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Arming Allies: US State Department Approves New Brand of NATO Weapons Sale

© REUTERS / Franciszek Mazur/Agencja GazetaU.S soldiers walk next to a Patriot missile defence battery during join exercises at the military grouds in Sochaczew, near Warsaw
U.S soldiers walk next to a Patriot missile defence battery during join exercises at the military grouds in Sochaczew, near Warsaw - Sputnik International
The US State Department has given the green light to a new joint arms deal with NATO, the first agreement of its kind.

Last year, the US Navy announced plans to test a new way of selling weapons to NATO allies.

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Rather than sell directly to member states, the Pentagon would sell to the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, and the lethal commodities would then be distributed to alliance members who have pooled their resources.

On Thursday, the US State Department approved the Navy’s plan to sell some $231 million worth of precision-guided missiles to NATO. If approved by the US Congress, it will be the first transaction of its kind, and could pave the way for future deals.

According to a statement from the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the deal will include a wide range of munitions and bomb components.

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"The proposed sale improves NATO’s members’ capability to meet current and future ground threats with precision. They will use the enhanced capacity as a deterrent to regional threats, and to increase interoperability within contingency operations," the statement reads.

"Many of the purchasing nations already have precision-guided munitions in their inventories and will have no difficulty absorbing these additional munitions."

The package will be distributed among Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

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The NATO alliance has undergone a military buildup in recent years, citing "Russian aggression." Additional battalions have been deployed, and the Aegis Ashore missile system has installed in Poland.

"Once NATO expansion began in the mid-1990s, it became all but inevitable that it would continue to do so until it encompassed all the territory between the original NATO member-countries and Russia’s borders," Gordon M. Hahn, an analyst with the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, wrote.

"Along the way, the process has driven a wedge deeper and deeper between Russia and the West, creating pivotal conflicts along Russia’s borders in Georgia and Ukraine and thereby endangering both sides’ security."

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