U.S. defense industry firms may have an easier time selling their wares to militaries across the globe as a comprehensive, White House export control reform package nears completion.
"We're close to the point of being able to publish those first categories of the revised export control system and those efforts are ongoing," Andrew J. Shapiro, the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro said Friday.
Though the program won't be completely wrapped up by the end of President Obama's first term in office, "it'll be so close to the goal line that it will be just up to the next administration to spike the football," Shapiro said during a breakfast with reporters.
The new export reform strategy, unveiled last year, is designed to double military and commercial exports over the next five years.
The main crux of the strategy included reducing the list of what sensitive military hardware cannot be sent overseas. The plan also will outline new parameters for information technology systems.
Finally, all military and commercial exports will be overseen by a single licensing agency and export enforcement coordination center, according to the White House.
While the administration's efforts will get more American military hardware into the hands of U.S. allies, DOD and State Department officials maintain the revised rules will still protect sensitive technologies critical to national security.
"We really need to protect the things that are most important to us," Shapiro explained. "The goal has been to focus our efforts on the so-called 'crown jewels.'"
With defense budgets expected to decline over the next few decades, American arms manufacturers have increasingly set their sights on foreign military markets, specifically in Asia and the Mideast.
Pressure to open up those foreign sectors to U.S. defense firms has only increased due to a $500 billion budget cut to DOD coffers set to go in place under the so-called sequestration plan.
Last August, Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush said that U.S. defense firms were unrivaled in the field of military unmanned technologies and have reaped the benefits both at home and abroad.
But as countries such as China and Iran continue to refine their own unmanned aircraft, that era of U.S. dominance in the field of unmanned weapons technologies could be coming to a close, Bush warned at the time.
That said, Pentagon officials have already taken steps to help open those foreign markets to U.S. suppliers.
In January, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter created the new Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure Office.
The new office is designed to "ensure DoD-wide planning for building partner capacity [by] taking into account these processes early in the planning process in an integrated, standardized, and institutionalized manner," Carter wrote in a Jan. 9 memo creating the new office.