Definition of ITAR

ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is a United States Control Law and Regulation whose purpose is to control the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML).  It is administered by the Department of State (Office of Defense Trade Controls). In other words, ITAR requires a license for the export of military information, technologies, and equipment to some foreign nations, organizations,and citizens and prohibits outright the transfer of such technology to others.


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).


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.  The 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 encompasses 10 categories and  the category 9 (propulsion systems, space vehicles and related equipment) is the most related to aerospace projects.


The Fundamental Research Exemption

The fundamental research exemption releases defense exports from the ITAR regulations when those services are in support of fundamental research and conducted by accredited U.S. institutes of higher education.  

ITAR defines "fundamental research" as "basic and applied research in science and engineering where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community." However, if researchers accept any restrictions on the publication of their work or if the U.S. government funds the research and mandates controls protecting the information, then the exemption does not apply. An important distinction regarding the fundamental researchexemption exists between the export of information and the export of hardware. This is critical because the exemption covers information, and not hardware."


Export Control Revisions and CubeSat Programs

CubeSat programs and Atmospheric Balloon projects (depending upon the Balloon's payload) must observe ITAR compliance. Nevertheless, there were changes in the regulations during 2014 and the satellite technologies were reclassified. Therefore, the requirements may become less strict in some types of research. 


Export Compliance Program

If a company works in a field which is subjected to ITAR compliance, it must adopt some strategy to avoid ITAR violations. This strategy must be well planned and it must be formalized in a set of documents and practices that may be called an ITAR (or export) compliance program”.


NOAA’s Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs

In order to operate a private earth remote sensing satellite in the United States every individual needs a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) private remote sensing space system Operating License. In this context, private must be understood as "non-U.S government". This is a legal requirement.