This time it’s in the arena of foreign military sales. Arms sales to our friends and allies are approved by Congress and they’re carried out by DoD.
[State] is set to release a 10-point plan to retool its oversight of the process to make it more effective at a time of strategic competition, especially with China, State Department officials said. It calls its new plan “FMS 2023.”
The State Department plans to develop more creative and flexible financing for countries, expanding the view of arms sales to take a more regional approach instead of weighing each country’s request on a case-by-case basis, and prioritizing some cases when they fit squarely into broader national security goals, according to department officials.
State has no need to weigh in on an arms purchase request, whether by country or by region: Congress already has done the weighing, and found the request, which comes through DoD, worthy. All that remains is for DoD to carry it out. State certainly has a role in helping to arrange financing, but that should be on a will-assist basis and not be used as a mechanism for slow-walking a transfer of which this or that State bureaucrat—or anyone in the SecState office—might personally disapprove.
Further, State, by the nature of its mission, already is fully current on the situation of any nation or region of interest to the US or to any of our enemy nations, and it already approves 95% of foreign military sales within 48 hours. To the extent State should remain involved in final approval, it shouldn’t take the Department more than 48 hours to approve or reject the remaining 5%; there’s nothing more to consider” Congress has done that already.
However, State should have nothing to do with arms sales at all beyond quickly and efficiently providing finance assistance: the sales already have been approved by Congress; that should saucer and blow the matter.
What does need to happen is for DoD bureaucrats get out of the way of executing the Congressionally approved sales and transfers.