While it is unlikely that any one nation will immediately challenge the United States directly with its export leadership, the effect of many countries crowding into once prized markets could still have a chilling effect on American alliances and defense partnerships globally.”August Cole, writer-in-residence at Avascent, recently penned an op-ed for The National Interest based on findings published earlier this year in Avascent’s white paper, Dynamics of International Military Modernization 2016. The op-ed outlines how there is a paradigm shift underway in the international defense marketplace, as nations that were longtime Western customers and production partners evolve into worldwide sellers. The United States is still the biggest defense exporter accounting for 45 percent in global arms purchases in 2015 and Western European firms from allies such as the United Kingdom and France contributed 14 percent globally giving America and its closest European partners a majority position at 59 percent of the market. However, this is down from 62 percent in 2010 and Western defense suppliers are in a strategic bind: budget pressure and red tape at home and new competitors abroad.
The op-ed highlights and explains the strategies of the list of nations leading the change: Israel, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, and China, concluding that for Western governments and their defense firms, this shift poses profound commercial and policy questions that need to be resolved if they are to have any chance of enhancing or even simply preserving their global position.