President's Export Control Reform Effort

November 7, 2011 - via AUVSI

On 7 Nov., the Obama administration released the draft revisions to Category VIII (military aircraft and associated parts and components) of the U.S. Munitions List in an ongoing effort to more appropriately control exports to U.S. allies of sensitive technology. The highly technical initiative is part of the administration’s push to create jobs in the absence of cooperation from Congress. Eased controls should allow more outbound trade and thereby expand U.S. employment. U.S. exporters have long complained of the overly complex and poorly coordinated U.S. export control system, which is overseen by the departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, Energy and Defense.

As part of the reform, the Obama administration is moving items off the restrictive State Department-controlled International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) list and onto a more lax Commerce Control List (CCL) controlled by the Department of Commerce. The revision of the ITAR and CCL is perceived to be more attainable interim reform. U.S. exporters are also supporting a new bill (H.R. 3288) authored by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) to allow the administration to move satellite technology off the restrictive ITAR and onto the CCL, with conditions. Satellites were added to the ITAR by legislation after China was caught stealing U.S. satellite technology in April 2011.

The draft list is the second part of ITAR to be revised since Obama launched the export control reform in 2010. The section on land vehicles has already been re-written and the section on space vehicles is expected soon. The proposed revisions to Category VIII replace vague regulatory language with greater specificity for items remaining on the USML and the creation of new, stronger controls for items moved to the Commerce Control List—a message AUVSI has conveyed to the Unmanned Systems and Robotic Caucuses.

The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until 22 Dec. Interested parties may submit comments within 45 days of the date of publication by one of the following methods:

E-mail: with the subject line, "ITAR Amendments--Category VIII. 

Internet: At, search for this notice by using this rule's RIN (1400-AC96).

External link:

Author:Mario D. Mairena