Foreign Military Sales
Foreign Military Sales At A Glance
The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program manages government-to-government purchases of U.S. defense articles and defense services on the U.S. Munitions List.
The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program manages government-to-government purchases of U.S. defense articles and defense services on the U.S. Munitions List from U.S. military stockpiles or new production. A foreign military or international governmental organization buying U.S. defense equipment and services through the FMS program does not deal directly with the U.S. private company. FMS is distinguished from the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) program, which covers commercail sales of defense articles and defense services between foreign governments and private U.S. companies, and the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, which provides grants and loans for FMS and DCS purchases. Importantly, Security Assistance Monitor data shows both FMS arms and contruction sales. The Defense Department serves as an intermediary, usually handling procurement, logistics and delivery and often providing product support and training. Security Assistance Organizations (SAOs) and military personnel stationed at U.S. embassies promote the sale of U.S.-produced defense items and carry out most tasks associated with managing FMS ''cases'' or agreements to make a sale. SAOs advise foreign defense ministries on potential military purchases. Countries desiring closer military-to-military contact with the United States will opt for an FMS sale, but the sales often take more than a year (and sometimes much longer) from purchase request to delivery. Contact between military officers occurs at all stages of the sale. FMS sales are often less expensive, particularly for more advanced items. Countries with limited experience in negotiating complex procurement contracts find FMS convenient, as the Pentagon negotiates with the arms manufacturer and handles the paperwork. Each year, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency publishes a report describing the overall amounts of actual FMS transfers to foreign countries.