Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said last week that allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization need to spend more on defense, including weaponry. "This is no longer a hypothetical worry," he said. "We are there today. And it is unacceptable."
Close U.S. allies get money to help pay for the military equipment they buy. For example, Israel received an estimated $2.78 billion in U.S. aid to purchase arms. Other countries, such as Iran and China, cannot buy U.S. military hardware. Pakistan, India and Indonesia were once on that blacklist but have since been taken off. Before that, the countries purchased more arms from Russia and other European countries.
Although U.S. military technology is widely viewed as cream of the crop, it does not always win lucrative contracts overseas. In April, India announced its short list of bidders for about $10 billion in fighter jets, which bypassed American firms in favor of European ones.
France makes sought-after fighter jets. Britain is a leading tank builder, and Russia's airplanes, cargo carriers, missiles and bombs have long been tough competition worldwide.