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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Maddock, Preston, “Arms Trade Treaty Advocates Push Back Against NRA Campaign,” March 8 2013, Politics, The Huffington Post,, Last Checked March 8 2013.

  1. “Amnesty International and other human rights groups on Thursday pushed back against the National Rifle Association’s ongoing campaign to organize opposition to the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. Final negotiations over the treaty are set to take place in New York later this month, and both supporters and NRA leaders have ratcheted up their outreach efforts in recent weeks.”
  2. “The treaty will govern the export of conventional arms “because these are the real weapons of mass destruction,” said Frank Jannuzi, chief advocacy officer of Amnesty International USA, during a conference call with reporters.”
  3. “Goddard accused the NRA of having stoked false fears among its members that the Arms Trade Treaty will violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”
  4. “The final treaty language is set to be hammered out during multilateral negotiations at U.N. headquarters in New York, and the results of those talks will ultimately determine whether the Obama administration signs on to the treaty. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden recently told Reuters that the U.S. government would not support the treaty unless it brings “other countries in line with existing U.S. best practices.”

Export Control, U.S. Foreign Policy, UN, ATT


Spring, Baker, “ATT Could Stymie Arms Export Control Reform,” April 22nd, 2013, The Foundry, Last Checked April 24th, 2013.

  1. “Reform of the U.S. arms export control took a major step forward this week when the Departments of State and Commerce released final rules governing aircraft and gas turbine engines. However, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which the Obama Administration voted to adopt at the United Nations earlier this month, threatens to scuttle this progress.”
  2. “Several years ago, the Obama Administration embarked on an overdue reform of the U.S. system. But at the same time, it was negotiating the ATT, and these two efforts seem to have been working at cross purposes.”
  3. “For instance, the new rules on aircraft and turbine engines transfer these items from the strict and inflexible Munitions List, maintained by the Department of State, to the more flexible Commodity Control List, maintained by the Department of Commerce. These and similar reforms are not designed to de-control the export of weapons and sensitive technologies. For example, they will not ease controls on exports to China.”
  4. “The still-ongoing revision of U.S. rules governing the export of arms will maintain the status of our system as the most responsible arms export control system in the world. There is no need for the U.S. to sign or ratify the ATT. Instead, the U.S. should continue to reform its own export control system.”

ATT, Export Control, Executive


Simonet, LoicThe Arms Trade Treaty and the OSCESecurity and Human Rights, Volume 25, Issue 4. 14 pages. 2014.

  1. “Adopted in 2013 by the United Nations and entered into force one year later, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) offers a useful – although imperfect – regulatory framework for international transfers of conventional arms, thus promoting human security and contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability” – abstract
  2. “As a regulatory instrument – not a disarmament or even an arms control treaty – it does not intend to prohibit the arms trade nor to end all gun violence, but it creates extra responsibility in this area and helps to normalize the arms market through more transparency” – page 441
  3. “The ATT applies only to eight categories of conventional arms which are those already covered by the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms established in 1992 (battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers… plus a category which currently does not fall under the Register: small arms and light weapons” – page 443
  4. “The Treaty applies to the whole arms trade process, i.e. export (Article 7), import (Article 8), transit or transhipment (Article 9), brokering (Article 10), operations for which each State Party has to take measures to inform and regulate.” – page 444
  5. “…if no measures can be undertaken to mitigate the risks identified … ‘the exporting State Party shall not authorize the export.’” – page 445
  6. “The OSCE is a “regional arrangement” under Chapter 8 of the Charter of the United Nations – actually the largest, with 57 participating States and 11 Asian and Mediterranean Partner Countries. It operates through a broad network of field presences, which gives the Organization direct access to relevant governmental agencies in many of its participating States” – page 447
  7. “The involvement of all the EU members and of the United States has placed more than 70% of the global arms market under the Treaty’s influence. But in regions where State power is weak or non-existent (“failed states”), the ATT may be of no influence at all.” – page 449
  8. “…ratification by Congress will primarily depend on changes to the ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and EAR (Export Administration Regulations), described as a ‘gold standard’ during the negotiations.” – page 551
  9. “In 2011, 36 American Congressmen, led by Senator Jerry Moran, had issued a resolution advising President Obama not to sign the Treaty and Congress to refrain from ratifying it, and echoing the concerns of the National Rifle Association and the Heritage Foundation about the defence of the Second Amendment.” – page 452
  10. “A year later, 51 Senators from both political sides signed a letter to President Obama, calling on him to ensure the protection of private activities related to firearms and warning that they would oppose ratification if their request was not taken into account; at the same time, 130 Representatives also expressed their hostility” – page 452

ATT, International, Military, Export Control, UN


Whang, Cindy. “The Challenges of Enforcing the International Military-Use Export Control Regimes: An Analysis of the United Nations Arms Trade TreatyWisconsin International Law Journal, Volume 33. Page 114. January 4, 2015.

  1. “On April 2, 2013, the United Nations adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to create an international standard for regulating the international trade in conventional arms” – page 114
  2. “…the humanitarian purpose of ATT is aimed at increasing international security, stability, and peace while decreasing human suffering from the illicit trade of conventional arms” – page 114
  3. “ATT’s objectives will be achieved by standardizing the state parties’ import and export regulations” – page 115
  4. “Huge challenges continue to exist on both the international and domestic front for ratifying the ATT standards, but the ATT’s effectiveness relies on states unifying their domestic regulations with agreed-upon international standards.10” – page 116
  5. “Under UN multilateral treaties, ATT is categorized as a disarmament treaty. UN disarmament treaties can be divided into two categories according to their objectives. The objective of the first category is to disarm and eliminate military-use weapons.” – page 117
  6. “The second category of multilateral disarmament treaties is export control treaties. These treaties have a long-term objective of promoting peace, but their primary goal is to create common standards for regulating international trade of military-use weapons and technology. These types of treaties are in the minority for disarmament treaties, and ATT belongs in this second type.” – page 117
  7. “Current international export control regimes rely on cooperation as a main method for enforcement.” – page 119
  8. “There have been five international technology export control regimes established before ATT in the past sixty years. The establishment and structure of current international export control regimes are best understood in light of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), the first international export control regime.” – page 119
  9. “Three international agreements were established after COCOM, and they all targeted a specific type of weapon technology: the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Australian Group (AG), and the Missiles Technology Control Regime (MTCR). After COCOM was dissolved, the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) was established to fill the void COCOM left for standardizing export regulations for conventional arms and dual-use products” – page 120
  10. “The first informal international military-use export control regime was structured to restrict the trade of military weapons according to perceived military hostilities post-World War II” – page 120
  11. “The Wassenaar Arragnement was established as an informal agreement made between participating states, but the effectiveness of adopting and enforcing WA standards remains an issue” – page 127
  12. “… several states became concerned with the status of nuclear export control and established NSG as a complementary measure to limit the transfer of nuclear technology and make sure that any transfer was safeguarded” – page 128
  13. “AG was an informal agreement established in 1985 as a complementary measure in support of two international treaties: the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (also known as the 1925 Geneva Protocol), and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on the Their Destruction (also known as the 1972 Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention).” – page 129
  14. “MTCR was an informal agreement established in 1987, which sought to prevent the proliferation of unmanned delivery systems that could be used for weapons of mass destruction.” – page 129
  15. “There are two challenges with regard to the effectiveness of these three international technology export control regimes. The first challenge is that the technology export control regimes are focused on controlling the exporter’s side of the trade, and, for the most part, current participants in these technology export control regimes are suppliers of these controlled technologies” – page 130
  16. “The second challenge is the punishment for or repercussions of non-compliance.” – page 131
  17. “The UN’s decision to negotiate and create an Arms Trade Treaty was announced in the General Assembly 2006 Resolution 61/89. However, the votes taken on the General Assembly resolution were not promising” – page 131
  18. “The goal was to create a legally binding instrument that would establish an international standard for regulating the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms to promote international peace through arms control” – page 131
  19. “The United States voted against the resolution, while China, India, and the Russian Federation abstained from voting for the resolution” – page 132
  20. “Although the United States signed the treaty on September 25, 2013, many members of the US Senate have vocally opposed ratifying the treaty” – page 137

Military, Dual Use, Export Control, Compliance, Law, Nonproliferation, UN, BWC, WMD, Nuclear, CWC, Chemical, ATT


Morley, JeffersonUnmanned and Uncontrolled: Proliferation of Unmanned Systems and the Need for Improved Arms Export ControlsArms Control Today, Volume 45 Issue 8. Page 7. October 2015.

  1. “The report focuses on the implications of the proliferation of unmanned systems for existing arms export control mechanisms.” – page 7
  2. “They observe that the states currently producing these systems adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Arms Trade Treaty, and the EU Common Position, all of which cover the systems to some extent” – page 7
  3. “Zwijnenburg and van Hoorn predict the booming market in unmanned systems will lead states and nonstate actors to acquire this technology for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting” – page 7
  4. “They recommend action “to limit the access to critical dual-use technologies through strict global export controls that prohibit the export of unmanned systems” to recipients who may use them for human rights violations or acts of “oppression” or terrorism” – page 7

ATT, Export Control, Surveillance