The U.S. State Department and the Department of Commerce on Tuesday jointly issued the first set in a series of final rules that redefine how the U.S. government protects sensitive technologies and regulates exports of munitions and commercial items with military applications.
Modernizing U.S. export controls is a key component of President Barack Obama's Export Control Reform Initiative announced in 2009, according to a press release issued by the State Department. It stressed that the reform initiative has brought together key experts from across the U.S. government to overhaul the Cold War-era system of controls on exports of U.S.-manufactured defense articles to better meet current and emerging U.S. national security challenges and foreign policy objectives.
"These rules, which define items regulated for export under the U.S. Munitions List's Category VIII - Aircraft and Associated Equipment, and Category XIX - Gas Turbine Engines, are extremely important to the aerospace industry and represent more than $20 billion in annual exports. These are the first of 19 categories of the U.S. Munitions List categories that will be revised under Export Control Reform," the press release said.
Based on a multi-year series of technical and policy reviews by representatives of the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, and other agencies, these reforms will move less sensitive items, such as parts and components, from the State Department's U.S. Munitions List to the Commerce Control List. The revised control lists have been developed in close consultation with the private-sector and Congress, it said.
Each revised category will become effective 180 days after it is published in the Federal Register to allow companies and their customers time to adapt their internal business practices to the new controls. Work on the remaining categories is ongoing and they will similarly be notified to Congress and published over the coming months.
These reforms are expected to allow the U.S. government to better focus on controlling the export of sensitive technologies remaining on the U.S. Munitions List while streamlining exports of defense-related items to U.S. allies and partners around the world. They are also expected to contribute to the health and competitiveness of the U.S. defense industrial base.
"Over the longer term, the Administration remains committed to fundamental reform of the U.S. export control system, including the consolidation of export licensing functions under a single control agency and the creation of a single export control list," press release said.