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US Department of Defence contract analysis

DoD Spending on Small Arms for Iraq Revealed: Section 655 Report

This report is part of AOAV’s investigation into the US DoD spend on small arms, guns and ammunition from Sept 11, 2001 to Sept 10, 2015. Our research found many discrepancies between the contracts published on the DoD’s website and those found on the Federal Procurement Database System- research that can be read here. For information on what a small arm is, please see here. To understand more about US DoD contracts visit here. The investigation also included an examination of US expenditure for small arms for Iraq, which can be read here, and Afghanistan, sehere.


The Pentagon and State Department each prepare their own portion of the 655 Report.

The State Department publishes direct commercial sales (DCS)

The Pentagon publishes sales and grants of military equipment and training administered by the DoD’s Defence Security Co-operation Agency including drawdowns, excess defence articles (used weapons and equipment provided at reduced or no cost to foreign governments), international military education and training, and foreign military sales.

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) New and used weapons, spare parts and related services, purchased directly from the US Government by foreign governments. The weapons may be new production, or from used stocks.
Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) Transfers negotiated between the manufacturing company and foreign buyer, and approved by the Department of State through an export license.

Based on the above, AOAV has not included figures stated as a DCS within totals of US arms sales to Iraq. Indeed, the Department of Defence may have overseen and approved these sales, but because they are directly between a manufacturing company and foreign buyer, it cannot be counted as an arms export by the US Government. What AOAV can state however, is that on top of the $28,409,000 in foreign military sales stated in the reports (that is, arms purchased directly from the US Government by the Iraqis), the US Government oversaw $19,641,957 in private direct commercial sales. The DoD may not be providing the arms directly, but they are still facilitating their transfer, and therefore a certain degree of responsibility still exists.

A full breakdown of the report can be found here:
Section 655 Report

Section 655 Reports are useful for tracking trends in the overall value of certain types of arms sales to specific countries, but provides very little information about exports arranged through non-traditional US military aid programs. In FY 2008/9, Iraw was the 7th highest arms importer from the US FMS program, with sales totalling £342,196,000. Since FY2005, more than $900 million in defence articles and services have been delivered to Iraq through the FMS program.

Many transfers of US weapons, and foreign weapons procured with US funding, are not included in Section 655 Reports, e.g. weapons procured for the Afghan military and police through the ASFF. DoD budgets suggest that billions of dollars in weapons and security assistance are procured for the ASFF each year. In 2009, funding for over 13,000 small arms and light weapons was appropriated through the ASFF. None of the resulting arms transfers are reflected in the Section 655 Report.