The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and the Defense Trade Function

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Getting Started with Defense Trade

The information provided in this article is courtesy of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls' (DDTC) web site:

Do Defense Export Controls Apply to Me? A Quick Action Checklist

* Find out if what you want to export (hardware, technical data, and/or defense services) is covered in the U.S. Munitions List (USML), found in Part 121 of the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR).

* Not sure if your desired export is covered by the USML? File a Commodity Jurisdiction request.

* If what you want to export is on the USML, you must be registered with DDTC.

* After you are registered, you may apply for an export license. D-Trade is the preferred way of licensing.

* Have basic questions you need answered? Call the DDTC Response Team.

Rationale for Regulating Defense Exports

The U.S. government views the sale, export, and re-transfer of defense articles and defense services as an integral part of safeguarding U.S. national security and furthering U.S. foreign policy objectives. Authorizations to transfer defense articles and provide defense services, if applied judiciously, can help meet the legitimate needs of friendly countries, deter aggression, foster regional stability, and promote the peaceful resolution of disputes. The U.S., however, is cognizant of the potentially adverse consequences of indiscriminate arms transfers and, therefore, strictly regulates exports and re-exports of defense items and technologies to protect its national interests and those interests in peace and security of the broader international community.

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls--The Offices that Administer the Defense Export Regulations

The DDTC, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 2778-2780 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the ITAR (22 CFR Parts 120-130), is charged with controlling the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered by the USML. To learn more about DDTC.

Authority for Control of Arms Exports

The AECA provides the authority to control the export of defense articles and defense services. The AECA charges the President to exercise this authority, which has been delegated to the Secretary of State. The AECA is available through the DDTC.

The ITAR implements the AECA. These regulations are frequently updated and revised to reflect change in the international political and security climate, as well as technological development. The ITAR may be accessed on the DDTC web site.

In accordance with Executive Order 11958, the Department of State (DoS), with the concurrence of the Department of Defense (DoD), determines what commodities are covered by the USML. Guidance on the commodity jurisdiction (CJ) function is available on the DDTC web site.

In addition to seeking technical support and national security assessments from the DoD, the DoS relies on extensive interagency cooperation and coordination to perform the arms export control function by:

* Working closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (review of defense industry registration, performance of defense export end-use checks, investigations, civil penalties).

* Working with the intelligence community to review alleged diversions and unauthorized transfers.

* Cooperates with the Justice Department and U.S. Attorneys (pre-trial consultations, trial documentary preparation, expert testimony).

U.S. Government Regulatory Measures

For the U.S., licensing and compliance are two sides of the same coin, and there is constant interaction between the two functions.


* In accordance with the AECA, registration with the DoS (via DDTC) of all U.S. persons that manufacture or export defense articles, furnish defense services, or U. …