Sanctions that make it harder for Russia to export military equipment create an “opportunity” for US weapons makers to find new markets, a White House official said at the arms industry conference ComDef on Tuesday.
“As a practical matter, countries that have had to rely on Russian equipment are going to find it very difficult to get even basic supplies from Russia’s defense industrial base,” Cara Abercrombie, the National Security Council’s director of defense policy and arms control, told the conference.
“It is an opportunity, certainly for industry members in the room. It is an opportunity for the United States to provide the support that these countries need,” Abercrombie added.
The Biden administration’s policy of supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia has been a total boon for the US arms industry. Besides profiting from the arms being sent to Ukraine, the industry stands to gain from former Soviet states phasing out their Russian-made equipment for NATO armaments.
Abercrombie said the US and its NATO allies were working to “rapidly transition” former Soviet states to NATO equipment and said there are also opportunities to arm countries in the Asia Pacific.
As part of this effort, the US recently announced $2.2 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Ukraine and other countries in the region. FMF is a State Department program that gives foreign governments money to purchase US arms.
About $1 billion of the FMF will go to Ukraine, while the remaining funds will be divided among Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.