Export Control Laws

Both ITAR and EAR (Export Administration Regulations) are important US export control laws which affect the manufacturing and service businesses, as well as the transfer of technology to other countries. However, each one controls different types of items, data and articles. ITAR rules on the items of the United States Munitions List (USML),  while EAR encompasses the Commerce Control List (CCL)3.


The United States Munitions List

The United States Munitions List (USML), mandated by the AECA (Arms Export Control Act), provides insight into the scope of exports that are prohibited by ITAR. The USML is divided into twenty-one Categories ranging from firearms and assault weapons to protective personnel equipment and shelters.9 The categories of the USML are:


I - Firearms XII - Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance and Control Equipment
II - Artillery Projectors XIII - Auxilary Military Equipment
III - Ammunition XIV - Toxicological Agents and Equipment and Radiological Equipment
IV - Launch Vehicles, etc. XV - Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment
V - Explosives, Propellants, Incendiary Agents and their Constituents XVI - Nuclear Weapons Design and Related Equipment
VI - Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment  XVII - Classified Articles, Technical Data and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated
VII - Tanks and Military Vehicles XVIII - Reserved
VIII - Aircraft and Associated Equipment XIX - Reserved
IX - Military Training Equipment XX - Submersible Vessels, Oceanographic and Associated Equipment
X - Protective Personnel Equipment XXI - Miscellaneous Articles
XI - Military Electronics  

Table 1: The United States Munitions List


"For companies that develop products or services for a U.S. military customer, the product, technical data, software or service should be on the USML, thus subject to ITAR. If an item is listed on the USML, then software required to run that item is most often also covered on the USML. The same goes for technical data related to the item – information required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of items listed on the USML. Products, technology or software developed originally using U.S. defense research funding are often considered to be military products, so the products and related technical data, software and services go on the USML." 14


It is easy to observe that categories IV ( Launch Vehicles, etc.), V (Explosives, Propellants, Incendiary Agents and Their Constituents), XII (Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance and Control Equipment), XIII ( Auxilary Military Equipment) and XV (Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment) of the USML may contain items strongly related to aerospace systems and are the most important to people involved with NASA projects.


The Commerce Control List (CCL)

The Commerce Control List encompasses 10 categories1:


Category 0 - Nuclear Materials, Facilities and Equipment and Misc.

Category 5 - Communications, telecommunications

Category 1 - Materials, Chemicals, Microorganisms and Toxins

Category 6 - Optics, Cameras, Lasers, radar

Category 2 - Materials Processing

Category 7 - Guidance, navigation, altimeters, avionics

Category 3 - Electronics


Category 8 - Submersible systems, scuba, marine equipment

Category 4 - Computers

Category 9 - Propulsion Systems, space vehicles and related equipment

Table 2: The Commerce Control List


As it is shown in the table below, category 9 (propulsion systems, space vehicles and related equipment) is directly related to aerospace projects.

Main differences between ITAR and EAR

The table below summarizes the main differences between ITAR and EAR3:


ITAR [22 CFR 120-130] EAR [15 CFR 730-774]
Covers military items or defense articles. Regulates items designed for commercial purpose which could have military applications such as computers or software.
Regulates goods and technology designed to kill or defend against death in a military setting. Covers both the goods and the technology.
Includes space related technology because of application to missile technology. Licensing addresses competing interests and foreign availability.
Includes technical data related to defense articles and services. Combines commercial and research objectives with national security.
Strict regulatory licensing - does not address commercial or research objectives.  

Table 3: Comparing ITAR and EAR 3


Formal and Informal Political Process of ITAR

The political process that governs ITAR is complex and involves many stakeholders within the government as well as in public and private institutions.The various stakeholders are shown in the next Table.9


Table 4: Stakeholders in ITAR Political Process9