International Traffic in Arms Regulations

International Traffic in Arms Regulations

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of United States government regulations that control the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List. [ [ 1999 CFR Title 26, Volume 11 ] ] These regulations implement the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, and are described in Title 22 (Foreign Relations), Chapter I (Department of State), Subchapter M of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Department of State interprets and enforces ITAR. Its goal is to advance national strategic objectives and U.S. foreign policy via the trade controls.

For practical purposes, ITAR regulations dictate that information and material pertaining to defense and military related technologies may only be shared with U.S. persons unless approval from the Department of State is received or a special exemption is used. United States companies can face heavy fines if the Department of State discovers they have, without approval or the use of an exemption, provided non-U.S.-persons with access to ITAR-protected products or information such as designs, test data, processes, software code, etc.

A "U.S. person" can be
* a U.S. citizen;
* a permanent resident who does not work for a foreign company, a foreign government, or a foreign governmental agency/organization;
* a political asylee;
* a part of the U.S. government, or
* a corporation, business, organization, or group that is incorporated in the United States under U.S. law.

The list of ITAR-controlled technologies changes. Until 1996–1997, ITAR classified strong cryptography as arms and prohibited their export from the U.S. Another change occurred as a result of Space Systems/Loral's conduct after the February 1996 failed launch of the Intelsat 708 satellite. The Department of State charged Space Systems/Loral with violating the Arms Export Control Act and the ITAR. [] [] As a result, technology pertaining to satellites and launch vehicles became more carefully protected.


There is an open debate between the Department of State and the industries and academia regulated by ITAR concerning how harmful the regulatory restrictions are for U.S. businesses and higher education institutions. The Department of State insists that ITAR has limited effect and provides a security benefit to the nation that outweighs any impact that these sectors must bear. Every year, the Department of State can cite multiple arrests of ITAR violators by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. However, many companies and institutions within the affected areas argue that ITAR is stifling U.S. trade and science. Companies argue that ITAR is a significant trade barrier that acts as a substantial negative subsidy, weakening U.S. industries' ability to compete.Sharon Weinberger, “Here We Go Again: Industry and Government Revisit U.S. Export Controls”, "Aviation Week & Space Technology", 17 July 2006, page 82.] U.S. companies point to announcements in Europe by EADS and Alcatel promoting their "ITAR-free" satellites and defense items. [ [ European Satellite Component Maker Says It is Dropping U.S. Components Because of ITAR ] ] Higher education institutions argue that ITAR prevents the best international students from studying and contributing in the United States, and prevents cooperation on certain types of international scientific projects.

Currently, officials at the Department of State dismiss the burden on industry and educational institutions as minor compared to the contributions to national security provided by ITAR. They also view the announcements of "ITAR-free" items as anecdotal and not systemic.

ITAR controls, military sales and joint programs

In April 2006, the Australian Government was reported to have chosen EADS MRH-90 troop-lift helicopters in preference to U.S. Sikorsky models because “the European bid offered the ADF better access to crucial computer source codes than the Sikorsky bid”.Geoffrey Barker, “Australian Aerospace wins $1.5bn bid”, "Australian Financial Review", 27 April 2006, page 6.]

ITAR controls, as well as separate policy concerns, have hampered international cooperation in development of the F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The Clinton administration promised the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence that an ITAR waiver would be given, allowing greater technology transfer associated with the project. [ [ Microsoft Word - FINAL CRC VERSION.doc ] ] Yet, despite the backing of the Bush administration, the waiver was been repeatedly blocked by the late U.S. Congressman Henry Hyde because of his security concerns about potential technology transfer to third countries. [ [ UK Warns USA Over ITAR Arms Restrictions - Defense Industry Daily ] ] These difficulties caused the UK to threaten that it would abandon the JSF project and consider alternative aircraft. [ [ ITAR Fallout: Britain to Pull Out of F-35 JSF Program? - Defense Industry Daily ] ] Both the UK and the Australian Governments demanded a guarantee that the U.S. will fully disclose technology needed for the JSF project before they would commit to further involvement in the project.Max Blenkin, “Fighter Deal Stalls on Secret Technology”, "The Australian", 15 March 2006.] [ [ BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | MPs warn over US fighter jet deal ] ] []

Congressman Hyde retired from Congress in January 2007 and he subsequently died from complications following open heart surgery in November 2007 [] . With his departure, ITAR-related impacts regarding the F-35 / JSF program remain in flux.

ITAR controls and commercial programs

U.S. commercial firms expend significant resources to prove that their products should not be classified as ITAR controlled technology. ITAR controls dramatically increase the cost (time and money) of exporting data or hardware. Additionally, the regulations restrict access to specific markets and tend to discourage potential customers from non-restricted nations. [ [ U.S. State Department - Policy - Directorate of Defense Trade Controls ] ]

Concerns over connections between the Boeing 787 and the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber prompted Boeing to take elaborate steps cleansing the commercial jet of any military technology. The issue arose when Boeing engineers, fearing indictment and penalties, refused to sign forms declaring that the 787 was "ITAR-free." As a result Boeing conducted extensive research on the source of technology implemented on the 787. They removed all military technology and either found a commercial source for the same technology or replaced it with technology derived from a commercial source. [ [ The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Separation anxiety: The wall between military and commercial technology ] ]

ee also

* Arms Export Control Act
* CoCom
* Defense Security Cooperation Agency
* Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
* Export Control Classification Number


External links

* [ Electronic Code of Federal Regulations ] Note: Scroll down to Subchapter M, Parts 120-130, for an up-to-date version of the ITAR.
* [ Details from the Bureau of Industry and Security, part of the Department of Commerce]
* [ The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), U.S. Department of State] The DDTC is charged with controlling the defense articles and defense services covered by the United States Munitions List (USML), which is contained in the ITAR.
* [ Federation of American Scientists' Export Control 'Reform' Site] The Federation of American Scientists has compiled an extensive collection of resources chronicling the documents and reforms that the U.S. government has made in its export control policy.
* [ A Short History of Export Control Policy] This article prepared by Ryan Zelnio for "The Space Review" gives a concise view of ITAR history.
* [ The Effects of Export Control on the Space Industry] This article prepared by Ryan Zelnio for "The Space Review" gives an industry view of the effects of ITAR on the U.S.
* [ The Space Show interviews Ann Ganzer, Director of the Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy (DTCP) for the State Department] This mp3 interview, conducted by Dr. David Livingston of the Space Show, examines the impact of ITAR on higher education and space programs. It includes the "ITAR is Three Types of Stupid" quote.
* [ Export Law Blog]
* [ Exporting Technical Data]
* [ International Trade Law News]
* [ Space Tourists and Deemed Exports?]
* [ Global Trade Expertise Hot Topics/News]

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