's increase can also be attributed to existing partners now opting to buy more expensive gear, Hursch said.
"As we continue to improve our equipment, it tends to get more costly. Buying a HIMARS system, for example, is more expensive than buying a Howitzer," he said referring to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. "And that's the sort of upgrade that several of our allies and partners are looking to do."
While large equipment purchases are responsible for much of last year's increase, it can also be attributed in part to some of DSCA's less costly programs which help partner nations build institutional capacity, he said.
"We do things like making sure they have the capacity to do coastal surveillance or maritime surveillance," he said. "We work with countries that are working to build their own airspace surveillance."

Ukraine, China Propel U.S. Arms Sales to $52 Billion in 2022, Up 50% over 2021
Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopter

To help with that capacity building, Hursch said DSCA last year deployed 42 defense advisors to 23 different countries through DSCA's Ministry of Defense Advisors program.
"These are folks who are actually embedded in foreign governments to provide advice to countries, which could be about their procurement stuff, but could also be about helping set up a national security strategy," he said.
In the coming years, Hursch said, he expects to see continued increases in arms sales — but he also said it would be difficult to predict by just how much. One contributing factor which he said makes him confident of increasing sales is that many allies have publicly committed to spending more on their own defense.

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