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Friendly Foreign Countries (FFC)

A Friendly Foreign Country means any country not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and specified as a friendly foreign country in the report required under 10 United States Code 2350a(f)(2).” Friendly Foreign Countries (Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, India, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine).

Security assistance is a subset of a larger, more general category called security cooperation and consists of a group of programs, authorized by law, which allow the transfer of defense articles and services, including training, to friendly foreign governments or international organizations. The statutory authority for security assistance is provided primarily under the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961 as amended and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) of 1976 as amended. The legal authorities under these two acts have been delegated by the President through executive orders to the Department of State (DOS) and the DOD. The Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) has been specifically delegated the functions conferred upon the President by the AECA to perform most of the essential executory responsibilities of security assistance.

The security assistance program is an important instrument of U.S. foreign and national security policy. The principal objectives of security assistance are to Support the political, economic, military, technological, and national security goals of the United States and to strengthen the military capability of selected friendly and allied countries by enabling them to Deter and defend against possible aggression; Maintain regional military balance and defense posture; and Enhance coalition interoperability.

And Eligible recipient of security assistance is any friendly foreign country or international organization determined by the president to be eligible to purchase or receive (on a grant basis) U.S. defense articles and defense services, unless otherwise ineligible due to statutory restrictions.

The Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) official position regarding the customer’s selection is clear. The DOD prefers thatallies and friendly nations choose to purchase U.S. systems rather than foreign systems. The reason for the U.S. preference relates to the various political, military and economic advantages derived from the U.S. and its friends using the same military equipment.Although DOD officially prefers that allies and friends select U.S. systems, the DOD is generallyneutral regarding the customer’s choice to purchase by means of foreign military sales (FMS) or direct commercial sales (DCS). Under law, most U.S. military systems may be purchased through either the FMS process or through DCS.

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA), section 30 permits the USG to sell defense articles and services to U.S. companies in connection with proposed direct commercial sale. Sales may be made to a company incorporated in the U.S. that has an approved export license. To be eligible, the U.S. company must intend to incorporate the item(s) or service(s) being purchased from the USG into end items being to be sold to a friendly foreign country or international organization. Services may include transportation, installation, testing, or certification that are directly associated with the sale.

Under FMS, the customer is entering a direct government-to-government relationship with the USG. In fact, the customer is purchasing directly from the USG. Depending on the political climate, this can be viewed as either an advantage or a disadvantage. Some nations and international organizations desire the association implied by the FMS interaction. Other governments, where the popular view of the U.S. is not as positive, may desire to distance themselves from the USG and enter into a DCS arrangement with a U.S. contractor. In this situation, public opinion may view a relationship with U.S. industry more favorably than the direct government-to-government relationship inherent in FMS.

The USG is involved in approving both FMS and DCS sales. For FMS, DSCA consults with the DOS for approval to develop new FMS cases. For DCS, the contractor must apply to the DOS to obtain an export license. In either method, the DOS makes the final decision to authorize militarydefense sales.Under the AECA, both FMS and DCS sales must be notified to the U.S. Congress if the proposedsale meets or exceeds the statutory dollar thresholds.

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