Export control laws are a complex set of federal regulations that govern how information, technologies, and commodities can be transmitted overseas to anyone, including U.S. citizens, or foreign nationals physically present in the U.S. In addition to controlling exports to countries or individuals who are citizens of or located in those countries, export control regulations ban exports to individuals and organizations that have been involved in terrorist or drug trafficking activities as well as those barred from conducting exports because of previous export controls violations. U.S. Export Control laws are primarily implemented and enforced by the Departments of State, Commerce, and Treasury. While University personnel are more likely to encounter exports that fall under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), or Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), other agencies also have export control and licensing authority. 

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA), 22 U.S.C. 2778 grants authority to the President of the U.S. to designate and control the export and import of defense articles and services. Presidential Executive Order 11958 delegates this responsibility to the Secretary of State. The Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) administers this authority through the implementation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR 120-130

The ITAR controls the export of defense articles and related technical data and defense services that are controlled for military purposes, which are enumerated on the United States Munitions List (USML). In addition to defense articles or related technical data, the constituent parts and components of the defense articles are also controlled under the ITAR. If a commodity contains a part or component that is ITAR controlled then that commodity is now also controlled under the ITAR, regardless of whether or not the commodity itself has an inherently military purpose.

Many items originally designed for military use are also used for research completely unrelated to that military use. It is important to understand that an ITAR designation is unrelated to UAF’s specific use of the controlled item.

The United States Munitions List
Category number Category type
I Firearms and Related Articles
II Guns and Armament
III Ammunition and Ordnance
IV Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines
V Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants, Incendiary Agents, and Their Constituents
VI Surface Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment
VII Ground Vehicles
VIII Aircraft and Related Articles
IX Military Training Equipment and Training
X Personal Protective Equipment
XI Military Electronics
XII Fire Control, Laser, Imaging, and Guidance Equipment
XIII Materials, and Miscellaneous Articles
XIV Toxicological Agents, Including Chemical Agents, Biological Agents, and Associated Equipment
XV Spacecraft and Related Articles
XVI Nuclear Weapons Related Articles
XVII Classified Articles, Technical Data, and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated
XVIII Directed Energy Weapons
XIX Gas Turbine Engines and Associated Equipment
XX Submersible Vessels and Related Articles
XXI Articles, Technical Data,  and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated

The USML includes twenty-one classes of defense articles and is found at 22 CFR 121. Note that category XXI is reserved for use by DDTC for controlling new or emerging articles, tech data, and services under the ITAR.



Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

The EAR controls the export of “dual-use” items, which are items that have civilian uses, but which may also have a military or other strategic application. Common, real-life examples from UAF include certain chemicals, microorganisms, and toxins as well as laboratory equipment like analyzers, lasers, and field equipment like infrared cameras and some unmanned aerial vehicles. These items are classified on the Commerce Control List (CCL). The CCL is a “positive list”; in other words, if an item is NOT listed on the CCL, then, generally, the EAR does not apply. The EAR also controls the export of purely commercial commodities in support of U.S. trade and embargo policies. Purely commercial items are classified as “EAR99” and have very few export restrictions. 

Many activities are not subject to the EAR. Activities subject to the exclusive authority of another agency, e.g. the export of a defense article that is controlled under the ITAR, are not subject to the EAR. The EAR also lists additional exclusions including published information, information resulting from fundamental research, educational information, and the export or reexport of items with less than de minimis U.S. content (when applicable). It is important to understand the definitions and limitations of each exclusion to correctly evaluate its applicability to specific activities.

Commerce Control List Categories and Product Groups
Commerce Control List Categories Commerce Control List Product Groups
0 Nuclear Materials, Facilities, & Equipment A Systems, Equipment, & Components
1 Materials, Chemicals, Microorganisms, & Toxins B Test, Inspection, & Product Equipment
2 Materials Processing C Material
3 Electronic Design, Development & Production D Software
4 Computers E Technology
5 Telecommunications (Part 1) EAR99: The regulations include an additional "catach-all" category, EAR99, which covers any goods or technology subject to the EAR, but not listed on the CCL. Items in the EAR99 category do not require a license for "list-based" controls but may require a license based on embargoes, sanctions, receiving party, or end-use.
5 Information Security (Part 2)
6 Sensors & Lasers
7 Navigation & Avionics
8 Marine
9 Aerospace & Propulsion

The CCL is at 15 CFR 774. Items on the CCL are assigned an export control classification number (ECCN) using category and product groups. There are 10 categories, numbered 0 – 9, and five product groups, labeled A- E, within each category. The category and product group generally describe the item, and the remaining three digits of the ECCN relate to the item specifications. In general, ECCN’s with lower numbers for the last three digits are controlled to more destinations than those with higher numbers.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

The Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security interests. Many of the sanctions are based on the United Nations and other international mandates. Sanctions are country/program-specific and are subject to frequent change based on the changing geopolitical landscape. In addition to foreign countries and regimes, OFAC imposes sanctions on individuals, such as people the U.S. government deems to be terrorists and narcotics traffickers. The implementing regulations for the OFAC sanctions are found in 31 CFR 500-599, the Foreign Asset Control Regulations.

The OFAC sanctions broadly prohibit most transactions between a U.S. person and persons or entities in an embargoed country or who have been declared specially designated nationals (SDNs). The prohibition generally includes importation and exportation of goods and services as well as related financial transactions or engaging in business activities with SDNs. Activity-based sanctions programs are implemented through the designation of individuals engaging in the banned activities as SDNs.


Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Office of International Student and Scholar Services, regulates exports of the radioactive materials listed in 10 CFR 110.9 and/or the nuclear facilities/equipment listed in 10 CFR 110.8. Such exports must be authorized by NRC under a general or a specific license issued under NRC regulations. If UAF personnel intend to engage in the transfer of technology in this area, they must contact the ECO for guidance.


Department of Energy

Department of Energy (DoE), has statutory responsibility for authorizing the transfer of unclassified nuclear technology and assistance to foreign atomic energy activities within the U.S. or abroad. 10 CFR 810 implements the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (the AEA), with regulations analogous to EAR controls on technology and ITAR controls on technical data and defense services. If UAF personnel intend to engage in the transfer of technology or provision of assistance in this area, they must contact the ECO for guidance.


Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

The Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Foreign Trade Regulations mandate filing through the Automated Export System (AES) for all shipments requiring shipper’s export declaration information. More information can be found here.


There are other U.S. federal agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that have jurisdiction over certain items and/or activities subject to export controls.