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U.S. eases rules on exporting military technology

In a boon for military contractors, the United States is relaxing controls on military exports, allowing some U.S.-made military parts to flow to nearly any country in the world with little oversight. ProPublica reports that beginning this week, thousands of parts for military aircraft can be sent freely around the world, even to some countries currently under U.N. arms embargoes. Previously, military firms had to register with the State Department and obtain a license for each export deal. That allowed U.S. officials to screen for issues including possible human rights violations. But now, tens of thousands of items are shifting to the Commerce Department, where they fall under looser controls. The changes were heavily lobbied for by military firms including Lockheed Martin, Textron and Honeywell. “The whole globe, basically, is going to get an easier deal in terms of getting access to U.S. military technology without very many questions asked,” says William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. The United States already heavily dominates arms exports market: In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements — which accounts for nearly 80 percent of the global market.

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