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What is ITAR? Regulations, Compliance & More

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    ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, is a set of regulations that control the import and export of defense-related items (articles and services) included in the United States Munitions List (USML). ITAR is regularly updated to reflect the current international political and security climate, in addition to technological advancements that impact the import and export of defense-related articles and services.

    How ITAR Works


    ITAR implements the AECA, or the Arms Export Control Act, which provides the authority to control the export of defense-related articles and services. While the AECA gives the President this authority, Executive Order 13637 delegates the responsibility to the Secretary of State. Thus, the U.S. Secretary of State is charged with designating the articles and services as defense-related that will then become subject to control. These designated items comprise the U.S. Munitions List.

    ITAR Regulations

    The purpose of ITAR is to limit access to items on the USML list, ensuring that valuable military and defense equipment, data, and other items do not get into the wrong hands, such as a hostile foreign power or terrorist organization.

    Directorate of Defense Trade Controls

    The U.S. Government requires all manufacturers, exporters, and brokers of defense articles and services (including related technical data, such as plans or blueprints for building these items), temporary importers and component suppliers of defense articles and services to be compliant with ITAR. These entities must register with the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). While registering doesn’t confer any rights or privileges related to the import or export of defense-related articles, it’s typically a requirement for certain licenses and approvals.

    Companies must obtain a license to export any items on the USML to any foreign entity outside of the U.S. The USML includes finished items or systems, parts and components, and raw materials, as well as the accompanying data such as models or mockups. It does not, however, include basic marketing information that covers an item’s function or purpose or general descriptions of systems.

    ITAR Compliance

    ITAR violations are serious, as they pose potential risks to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Violations may be subject to civil and criminal penalties, as well as potential revocation or rejection of export licenses. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls encourages any entity involved in defense trade to develop and maintain robust compliance programs to monitor and control exports and other regulated activities.

    ITAR compliance extends throughout the supply chain, so it’s important to ensure that all supply chain partners are fully compliant. Otherwise, a company that sells parts to another company that then proceeds to sell those parts to a foreign power would be in violation of ITAR, even though they didn’t directly export those parts to a foreign entity themselves.

    The DDTC leaves it up to companies to establish policies to ensure compliance, but it does require companies to implement and maintain a documented ITAR compliance program that includes tracking, monitoring, and auditing USML-listed items and all related sensitive data.

    How UID Meets ITAR Compliance

    Military Standard 130 (MIL-STD-130) sets forth Unique Identification (UID, sometimes referred to as IUID or Item Unique Identification) requirements and practices for marking U.S. Department of Defense property. MIL-STD-130N Change 1 defines UID as, “a system of establishing globally unique and unambiguous identifiers within the Department of Defense, which serve to distinguish a discrete entity or relationship from other like and unlike entities or relationships.” Responsibility falls to the Program Manager to implement IUID and document it in the Systems Engineering Plan (SEP).

    MIL-STD-130 requires tangible U.S. military property to be assigned a unique, specific number (a UII, or unique item identifier) according to the established rules. The UID number must be applied to the item or directly marked on the item where it must remain legible throughout the asset’s life. UID labels must include a UII encoded in a 2D Data Matrix barcode, as well as human-readable product tracking information. The 2D Data Matrix barcode must contain the following:

    • commercial and government entity (CAGE) Code
    • serial number
    • part number

    These components make up the unique serialized UID that the DoD uses for lifecycle management of its items. This information is stored in the IUID registry, a central database maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense. Because this is the system that enables the DoD to track its property, UID labels must meet a number of other requirements related to durability, placement, and application methods to ensure readability throughout the useful life of the asset.

    Marking all USML-listed items with UID labels allows for efficient recording of all ITAR activities, from item registration to manufacturing, acquisition, and even linking to technical data such as diagrams and models that fall under ITAR. ITAR requires that these records are both organized and easily accessible for inspection by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, a person designated by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (such as the Diplomatic Security Service), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or U.S. Customs and Border Protection. UID provides a strong foundation for implementing asset tracking programs and developing organized processes for meeting these ITAR requirements as well as other regulatory requirements.

    Camcode’s UID labels come in a variety of options. such as Metalphoto® anodized photosensitized aluminum, Teflon™ UID labels, and premium polyester UID labels. Using the most widely specified materials in the defense industry, Camcode’s UID labels are trusted to provide permanent and durable unique identification that will last throughout the lifespan of your assets. Coupled with our comprehensive Unique Identification services, from on-site consultations and assessments to data management, policy development, UID label installation and IUID item registration, and more, Camcode offers proven solutions and services to help your organization meet ITAR compliance and other regulatory requirements.

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