Brief: Demystifying End-Use Monitoring in U.S. Arms Exports

Demystifying End-Use Monitoring, Event on Lessons from Afghanistan, Aid to Egypt Proceeds With Caveats and more



September 20, 2021

Brief: Demystifying End-Use Monitoring in U.S. Arms Exports

Security Assistance Monitor, CIVIC, Stimson
September 2021

A new brief from the Security Assistance Monitor, the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), and the Stimson Center examines the myths, misconceptions, and realities of End-Use Monitoring in U.S. arms sales – practices that are intended to ensure U.S. weaponry are not diverted, lost, or misused. 

The United States remains the world’s largest purveyor of arms, representing nearly 37% of global arms exports between 2015 and 2020. In 2020 alone, the U.S. government approved over $110 billion in arms sales to countries in every corner of the globe. Concerned about U.S. arms facilitating human rights violationscivilian harm in conflict, and corruption, U.S. lawmakers and advocates have long sought to create safeguards against the misuse of the billions in American weaponry shipped abroad every year. End-use monitoring (EUM) is intended to be the answer to those concerns and is aimed at satisfying statutory requirements for the U.S. government to provide assurances that American arms are not being misused, diverted, or otherwise violating the terms of their export. Unfortunately, the current EUM regime fails to address today’s concerns about the human impact of U.S. arms transfers. The brief is intended to give an overview of current EUM policies, dispel commonly held misconceptions of current EUM practice, and offer recommendations for how these regulations could be strengthened.

To read the full brief and its findings click here.  

Event Reminder: Learning From The Afghanistan Experience: Re-Assessing U.S. Weapon and Security Assistance ​


Please join the Forum on the Arms Trade and Security Assistance Monitor for a conversation examining lessons learned from security assistance in Afghanistan and the potential consequences of weapons lost there, as well as insights that should be applied to existing security assistance efforts in the Middle East and elsewhere, especially those riddled by corruption.​

  • Tamim Asey, Founder and Executive Chairman, Institute of War & Peace Studies
  • James Cunningham, Project Lead, Security Sector Assistance, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) ​
  • Jodi Vittori, Co-chair, Global Politics and Security Program, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service; Non-Resident Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Elias Yousif, Deputy Director, Security Assistance Monitor, Center for International Policy
Register Here

Security Assistance News & Research Roundup

News & Blog Posts

Reuters, September 17

The new AUKUS security cooperation arrangement, which facilitates the transfer of U.S. and U.K. technology to Australia for nuclear-powered submarines, has alarmed the Indonesian foreign ministry, which released a statement this week warning against a “continuing arms race and power projection in the region.”

Reuters, September 16

President Biden’s State Department has notified Congress of a potential $500 million in rotary-wing maintenance support to Saudi Arabia. The maintenance services will support “the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command’s (RSLFAC) fleet of AH-64D/E, UH-60L, UH-60M, Schweizer 333, and Bell 406CS helicopters, as well as the future fleet of CH-47F Chinook helicopters.” President Biden promised at the outset of his administration to reassess US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia given the Saudi-led coalition’s record of civilian harm in Yemen.

Oversight Republicans seek testimony from Afghanistan watchdog

The Hill, September 16

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko has agreed to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee as its GOP members call for hearings to evaluate the Afghanistan withdrawal. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have yet to respond to requests to testify on Afghanistan before the Committee.

Ukraine, U.S. to hold joint military drills

Reuters, September 16

Ukraine & the U.S. will hold a bilateral training exercise, Rapid Trident 2021, in western Ukraine next week. The exercise will “involve 6,000 troops from 15 countries – Ukraine, the United States and other NATO members” and is scheduled to last until October 1.

US, UK and Australia forge military alliance to counter China

The Guardian, September 15

Leaders from the U.S., U.K., and Australia have announced the formation of Aukus, a security partnership that aims to counter Chinese power in the South China Sea by providing Australia with the technology necessary to produce nuclear submarines. The arrangement will also facilitate the transfer of cybersecurity and quantum technologies. The decision has solicited condemnation from foreign policy leaders in France upset at being excluded from the arrangement.

Afghan Killed by Drone Praised by Co-Workers in US Aid Group

Military Times, September 15

Evidence is mounting that an Afghan man killed by a U.S. drone strike on August 29 in Kabul was a “beloved longtime employee at an American humanitarian organization” who was unaffiliated with ISIS-K. An open-source investigation into the assassination by the New York Times contradicted early claims by Senior Pentagon officials defending the targeting process that culminated in the strike.

Germany worried about Mali plan for Russian mercenaries

Reuters, September 15

Leaders from Germany have joined France in objecting to a plan developed by Mali’s military junta to hire a Russian mercenary firm to train Malian security forces. Both Germany and France are conducting long-term counter-terrorism operations in Mali against al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates in the Sahel.

The U.S. Army’s Iron Dome could be headed to Ukraine

POLITICO, September 14

The House Armed Services Committee’s FY22 National Defense Authorization Act includes an amendment that would push the Biden administration to transfer new air and missile defense systems, like Iron Dome to Ukraine. increasing tensions with Moscow.

Saudi Arabia Considering Israeli-Made Missile Defense Systems

Breaking Defense, September 14

Saudi Arabia is “seriously considering” purchasing Israeli-made missile defense systems, such as the Iron Dome, in lieu of the U.S. decision to withdrawal its own air defense systems from Saudi Arabia. An Israeli defense source says that any such a deal would need approval from the U.S.

Biden to withhold, restrict some military aid to Egypt

POLITICO, September 13

Of the $300 million in security assistance to Egypt that Congress had made contingent on human rights compliance, the U.S. will withhold $130 million until el-Sisi’s military dictatorship meets “unspecified human rights conditions.” The funds being sent will be restricted to use for certain functions, including counterterrorism and non-proliferation. 

Biden to host ‘Quad’ alliance leaders at White House

The Hill, September 13

Next week, President Biden is slated to host the leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Australia, Japan, India, and the U.S.). The meeting will focus on exploring ways to strengthen ties and cooperation between Quad members in the Pacific to counter Chinese influence in the region.   

U.S. Forces Were Training the Guinean Soldiers Who Took Off to Stage a Coup

New York Times, September 10

Forces under the command of Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, Guinean special forces commander and the leader of Guinea’s new military junta, had been receiving training from U.S. Special Forces since mid-July. The coup in Guinea marks the first time that a foreign military leader has overthrown their own government in the middle of receiving U.S. military training. Additionally, a video of U.S. Green Berets driving through Conkray in the immediate wake of the coup has “circulated widely on social media, and some Guineans interpreted the images as tacit American support for the coup.” 

Research, Analysis, and Opinion


Is Biden normalizing Trump’s foreign policy?

Washington Post, September 16

Ahead of Biden’s first speech at the UN General Assembly, Fareed Zakaria argues in her article for the Washington Post that despite the administration’s rhetoric, Biden’s foreign policy “is a faithful continuation of Donald Trump’s and a repudiation of Barack Obama’s.” 

U.S. and Egypt Put Improving Egypt’s Human Rights on the Agenda

New York Times, September 16

Mona El-Naggar and Lara Lakes from the New York Times find that human rights conditions placed on U.S. security assistance to Egypt were “seen by critics as more symbolic than substantive,” arguing that despite real progress, more needs to be done. 

Guinea’s Coup Is The Latest Example Of Risks From U.S. Military Aid

CATO Institute, September 14

A. Trevor Thrall and Jordan Cohen argue that U.S. security assistance in West Africa “shifts the balance of human capital away from the country’s government and towards their military”; consequently, “the military becomes competent enough to overwhelm other, weaker institutions of the country.” Thrall and Cohen also note that the U.S. has provided military training to soldiers in all four of the West African countries that have experienced military coups in the past year.


Data Fact of the Week:

Share of Directorate of Defense Trade Controls Export Licenses Subjected to Blue Lantern Checks

The graphic above illustrates the percent of Directorate of Defense Trade Controls licenses that were subject to the State Department’s end-use monitoring program – Blue Lantern. Just over 1% of all licenses in FY2020 were subject to such scrutiny. 

The data comes from a new brief – Demystifying End-Use Monitoring in U.S. Arms Exports here

From the U.S. Government


Defense Department

September 16, 2021

Estimated cost of $500 million.

State Department

September 14, 2021

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