What is the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)?
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a United States regulatory regime to restrict and control the export of defense and military-related technologies to safeguard U.S. national security and further U.S. foreign policy objectives.
The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is the United States regulation that controls the manufacture, sale, and distribution of defense and space-related articles and services as defined in the United States Munitions List (USML).
Besides rocket launchers, torpedoes, and other military hardware, the list also restricts the plans, diagrams, photos, and other documentation used to build ITAR-controlled military gear. This is referred to by ITAR as “technical data”.
History of the ITAR
The AECA and ITAR were enacted in 1976 during the Cold War with USSR and were intended to implement unilateral arms export controls that reflected those imposed on Eastern Bloc countries by the multilateral Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls.
U.S. Government enforcement activities have increased dramatically since 1999, when the U.S. Department of State took over export regulations for satellites. The U.S. Department of State has published 29 instances of Consent Agreements (agreements entered into by parties charged with breaches of ITAR) since 1999. This compares to 12 Consent Agreements in the preceding 22 years.
Who must Comply with ITAR Regulations?
Any company that handles, manufactures, designs, sells, or distributes items on the USML must be ITAR compliant. The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) manages the list of companies who can deal in USML goods and services, and it is up to each company to establish policies to comply with ITAR regulations.
- Computer Software/ Hardware vendors
- Third-party suppliers
Every company in the supply chain needs to be ITAR compliant.
Classification of Defense Articles
The ITAR regulate defense articles and defense services.
Defense articles can be broken down into two categories: (a) physical items (often referred to as “commodities”) and (b) technical data. The ITAR contain a list of defense articles called the US Munitions List (“USML”), which can be found at 22 CFR §121.1. The USML is broken down into the following categories:
- Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns
- Guns and Armament
- Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs and Mines
- Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants, Incendiary Agents and Their Constituents
- Surface Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment
- Ground Vehicles
- Aircraft and Related Articles
- Military Training Equipment and Training
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Military Electronics
- Fire Control, Laser, Imaging and Guidance Equipment
- Materials and Miscellaneous Articles
- Toxicological Agents, Including Chemical Agents, Biological Agents and Associated Equipment
- Spacecraft and Related Articles
- Nuclear Weapons Related Articles
- Classified Articles, Technical Data and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated
- Directed Energy Weapons
- Gas Turbine Engines and Associated Equipment
- Submersible Vessels and Related Articles
- Articles, Technical Data and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated
What are the Penalties for ITAR Compliance Violations?
The penalties for ITAR infractions are stiff:
- Civil fines up to $500,000 per violation
- Criminal fines of up to $1 million and/or 10 years imprisonment per violation