Universities And Research Centers – Export Control Guidance: US State Department Issues White Paper On Export Controls Compliance In Higher Education

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The Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) recently published a white paper containing a list of compliance recommendations for universities...
United States International Law
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The Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) recently published a white paper containing a list of compliance recommendations for universities and research centers involved in activities regulated by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). DDTC suggests universities and research centers reference the white paper to understand obligations and best practices for ITAR compliance. The recommendations are directly based upon compliance visits by DDTC to universities and research centers over the last 4 years. 

DDTC encourages universities and research centers to pursue projects that require State Department authorization rather than be ITAR risk averse. Identifying potential ITAR controls early in the research process is key to ensure a successful compliance program. In the paper, DDTC recommends conducting regular risk assessments and establishing procedures that will identify potential risk areas that involve ITAR controlled activities, defense articles, and most importantly for universities and research centers, technical data. 

Establishing mandatory training programs for those involved in ITAR-controlled projects was strongly recommended by DDTC in the paper, as well as maintaining regular communication with DDTC and the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) regarding research projects and activities.

Understanding the different implications for non-U.S. students, faculty, and research partners was emphasized in the paper. Under the ITAR, foreign persons, even if located in the U.S., require authorization when engaging in ITAR-controlled activities. DDTC recommended formalizing requirements for visiting researchers to obtain export license authorization as necessary. 

Lastly, forming strong ITAR-compliance policies and procedures, compliance manuals, and technology control plans was recommended in the paper to ensure maximum compliance with application export control laws and regulations. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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