Department of State Defense Trade Controls Overviews

DISAM Journal, April 2007 | Go to article overview

Department of State Defense Trade Controls Overviews


Report Released By The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls

[The following article was recently released by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), U.S. Department of State (DOS). This and several other documents of interest to the international community are available at the following web site: http://www.pmddtc.state.gov.]

This document is intended to provide an overview of the Department of State's defense trade controls. These controls are contained in the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), both of which are authoritative on this matter. (Additional information regarding the Act and the Regulations are available on the following web site: www.pmddtc.state.gov/docs/defense_trade_overview_2006.pdf.) This document is not intended to serve as a basis for any registration or licensing decisions on the part of the public or the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. If any discrepancy between this document and either the AECA or the ITAR, the Act and the Regulations will prevail.

Defense Trade Controls Overview

The Department of State has been responsible for regulating defense trade since 1935, with the objective of ensuring that U.S. defense trade supports the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. We seek to deny our adversaries access to U.S. defense technology while ensuring that defense cooperation with friends, allies, and coalition partners contributes to their ability to defend themselves and fight effectively alongside U.S. military forces in joint operations. We also scrutinize potential defense exports for their effect on regional stability. Depending on the context, exports of small arms or helicopter spare parts can contribute to instability as easily as attack aircraft or missiles.

Today this function is vested in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs' Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), headed by a Deputy Assistant Secretary and Managing Director and consisting of the following offices:

* Offices of Defense Trade Controls Policy (DTCP)

* Defense Trade Controls Licensing (DTCL)

* Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC)

* Defense Trade Controls Management (DTCM)

The AECA and Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961 are the basic legal authorities, implemented by the ITAR.

DDTC regulates the temporary import and the permanent and temporary export of defense articles and defense services, to include brokering, involving items on the U.S. Munitions List (USML), Part 121 of the ITAR). The USML generally covers items specially designed or modified for military applications, and its twenty categories extend from firearms to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The scope of items on the USML is similar to the control lists of most other significant arms exporting countries, although the USML contains some items that other countries do not generally control as defense articles. For example, commercial communications satellites, their parts, components and technology, are controlled under Category XV of the USML.

The ITAR covers not only hardware but also technical data and defense services, but excludes basic research and information that is in the public domain. Under the ITAR, an "export" includes not only physically taking a defense article out of the United States but also disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the U.S. or abroad. It also includes performing a defense service on behalf of, or for the benefit of, a foreign person, whether in the U.S. or abroad.

Registration

Any U.S. person involved in the manufacture, export, or brokering of U.S. defense articles or services is required to register with DDTC and pay a fee of $1,750 per year. Any U.S. person or any foreign person subject to the jurisdiction of the U. …

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