ITAR Export Compliance Regulations for Defense Products

itar export compliance

ITAR  Export Compliance Regulations

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Export Compliance regulations control the export of articles that are developed for defense-related applications.  This includes items that are designed for military systems or intended for a military purpose.   The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is part of the Department of State, administers the ITAR. 

Organizations or individuals that are involved with the manufacture, export, or import of defense articles are required to register with the DDTC.  This includes temporary importers and brokers.  ITAR controls not only physical items but extends to military product services and technical data.  Once registered the organization can then apply for any required licenses, approvals, or exemptions.

The History of ITAR

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and ITAR were implemented during the cold war to establish unilateral arms control necessary for national security.  These controls have continued to change, and the rate of enforcement activity has dramatically increased in recent years.  Failure to comply with these export regulations can result in both civil and criminal charges.  The penalties can include fines, imprisonment, or revoking the ability of an organization to engage in export activities.

Product Classifications

The degree of controls for a given item is determined by its classification.  Organizations are required to self-classify their products.  Most classifications can be found in the United States Munitions List (USML).  Products relating to missiles or rockets can be found in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

If a product classification can not be found in the ITAR then classification should be performed under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  The EAR, which is administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Department of Commerce, regulate items that are usable for both commercial and military applications. 

ITAR Approvals

The DDTC must approve of any export of temporary import of a defense article or service.  The classification of the article or service and the nation to which the transfer is to occur are factors in the DDTC’s decision making process.  These approvals are generally granted as either a license or an approval. 

A license must be obtained for the permanent or temporary export of an item, service, or technical data.  It is important to understand that the export of technical data can be performed by way of an email or conversation.

Approvals are given to authorize a U.S. person to provide a service to a foreign person.  They can also authorize the manufacture of defense items abroad or to establish distributions points for the transfer of items to foreign persons or agencies.

ITAR Compliance Program

The DDTC has specific ITAR requirements for registered organizations to adopt an Export Compliance Program.  These programs are to be adopted to create policies and procedures that prevent an organization from violating export violations. 

A properly designed export compliance program should be tailored to the unique requirements of the business.  These requirements should include the size of the business, the percentage of sales that are export controlled, and the expected growth of the organization.  The plan should be kept current with changes in regulations and should include procedures to handle compliance issues.

Elements of an Export Compliance Program should include:

The Assignment of Roles

Defining roles and assigning capable personnel to carry out procedures is essential.  For ITAR, it is a requirement that an Empowered Official be appointed to oversee the compliance program.

Management Commitment

Management commitment to itar export compliance is vital in creating and maintaining an export compliance program.  Senior management must show public support for the policies and procedures and provide sufficient resources to the program.  Particular attention should be given to assure that adequate export compliance training is provided.

Risk Assessments and Audits

Risk assessments should be conducted to identify vulnerabilities so that procedures and processes can be developed to mitigate potential violations.  As a program is audited these assessments should be remade to compensate for an inadequacies. 

ITAR Education and Training

Regular training is a requirement for all involved employees in an export compliance program.  This training should convey the key US Government agencies and export regulations applicable to the organization.  The training should also include what factors involved in requirements for an export license and the consequences of failure to comply.

CVG Strategy Export Compliance Solutions

While many export compliance providers offer programs geared toward compliance with a single set of regulations, CVG Strategy offers a harmonized program that will ensure that your company is compliant to all of these regulations.  Furthermore we consolidate this program in a collection of documents that can be integrated into a quality management system

Quality Management Approach to Export Compliance

An effective export compliance program must be integrated into all aspects of an organization.  It must clearly define roles, establish policies, train all employees, and provide concise work instructions for the execution of required tasks.  Furthermore it must undergo risk assessment and periodic auditing to identify potential shortcomings and incorporate corrective actions. 

This makes an ITAR export compliance program an excellent choice for inclusion in a quality management frame work.  CVG Strategy’s Export Compliance Management Program (ECM) Manual and associated documents are structured in accordance to ISO 9001 and AS9100D.  They provide policies, a manual, work instructions, and forms for the completion of specific export compliance tasks.

Support in Program Implementation

CVG Strategy can provide support in the implementation of your program to ensure that the specific requirements of your business model are met.  This ensures that the program will address all stakeholders and meet your regulatory and customer requirements. 

Our training programs ensure that your export compliance team is up to date in their comprehension of export regulations.  These engaging classes are available online on a regular basis.  They provide ample time for your questions and specific concerns. 

We can assist in export control classification of items against the United States Munitions List and the Commerce Control List.  We also provide ITAR program assessments to enable your program to pass audits.

Continuing Support Available

Many customers rely on our continued support when faced with complex issues with export compliance.  These can include difficult item classification issues or even guidance in voluntary self disclosure.  We also provide quick answers for your ITAR questions on a question by question basis.  Additionally, our ITAR Store can supply you with signs, visitor badges, and other accessories required for maintaining site security

Kevin Gholston

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