Emergency Drawdowns

Emergency Drawdowns At A Glance

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If an unforeseen emergency should arise overseas, the Emergency Drawdown authorities empower the U.S. President to transfer U.S. defense articles and services from existing U.S. government holdings, budgets or arsenals to the affected area within certain limitations.

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If an unforeseen emergency should arise overseas, two sections of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (P.L. 87-195, or the FAA) empower the President to 'draw  down' U.S. defense articles and services on the U.S. Munitions List from existing U.S. government holdings, budgets or arsenals without congressional approval and redirect them to the affected area if deemed within U.S. national interest. Training, traqnsportation, and supplies may also be provided. Drawdown provisions give the President a limited ability to shift resources from other agencies' budgets and inventories into security assistance. Up to $100 million may be drawn down from the Defense Department for unspecified emergencies that require immediate military assistance. This provision is known as subsection 506(1)(a). Additionally, Subsection 506(2)(b) authorizes yearly drawdowns of up to $200 million for the purposes of international narcotics control, international disaster assistance, migration and refugee assistance, anti-terrorism assistance, non-proliferation assistance and efforts to locate U.S. personnel unaccounted for from the Vietnam War or Defense Department-sponsored humanitarian projects related to such efforts. Drawdowns under 506(a)(2) can come from any U.S. government agency. The law specifies, however, that no more than $75 million annually may come from Defense Department inventories. Nor can counternarcotics be used to justify more than $75 million per year in drawdowns under this subsection. Such drawdowns frequently occur at the end of the FY. Finally, Section 552 of the FAA authorizes drawdowns for international peacekeeping activities, allowing the transfer of up to $25 million per year.

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