Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (on left) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Donald Trump is expected to reveal a program as early as next month that will increase the role that Pentagon attaches and State Department diplomats play in weapons sales in order to boost sales abroad, Reuters’ Mike Stone and Matt Spetalnick reported in an exclusive. One senior administration official and a National Security Council spokesperson confirmed the plan to Axios.

Why it matters: The U.S. already is the world’s top arms supplier. Critics of America’s human rights record could be quick to point out this helps the U.S. implicitly or explicitly support violence abroad or even terrorist activities.

The details, per Reuters:

  • It would be a part of Trump’s “Buy American” push and is expected to roll out as a National Security Decision Directive.
  • It could include an easing of rules on exports for foreign countries’ purchases of U.S.-made military equipment.

The big picture:

  • Trump’s administration already has made several controversial international sales, including those to Saudi Arabia and to Bahrain.
  • Former President Obama also worked to make it easier for U.S. arms sales to foreign countries, with limits on who the recipients could be. (Arms exports under Obama more than doubled former President George W. Bush's tally, per DefenseOne.)
  • The senior administration official and NSC spokesperson told Axios that national security, foreign policy, and human rights will still be central to arms transfers reviews and approvals.
  • U.S.-based defense contractors stand to benefit from the changes and could help them counter increasingly aggressive rivals in international arms sales, including Russia and China, per Reuters. “This is a win-win for the US," a defense industry official told Axios. "You get American manufacturing jobs, stronger ties with ally nations, you keep production lines hot. It’s exactly the approach that we need moving forward.”

What's next: The senior administration official told Axios the rollout should be expected sometime this winter or spring. The interagency process of ironing out proposals between the Pentagon, State and Commerce is moving forward right now.

  • "What is changing is that this Administration is putting greater focus on ensuring decisions are not delayed unnecessarily," the source told Axios.

Response: A Defense spokesperson declined to comment on the plan.

Editor's note: This has been updated with White House comment and a comment from a defense industry official.

Go deeper

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executives orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Texas judge temporarily halts Biden's 100-day deportation freeze

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but he could face pushback from the courts.