Introduction to Export Control Laws

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Introduction to Export Control Laws

The U.S. government controls exports of sensitive equipment, software, and technology to promote national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Aerospace project teams often work with items and technologies whose export is controlled by the federal government. It is important to be aware of the federal laws and regulations governing aerospace projects to avoid getting into trouble with the corresponding authorities.

What is an export?

"The transfer of anything (product, service, technical data, information, knowledge) to a “FOREIGN PERSON” by any means, anywhere, anytime, or the knowledge that what you are transferring to a “U.S. PERSON”, will be further transferred to a “FOREIGN PERSON”.

Important Definitions:

  • U.S. Person - a natural person who is a lawful permanent resident as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20)* or who is a protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3)*. It also means any corporation, business association, partnership, society, trust, or any other entity, organization or group that is incorporated to do business in the U.S. It also includes any governmental (federal, state or local), entity.
  • Foreign Person - opposite of a U.S. Person.

    *8 U.S.C. refers to Title 8 of the United States Code, which codifies the role of aliens and nationality.

Why it is important to control some exports?

The following extract from the paper "Balancing the Needs for Space Research and National Security in the ITAR" summarizes really well why it is important to control some exports: "Given the synergies between commercial and civil space activities, and military and intelligence space activities, space research institutions are rich targets where foreign nations may acquire critical U.S. scientific knowledge, hardware designs, and technical skills. Furthermore, by monitoring the status of U.S. progress in various space-system technologies, foreign nations are better able to allocate resources to counter U.S. space capabilities." The presentation below covers these and other reasons supporting export-control regulations in an easy to learn fashion: