Deadly Garage Sales: Using the Excess Defense Articles Program Strategically (Marcellus Policy Analysis

By Andrew Jarocki, Spring 2022 Marcellus Policy Fellow

The Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program is the Department of Defense’s mechanism for getting rid of unneeded military equipment by providing it to other nations on a grant or sale basis.

EDA transfers can have both financial and strategic benefits for the United States. However, this report uses the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon to show that transfers in the past decade to obviously fragile partners resulted in outcomes that were counterproductive to American strategic aims.

Transfers should still be used to strengthen reliable partners and reduce the need for direct American intervention around the globe. However, to avoid repeating the mistake of inadvertently equipping foes like ISIS, the Taliban and Hizballah, more careful consideration of a recipient’s fragility is required when the military decides to “clean out its garage.”