US weapon sales boss talks China, arms exports and his agency’s future

WASHINGTON — After years of working various jobs related to security cooperation, Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper took over the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency in August 2017. It was an appointment that coincided with a major push by the Trump administration to increase weapon sales as an economic driver. Three years later, as he gets ready to retire, Hooper sat down with Defense News for an exclusive exit interview.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

You came in as DSCA director in 2017, when the Trump administration was making a concerted push to increase arms sales abroad. Has that push been successful?

Certainly I think the answer to that question is: “Yes, absolutely.” When I assumed responsibility at DSCA, we saw a convergence of three authorities that helped to create conditions that would help us to move forward and to elevate security cooperation. The first one was the

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Florida Gov. DeSantis may not be able to welcome Trump’s RNC with open arms, after all

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the deadly pandemic sweeping through his state could help decide whether President Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech next month at the Republican National Convention to a packed crowd — or to a lot of empty seats.

Florida is operating under an executive order DeSantis enacted to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which requires all big sports venues to operate at no more than 50 percent capacity, the governor’s spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferré, confirmed.

That includes VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, the 15,000-seat venue where Republicans intend to gather Aug. 24-27 to hold the hoopla-packed part of Trump’s nomination for a second term.

Lenny Curry, Jacksonville’s popular Republican mayor, said recently that the city is keeping close tabs on the crisis to see whether it’s safe to have a mass gathering like the GOP convention at the end of August.

However, it’s the

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