AUKUS Can Work Without Gutting U.S. Export Control Laws


The United States has the most comprehensive series of military export controls in the world, implemented through the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Yet, this year those controls have faced their biggest challenge in a decade – an attempt from industry and some in Congress to tar it as a threat to U.S. national security, and a barrier to the AUKUS security partnership between the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

Lawmakers must resolve differences in AUKUS-related sections of the Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) over the next few weeks. As they do so, representatives should preserve the traditional deal offered to allies requesting military-industrial partnerships: ITAR exemptions in exchange for export control alignment. This deal would encourage collaboration amongst AUKUS partners while ensuring that foreign adversaries can’t siphon U.S.-origin weapons and military technology through American allies because of discrepancies in our export control regimes.

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