[drone-list] End-Use Monitoring on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Exports
jya at pipeline.com
Wed Sep 12 15:17:26 PDT 2012
Agencies Could Improve Information Sharing and End-Use Monitoring on
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Exports
Full 58-page report, PDF: http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593131.pdf
GAO-12-536, Jul 30, 2012
What GAO Found
Since 2005, the number of countries that acquired an unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV) system nearly doubled from about 40 to more than 75. In
addition, countries of proliferation concern developed and fielded
increasingly more sophisticated systems. Recent trends in new UAV
capabilities, including armed and miniature UAVs, increased the number of
military applications for this technology. A number of new civilian and
commercial applications, such as law enforcement and environmental
monitoring, are available for UAVs, but these applications are limited by
regulatory restrictions on civilian airspace.
The United States likely faces increasing risks as countries of concern and
terrorist organizations seek to acquire UAV technology. Foreign countries'
and terrorists' acquisition of UAVs could provide them with increased
abilities to gather intelligence on and conduct attacks against U.S.
interests. For instance, some foreign countries likely have already used
UAVs to gather information on U.S. military activities overseas.
Alternatively, the U.S. government has determined that selected transfers
of UAV technology support its national security interests by providing
allies with key capabilities and by helping retain a strong industrial base
for UAV production. For instance, the United Kingdom and Italy have used
UAVs purchased from the United States to collect data on Taliban activity
The United States has engaged in multilateral and bilateral diplomacy to
address UAV proliferation concerns. The United States principally engaged
the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) to address multilateral UAV
proliferation concerns. Since 2005, the United States proposed certain
significant changes to address how MTCR controls UAVs, but members could
not reach a consensus for these changes. Also, while the Wassenaar
Arrangement (Wassenaar) controls the export of some key dual-use UAV
components, it does not control other dual-use technologies that are
commonly used in UAVs. The Department of State (State) has also used
diplomatic cables to address the proliferation of UAV-related technologies
bilaterally. State provided to GAO about 70 cables that it sent from
January 2005 to September 2011 addressing UAV-related concerns to about 20
governments and the MTCR. Over 75 percent of these cables focused on
efforts by a small number of countries of concern to obtain UAV technology.
U.S. agencies coordinate in several ways to control the spread of UAV
technology, but could improve their UAV-related information sharing. For
instance, an interagency group reviews many license applications to export
UAV technology. However, there is not a formal mechanism to ensure that
licensing agencies have relevant and timely intelligence information when
making licensing decisions. Also, State's licensing database cannot provide
aggregate data on military UAV exports State has authorized, which may
impair the U.S. government's ability to oversee the release of sensitive
UAV technology. The Department of Defense (DOD) and State each conduct
end-use monitoring of some UAV exports, but differences in the agencies'
programs may result in similar types of items being subject to different
levels of oversight.
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