Around Town …

  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko signed agreements with representatives of seven countries for peaceful cooperation in nuclear safety matters while in Vienna, Austria this week.
  • India-U.S. military cooperation may get a boost next week when the Indian defense minister visits DC.
  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved by voice vote resolutions of ratification for Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties between the United States and the United Kingdom and between the United States and Australia.
  • Meanwhile the House Foreign Affairs Committee next week will mark-up Cuba sanctions-easing legislation: H.R. 4645, Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act.
  • Tucked away in the recently approved NASA Reauthorization Act is language requesting an export controls study examining the need for a process for granting real-time, limited waivers for contractors or U.S. officials to enter into technical discussions and share technical data with foreign governments to resolve issues that may threaten the life or saftey of space crews.
  • By and large Mexican citizens cannot buy guns, not even for personal defense.  What if the could? For starters arms trafficking of weapons from the United States would decrease – no doubt about it. It may also start to make a dent in Mexico’s failing battle against the drug cartels.  This is common sense – but most Mexican leaders in control today lack it.  Mexican politicians prefer to blame America and Americans first, solutions that look in, rarely if ever.  And that is why Mexico will always have problems with economic development and prosperity.
  • The Government Accountability Office published a report this week that includes recommendations to improve transparency and consistency of reporting on defense exports to places such as Saudi Arabia.  The report does not help make the case for a recently announced $60 billion arms deal for the Saudis — and several Members of Congress are already on it.
  • A Heritage Foundation report on the Obama Administration’s “ambitious” export control reform efforts concludes that “it will become more likely that its success will depend on Congress adopting supporting legislation.”  Indeed, and that would be good news.  Even better, wait until after the November mid-term elections — no need to rush the reform train. If folks are truly interested in creating a genuine global system, reform needs to include our allies (who tend not to have very good national systems to begin with).
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