Foreign Military Sales in 2008

Latin America and the Caribbean

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Federation of American Scientists' Arms Sales Monitoring Program, we now have data about weapons and equipment that the U.S. government sold to the rest of the world through the Foreign Military Sales program in 2008. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is one of two programs through which military equipment is sold from the United States to the rest of the world. FMS is the means through which the U.S. government sells items directly to other governments. U.S. corporations can sell directly to other governments as well; those sales are licensed by another program, Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). While DCS data every year is usually available before FMS data, the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has not posted the FY 2008 information for DCS on their website yet. The United States sold $242,771,000 in military equipment to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008, down 38.5% from the 2006 high, when Chile purchased multiple high-tech F-16 fighter planes. Colombia remains the highest purchaser even though its total decreased almost 46% from its 2007 purchases, with $125,639,000 in equipment purchased in 2008 (50% of the region's 2008 total) compared to $231,384,000 in 2007. Brazil is a distant second with $52,456,000 in purchases in 2008, half of that amount going to the purchase of two Black Hawk helicopters. Below is a graph of how FMS deliveries to the region have fluctuated between 1996 and 2008.