Archive for the ‘ITAR’ Category

The Rise of ITAR-free procurement in Europe

2018/10/30

By: Roland Stein, BLOMSTEIN

In this article, Roland Stein of Blomstein discusses International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a US regulatory framework intended to control the manufacturing, export and proliferation of arms, related goods, services and technologies.

Are European contracting authorities turning the tables on strict US arms control regulations? ITAR, short for “International Traffic in Arms Regulations”, is a US regulatory framework intended to control the manufacturing, export and proliferation of arms, related goods, services and technologies. Its primary aims are twofold: protecting the interests of U.S. national security and serving the objectives of U.S. foreign policy. ITAR is based on the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) (22 U. S. C. 2778-2780) and available in the Code of Federal Regulations under 22 CFR Parts 120-130. An ITAR-listing effectively permits U.S. authorities to control the export and whereabouts of regulated products. Generally, ITAR regulations do not only specify reporting obligations for contractors, but also contain strict restrictions on use, import, export and end-use of regulated products.

As an effective instrument of US state control, many market observers have long considered ITAR provisions to be a vital tool of US power projection abroad. However, an evolving opposing trend is becoming apparent: Fuelled by current shifts in the landscape of European defence procurement, ITAR restrictions are increasingly exploited as an instrument by European contracting authorities. While no state can afford to essentially “blacklist” US products or arms manufacturers altogether, European nations appear to leverage ITAR restrictions to favour European contractors over those with US involvement in specific cases.

At a time when there are indications that European defence spending is set to rise significantly in the near future due to a variety of initiatives for joint European procurement of military equipment such as the EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund, as well as established projects such and the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR), contractors with ties to the US will likely encounter legal and strategic challenges when attempting to obtain European defence contracts. The increasing use of ITAR-free restrictions will thus likely contribute to an already challenging market environment for non-European contractors.

Exclusion of products with ITAR restrictions

Lately, government agencies of various EU member states have attempted to exclude products with ITAR restrictions from defence procurements. A notable current case in which such a restriction was employed is the ongoing tender for around 120.000 new standard assault rifles for the German armed forces. The new design is supposed to succeed the current “G36” standard rifle produced by German manufacturer Heckler & Koch. The new rifle must meet a comprehensive catalogue of performance requirements and is intended for use in all branches of the armed forces. The contract for the acquisition of 120.000 firearms and “accessories in different quantities” has an estimated net value of approximately EUR 250 million. Its conclusion is scheduled for 2019, with a planned delivery of the rifles starting 2020. While the Europe-wide call for competition issued on 21 April 2017 did not specify any requirements in this respect, the subsequent invitation to tender by the German Ministry of Defence stipulated that any proposal for a successor rifle may not rely on components subject to ITAR regulations. In the case of the German rifle procurement, the ITAR-free exclusion criterion even applied to supplies and weapons produced entirely in Germany. A related tender regarding the manufacture and supply of a main battle sight and reflex visor for the new assault rifle includes a similar clause: according to the contract notice, both items may not be subject to the ITAR regulations.

According to press reports, SIG Sauer, a German-American bidding consortium, initially took part in the preceding competition with its existing MCX rifle. Besides SIG Sauer and the incumbent Heckler & Koch, the German Rheinmetall group participated in the competition in a joint venture with Austrian manufacturer Steyr Mannlicher. Whereas Heckler & Koch presented a newly developed rifle design, the HK433, Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher proposed an existing design, the RS556 assault rifle. Surprising many observers, both SIG Sauer and Rheinmetall/Steyr Mannlicher eventually decided not to submit an offer before the close of the bidding period on 8 February. While the reasons for the eventual non-participation of Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher remain unclear, SIG Sauer was very vocal about its decision to pull out of the procurement process, publically naming discriminatory design requirements as a motivation for its pull out of the competition. The company cited “blanket discrimination against U.S. products and bidders” and a disadvantageous wording of the invitation to tender as the main reasons for revoking its initial offer.

So far, the German Ministry of Defence has not specifically addressed the allegations, as it did not want to comment on the issue due to the ongoing tendering phase. SIG Sauer’s offer included a production based in Germany and a design lacking U.S. patent reservations. However, this was apparently insufficient to fully comply with tender requirements. The manufacturer’s proposal was still subject to ITAR restrictions, as SIG Sauer’s proposed design employed US technology, in particular the design of the magazine and several interfaces for accessories. According to SIG Sauer, an ITAR-free requirement was neither imposed in the earlier invitation to tender for an assault rifle for the German Army’s special forces, nor stipulated in the preceding call for competition. Therefore, contractors were not aware of any ITAR restrictions before participating in the preliminary competition.

SIG Sauer alleged that had it stayed in the competition, it would not have had a realistic chance of winning the tender, as the technical requirements were clearly and unambiguously tailored to the incumbent competitor Heckler & Koch. Furthermore, the company accuses the German Ministry of Defence of discriminating against U.S. bidders through excessive procurement requirements. The company criticises that the exclusion of ITAR controlled products constitutes a preliminary decision in favour of its EU-based competitors, as the criterion de facto renders most products by manufacturers with minor links to the U.S. ineligible.

Analysis

How does this case tie in with the current landscape of European defence procurement? Germany has previously exported up-to-date and used equipment to political and military allies if deemed appropriate and necessary, including assault rifles. For instance, the country has equipped Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq with approximately 16.000 assault rifles from 2014 onwards. ITAR restrictions might severely limit Germany’s ability to distribute weapons and equipment in such a way. Moreover, even the use of ITAR rifles by Germany’s own forces in countries such as Afghanistan might be complicated significantly by ITAR restrictions. Thus, political concerns may partly explain the exclusion of ITAR regulated offers in this case.

Still, this particular use of an ITAR-free clause is not an isolated case, but representative of a growing practice that is becoming more and more frequent in European procurement projects. ITAR-related exclusionary requirements signal a new trend, as the Ministry of Defence had in the past regularly accepted U.S. reservations and ITAR restrictions for various defence projects. As the delays resulting from U.S. approval and extensive disclosure requirements have been cause for criticism in the past, both timing and context of the depicted case suggest an inclination to ask for “ITAR-free” products in future procurements.

This practice is not just a German development, but indicative of a Europe-wide trend. ITAR-free clauses are becoming increasingly common as exclusion criteria in international invitations to tender. A corresponding widespread, albeit not concerted, effort to avoid the purchase of products subject to ITAR regulation is observable throughout the entire landscape of European defence procurement. For instance, large parts of the French arms industry tend to avoid using or sourcing ITAR-regulated items, provided an adequate substitute is available. Many manufacturers attempt to circumvent ITAR restrictions, as well. Products are regularly marketed as being “ITAR-free”. Notable French contractors and manufacturers such as Dassault Aviation avoid using key U.S. technologies altogether in order to strategically advertise and commercialise its fighter aircrafts as being exempt from ITAR restrictions.

The increased use of ITAR-free clauses in EU procurements is certainly not exclusively attributable to protectionist intentions. ITAR restrictions do in fact frequently tend to complicate and delay international procurements. In addition, the U.S. has shown a tendency to apply them strictly and strategically in the past. For instance, in 2014 a French contract for the sale of “Falcon Eye” reconnaissance satellites to the United Arab Emirates worth EUR 700 million was stalled for more than a year, as the satellites in question included ITAR-regulated electronic components. Even though these components were of no particular sensitivity, their inclusion still enabled the U.S. government to cause significant delays due to approval requirements.

Likewise, defence contractors may have a legitimate interest to protect confidential trade secrets, which they might be obliged to disclose under ITAR. ITAR-free clauses may thus in many cases reflect justified political and trade related concerns. The recent paradigm shift toward ITAR-free clauses may in part be explained by these and similar past negative experiences with ITAR-regulated items. However, the German depicted above case clearly demonstrates how ITAR-free clauses might be employed in the future to de facto exclude U.S. competitors and products from European procurements.

Outlook

While it is too soon to presume a concerted EU-wide effort to obstruct or even exclude U.S. defence contractors from EU government procurement procedures, two emerging trends are evident: On the one hand, systematic cooperation on procurement projects at the EU-level is increasing, accompanied by de jure benefits for EU-based companies. On the other hand, there has been a notable rise in national preferences of EU bidders through selective procurement requirements. These developments pose significant challenges for European and US contractors alike. It remains to be seen if this trend on the European defence sector continues and similar strategies are adopted towards other markets, in particular targeting dual use items. Legal challenges to such practices under European Procurement Law and International Trade Law are likely.

It should be added that the aforementioned developments do not appear to be temporary. The landscape of European defence procurement is adjusting rapidly, fuelled by significant recent geopolitical developments. On one hand, with the US shifting its strategic focus to other regions of the world and the UK set to leave the EU, continental European defence spending will presumably see a significant rise. Simultaneously, new mechanisms of EU defence procurement promise significant market changes. At a time when a variety of initiatives at the EU-level aim at promoting EU defence procurement, not least the recent introduction of a Permanent, Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defence matters, the future effects of ITAR-free procurement on international trade and competition will need to be monitored closely.

Article: http://whoswholegal.com/news/analysis/article/34786/rise-itar-free-procurement-europe/


Regulatory Revisions to the ITAR

2018/10/29

The Department of State has removed some notification requirements from the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and has revised several entries on the Unites States Munitions List (USML). The goal was to remove items that do not warrant continued inclusion. The rule also adds notes to USML Categories IV and V, revises control text in USML Categories VIII, XI, and IV. This rule was effective October 4, 2018 but interested parties can submit comments by November 19, 2018 by:

  • Email: DDTCPublicComments@state.gov with the subject line, ‘Regulatory Reform Revisions’’
  • Internet: At www.regulations.gov,search for this notice using Docket DOS–2018–0020.

Changes:

PART 121—THE UNITED STATES MUNITIONS LIST

  • Section 121.1 is amended as follows:
    • In Category IV, redesignate Note to Paragraph (d) as Note 1 to Paragraph (d) and add Note 2 to paragraph (d): This paragraph does not control thrusters for spacecraft.
    • In Category V, add Note 3 to USML Category V: Items controlled in this Category, except for materials described in paragraph (c)(6), (h), or (i), are licensed by the Department of Commerce when incorporated into an item subject to the EAR and classified under ECCN 1C608.
    • In Category VIII, revise paragraph (h)(12): Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight control systems and vehicle management systems with swarming capability (i.e. UAVs that operate autonomously (without human input) to interact with each other to avoid collisions, fly in formations, and are capable of adapting in real-time to changes in operational/threat environment, or, if weaponized, coordinate targeting) (MT if for an aircraft, excluding manned aircraft, or missile that has a ‘‘range’’ equal to or greater than 300 km)
    • In Category XI, add Note to Paragraph (a)(3)(i), revise Note to Paragraph (a)(3)(xii), and revise paragraph (c)(4)
      • Note to Paragraph (a)(3)(i): This paragraph does not control radars that: (1) Are incapable of free space detection of 1 square meter Radar Cross Section (RCS) target beyond 8 nautical miles (nmi); (2) contain a radar update rate of not more than 1Hz; and (3) employ a design determined to be subject to the EAR via a commodity jurisdiction determination (see § 120.4 of this subchapter).
      • Note to Paragraph (a)(3)(xii): This paragraph does not control radars not otherwise controlled in this subchapter, operating with a peak transmit power less than or equal to 550 watts, and employing a design determined to be subject to the EAR via a commodity jurisdiction determination (see § 120.4 of this subchapter).

* * * * * * * *
(c) * * *
(4) Transmit/receive modules, transmit/receive monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs), transmit modules, and transmit MMICs having all of the following:

(i) A peak saturated power output (in watts), Psat, greater than 505.62 divided by the maximum operating frequency (in GHz) squared [Psat > 505.62 W * GHz2/fGHz2] for any channel;

(ii) A fractional bandwidth of 5% or greater for any channel; (iii) Any planar side with length d (in cm) equal to or less than 15 divided by the lowest operating frequency in GHz [d ≤ 15cm * GHz/fGHz]; and

(iv) At least one electronically variable phase shifter per channel.

  • Note 1 to Paragraph (c)(4): A MMIC: (a) Is formed by means of diffusion processes, implantation processes, or deposition processes in or on a single semiconducting piece of material; (b) can be considered as indivisibly associated; (c) performs the function(s) of a circuit; and (d) operates at microwave frequencies (i.e., 300 MHz to 300 GHz).
  • Note 2 to Paragraph (c)(4): A transmit/ receive module is a multifunction electronic assembly that provides bi-directional amplitude and phase control for transmission and reception of signals.
  • Note 3 to Paragraph (c)(4): A transmit module is an electronic assembly that provides amplitude and phase control for transmission of signals.
  • Note 4 to Paragraph (c)(4): A transmit/ receive MMIC is a multifunction MMIC that provides bi-directional amplitude and phase control for transmission and reception of signals.
  • Note 5 to Paragraph (c)(4): A transmit MMIC is a MMIC that provides amplitude and phase control for transmission of signals.
  • Note 6 to Paragraph (c)(4): USML Category XI(c)(4) applies to transmit/receive modules and to transmit modules, with or without a heat sink. The value of length d in USML Category XI(c)(4)(iii) does not include any portion of the transmit/receive module or transmit module that functions as a heat sink.
  • Note 7 to Paragraph (c)(4): Transmit/ receive modules, transmit modules, transmit/ receive MMICs, and transmit MMICs may or may not have N integrated radiating antenna elements, where N is the number of transmit or transmit/receive channels.
  • Note 8 to Paragraph (c)(4): Fractional bandwidth is the bandwidth over which output power remains constant within 3 dB (without the adjustment of other operating parameters), divided by the center frequency, and multiplied by 100. Fractional bandwidth is expressed as a percentage.
  • In Category XV, revise the second and third sentences of paragraph (f).
    • (f) * * * Defense services include the furnishing of assistance (including training) to a foreign person in the integration of a satellite or spacecraft to a launch vehicle, including both planning and onsite support, regardless of the jurisdiction, ownership, or origin of the satellite or spacecraft, or whether technical data is used. It also includes the furnishing of assistance (including training) to a foreign person in the launch failure analysis of a satellite or spacecraft, regardless of the jurisdiction, ownership, or origin of the satellite of spacecraft, or whether technical data is used.

PART 123—LICENSES FOR THE EXPORT AND TEMPORARY IMPORT OF DEFENSE ARTICLES

  • Section 123.22 is amended by revising paragraphs (b)(3)(i) and (c)(2) to read as follows:
    • 123.22 Filing, retention, and return of export licenses and filing of export information. * * * * * (b) * * * (3) * * *
      (i) Technical data license. Prior to the permanent export of technical data licensed using a Form DSP–5, the applicant shall electronically provide export information using the system for direct electronic reporting to DDTC of export information and self-validate the original of the license. Exports of copies of the licensed technical data should be made in accordance with existing exemptions in this subchapter. Should an exemption not apply, the applicant may request a new license.
      * * * * *
      (c) * * *
      (2) Licenses issued by DDTC but not decremented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection through its electronic system(s) (e.g., oral or visual technical data releases) must be maintained by the applicant in accordance with § 122.5 of this subchapter.

Federal Register Notice: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-10-04/pdf/2018-21422.pdf


Hiring U.S. Citizens Only for ITAR Compliance Can Violate the Immigration and Nationality Act

2018/09/27

By: David Ring, attorney, dring@wiggin.com; and Najia S. Khalid, attorney, nkhalid@wiggin.com. Both of Wiggin and Dana.

 

The Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, announced on August 29, 2018, its civil settlement with the international law firm, Clifford Chance US LLP, for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1324b, attributable to Clifford Chance’s overly restrictive interpretation of who can work on projects involving data controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Clifford Chance, for purposes of conducting a large scale document review involving ITAR controlled data, restricted the project to U.S. Citizens only, based on its good faith belief that only U.S. Citizens could work on ITAR projects. But the ITAR generally allows U.S. Persons to have access to ITAR controlled data, and defines a (natural) “U.S. Person” as “a lawful permanent resident as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20)” or “a protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3).” See 22 C.F.R. 120.15. Thus the ITAR does not restrict access to U.S. citizens only, but also generally allows access by non-U.S. citizens who fall within the following classes, among others:

Nationals of the U.S. (i.e., those born in the “outlaying” possessions of the U.S. meeting specified requirements, or individuals born of a parent who meet specified requirements);

Aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., “green card” holders);

Certain refugees; and

Certain asylum seekers.

According to DOJ, Clifford Chance unlawfully discriminated against persons based on their citizenship by excluding eligible non-U.S. citizens from its ITAR project. DOJ rejected Clifford Chance’s argument that it should be absolved of liability because it acted in good faith (there’s no good faith exception to the prohibition against discrimination under 1324b), and Clifford Chance agreed to pay a $132,000 civil penalty, implement various corrective actions, and allow DOJ oversight for a two-year period.

 

What does that mean for you? If you hire or contract with U.S. Citizens only for purposes of fulfilling your ITAR obligations, you may be violating the INA. You should review your hiring and contracting processes to make sure that you do not limit hiring or outsourcing to U.S. Citizens only, when ITAR compliance is your justification for denying job opportunities based on citizenship or national origin.

For further information, please contact David Ring (dring@wiggin.com) or Najia S. Khalid (nkhalid@wiggin.com).

Source: http://www.wiggin.com/17683


Jet Sale to Egypt Is Being Blocked By a U.S. Regulation, And France Is Over It

2018/08/30

(Source: Defense News, 1 Aug 2018.) [Excerpts.]

The U.S. is currently withholding clearance of an American component on the French Scalp cruise missile, which prevents the sale of additional Rafale fighter jets to Egypt. France is looking for ways to reduce its dependence on U.S. approval, but lacks the means to be completely autonomous.

“It is true that we depend on this [U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations] mechanism: We are at the mercy of the Americans when our equipment is concerned,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told the Committee for National Defense and Armed Forces of the lower-house National Assembly, according to recently released transcripts from July 4.

Parly said that the ministry needs “to analyze” French dependence on the U.S. and should be discussing with industry as well as the Economy and Finance Ministry ways for France to protect itself from American legislation.

When French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to convince President Donald Trump to provide clearance for the cruise missile component Trump recommended French experts talk to their American counterparts to work out the clearance, but the issue was not resolved according to a French defense source.

The U.S. has been the world leader in arms exports for more than 70 years, accounting for more than a third of total foreign military sales, Parly told parliamentarians. She added that European nations need to buy less American equipment to help reduce U.S. supremacy and take actions to promote European defense.

Macron has requested a French equivalent of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, which handles government-to-government deals, she said. Client nations prefer this approach rather than dealing with companies. The French Armed Forces and Economics and Finance ministries have created a framework agreement that will likely be adopted as the model for an intergovernmental arms contract, backed by a public tender and observing national and European law, she said.

The U.S. has been relaxing its rules on arms exports, with the State Department adopting the Conventional Arms Transfer policy, which eases the way for companies to directly pitch some types of weapons and drones without having to go to Washington for official approval.

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2018/08/01/a-jet-sale-to-egypt-is-being-blocked-by-a-us-regulation-and-france-is-over-it/


Analysis of Settlement Agreement Reached In 3D Gun Printing Case

2018/07/30

By:  Johanna Reeves, Esq., jreeves@reevesdola.com, 202-715-994; and Katherine Heubert, Esq., 202-715-9940, kheubert@reevesdola.com. Both of Reeves & Dola LLP.

(Source: Reeves & Dola LLP Alert, 18 Jul 2018. Available via jreeves@reevesdola.com.)

Last week, news broke that a settlement agreement had been reached in the Defense Distributed v. United States Department of State case. Several news articles reported the outcome as a major victory to First and Second Amendment advocates, as well as a “stunning shift” in State Department policy in how it applies export controls to information available on the Internet. This is an important case, and we examine the potential implications of the Settlement Agreement, especially in how the State Department treats certain information made openly available on the Internet.

Background

In December 2012, Defense Distributed posted certain three-dimensional (“3D”) printing files on its website, DEFCAD.org, for a number of firearm-related items, including “Ghost Gunner” files, and certain CAD files (the “Published Files”). Some of the Published Files included downloadable instructions to produce a fully functional firearm on a 3D printer. In May 2013, Defense Distributed received a letter from the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), directing the company remove the Published Files from its website. DDTC is the federal agency responsible for compliance and enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC 2778) and the implementing regulations known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), published in 22 C.F.R. Pts. 120-130. In its letter, DDTC explained the Published Files may constitute ITAR-controlled “technical data” related to firearms and if so, the act of making the Published Files widely available on the Internet constituted an export of technical data without the required prior authorization from DDTC.

For those unfamiliar with the ITAR, controlled “technical data” includes information required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of “defense articles,” and includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions or documentation (ITAR section 120.10). Currently, almost all firearms up to and including .50, as well as parts, components, attachments and accessories for said firearms are captured by the ITAR’s U.S. Munitions List (USML) under Category I. The only exceptions to this broad coverage are so-called “noncombat shotguns” with barrels 18 inches or longer, BB, pellet, and muzzle loading firearms, as well as attachments or accessories that do not enhance the usefulness, effectiveness, or capabilities of the firearm, component and parts. Such items are controlled under the Department of Commerce export controls, known as the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

DDTC explained in its letter to Defense Distributed, “[p]ursuant to 127.1 of the ITAR, it is unlawful to export any defense article or technical data for which a license or written approval is required without first obtaining the required authorization from the DDTC. Please note that disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad, is considered an export under 120.17 of the ITAR.”  To resolve the matter “officially,” DDTC requested Defense Distributed submit a Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) request for the following data files:

  • Defense Distributed Liberator pistol
  • .22 electric
  • 125mm BK-14M high-explosive anti-tank warhead
  • 56/.223 muzzle brake
  • Springfield XD-40 tactical slide assembly
  • Sound Moderator – slip on
  • “The Dirty Diane” 1/2-28 to 3/4-16 STP S3600 oil filter silencer adapter
  • 12 gauge to .22 CB sub-caliber insert
  • Voltlock electronic black powder system
  • VZ-58 sight

A copy of the DDTC letter is available in a  2013 Forbes article (last visited on Jul. 18, 2018).

In compliance with the DDTC letter, Defense Distributed removed the Published Files from its website and in June 2013, submitted a CJ request. Almost two years later, with no response to the CJ request and an unsuccessful attempt to obtain public release approval from the Department of Defense Office of Prepublication Review and Security for the subject files, Defense Distributed along with the Second Amendment Foundation (“SAF”), sued DDTC in the Western District of Texas, alleging the ITAR prior approval requirement for posting technical data on the Internet was an unconstitutional prior restraint on protected First Amendment speech, along with other constitutional violations under the Second and Fifth Amendments.

While the case was pending, the Plaintiffs filed a motion with the court seeking a preliminary injunction against DDTC, wherein the court would suspend enforcement of the ITAR prepublication approval requirement pending final resolution of the underlying case. The District Court denied the motion, holding the national security interests of the United States outweighed the potential harm to Defense Distributed. Defense Distributed and SAF appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the District Court decision, noting, however, that its decision was limited and did not address the merits:

This case presents a number of novel legal questions, including whether the 3D printing and/or CNC milling files at issue here may constitute protected speech under the First Amendment, the level of scrutiny applicable to the statutory and regulatory scheme here, whether posting files online for unrestricted download may constitute “export,” and whether ITAR regulations establish an impermissible prior restraint scheme. These are difficult questions, and we take no position on the ultimate outcome other than to agree with the district court that it is not yet time to address the merits. On remand, the district court will eventually have to address the merits, and it will be able to do so with the benefit of a more fully developed record.” Defense Distributed v. U.S. Department of State, 838 F.3d 451, 464 (5th Cir. 2016).

Defense Distributed then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for writ of certiorari, which the Court denied on January 8, 2018. On June 29, 2018, the parties executed the Settlement Agreement, resolving all claims in the case. We reviewed the text of the Settlement Agreement circulated in The Daily Bugle, a free export/import daily newsletter from Full Circle Compliance, on July 12, 2018.

The Settlement Agreement 

In the Settlement Agreement, the parties agree to resolve all issues, including any issues “that could have been asserted” by Defense Distributed without further litigation, and without any admission of liability on either side. The Settlement Agreement goes on to stipulate in Paragraph 4 that it shall not be construed as an admission by DDTC of the veracity or validity of any of Defense Distributed’s allegations. Further, the Settlement Agreement does not hold any precedent, as the parties are explicitly prohibited from using it as evidence and from referring to the Settlement Agreement in any way in proceedings that may be needed to enforce it.

In consideration of Plaintiffs’ agreement to dismiss its claims against DDTC with prejudice, DDTC agreed to five requirements:

(1) DDTC’s commitment to draft and fully pursue, to the extent authorized by law, a proposed and final rule revising U.S. Munitions List (USML) Category I to exclude “the technical data that is the subject of the Action.” (Settlement Ag., para. 1(a)).

It should be noted that by the time the Settlement Agreement was signed on June 29, 2018, DDTC had already published more than a month prior in 83 Fed. Reg. 24198 (May 24, 2018) its proposed rule to transition most firearms and ammunition, along with certain parts, components, attachments, and accessories, away from ITAR controls over to EAR controls. For more information on the State and Commerce companion proposed rules, please refer to our alerts of June 1, 8, and 13.

(2) While the above-referenced final rule is in development, DDTC will publish on its website an announcement by July 27, 2018, of a temporary modification, consistent with ITAR section 126.2, to exclude “the technical data that is the subject of the Action.” (Settlement Ag., para. 1(b)).

Section 126.2 permits the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Trade Controls to order the temporary suspension or modification of any or all regulations in the ITAR in the interest of the security and foreign policy of the United States.

(3) DDTC will issue a letter a letter to Defense Distributed by July 27, 2018, advising that the Published Files are approved for public release in any form and are exempt from export licensing requirements of the ITAR because the files satisfy the criteria of ITAR section 125.4(b)(13). (Settlement Ag., para. 1(c)).

Section 125.4 in the ITAR lists various exports of technical data that do not require approval from DDTC. Paragraph (b)(13), cited in this particular consideration, covers “[t]echnical data approved for public release (i.e. unlimited distribution) by the cognizant U.S. Government department or agency or Office of Freedom of Information and Security Review. This exemption is applicable to information approved by the cognizant U.S. Government department or agency for public release in any form. It does not require that the information be published in order to qualify for the exemption.”

(4) DDTC acknowledges and agrees that the temporary modification of USML Category I [per Consideration #2 above] permits any U.S. person, including Defense Distributed customers and SAF members, to access, discuss, use, reproduce, or otherwise benefit from the “technical data that is the subject of the Action.”… (Settlement Ag., para. 1(d)).

(5) Payment of $39,581.00 to Plaintiffs. “This figure is inclusive of any interest and is the only payment that will be made to Plaintiffs or their counsel by Defendants under this Settlement Agreement.” (Settlement Ag., para. 1(e)).

Analysis of Settlement

What impact will the Settlement Agreement have on industry, if any? Strikingly, the Settlement Agreement does very little to advance the argument that the ITAR’s prior restraints on publication are a violation of the First Amendment or any other constitutional rights. Indeed, as the Settlement Agreement makes very clear, the parties stipulate that DDTC’s entering into the agreement is in no way an acknowledgment of the validity or veracity of those arguments. Further, all conditions are silent on the constitutional rights issues raised in the case – the Settlement Agreement addresses only the manner in which DDTC will authorize Defense Distributed to release just the Published Files, nothing more.

While DDTC agreed to “draft and fully pursue” the proposed rulemaking to revise USML Category I, in the interim, the temporary amendment to USML Category I will exclude ONLY the “technical data that is subject of the Action.” The “technical data that is subject of the Action” is not a limitless bucket containing all ITAR-controlled technical data pertaining to firearms. Rather, the Settlement Agreement defines the words, “technical data that is subject of the Action” specifically to mean only the following: “(1) the Published Files; (2) the Ghost Gunner files; (3) the CAD Files; and (4) the Other Files insofar as those files regard items exclusively: (a) in Category I(a) of the [USML], as well as barrels and receivers covered by Category I(g) of the USML that are components of such items, or (b) items covered by Category I(h) of the USML solely by reference to Category I(a), excluding Military Equipment [as defined in the Settlement Agreement].”

DDTC did not agree to amend the USML to exclude all similar technical data or related hardware, or make any other revisions to Category I, much less any other USML Category. In fact, DDTC agreed to revise the USML Category I “to the extent authorized by law (including the Administrative procedures Act)” to exclude only “technical data that is subject of the action.” A cynic could say that’s quite a caveat.

It is also important to note that nowhere in the Settlement Agreement does DDTC indicate the Published Files are not considered ITAR-controlled technical data. In fact, the agreement to utilize the powers of § 126.2 to exclude the Published Files from the ITAR by using the §125.4(b)(13) public release process clearly supports the argument that DDTC still considers the files to be technical data. If the information was not technical data, then there would be no need to go through these regulatory hoops to authorize its release. Simply put, DDTC did not ever move from its position that the Published Files were technical data, and the Settlement Agreement does more to underscore this position than to prove otherwise.

This, coupled with the clear language of the Settlement Agreement that this document cannot be used as precedent in further cases, means the release from ITAR controls applies only to the “technical data that is subject of the Action,” as defined in the Settlement Agreement. Other individuals or companies with similar Technical Data should not rely on the fact that Defense Distributed was authorized to release the Published Files as a blanket permission to do the same. To be sure, it seems one must still seek authorization from DDTC or public release approval from another cognizant U.S. Government agency before publishing similar Technical Data to the Internet.

As for the arguable coincidence of this Settlement Agreement and the timing of the publication of the proposed revisions to USML Category I, II, and III, one could speculate the Settlement Agreement was the catalyst for DDTC finally publishing the revisions – the case forced DDTC’s hand as it were. However, one could also argue that DDTC simply agreed to do what it was already planning to do as the revisions were, by then, drafted and through the internal review process, thereby losing nothing yet gaining a great deal by settling a lawsuit that could have ultimately decided the interplay between the First Amendment and the ITAR. And, as a result, the ITAR prior approval requirements remain in place and intact, and persons seeking to publish technical data to the Internet must first obtain DDTC approval to do so.

Closing Thoughts

The only guaranty in court is that there are no guarantees. There was a lot riding on this case, for both sides. This was apparent in the number of amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs weighing in on the potential implications for the constitutional freedoms guaranteed under the First and Second Amendments, gun rights, gun control, world peace and national security interests. Arguably, neither side could afford a negative court decision on the merits of the case. However, with the Settlement Agreement, it appears that both sides won. Defense Distributed is able to reinstate its DEFCAD.org website at the end of this month without having to wait until 2019 when the proposed transition rules will become final, presumably, and DDTC has not done anything to change its approach to ITAR licensing controls over technical data, including the requirement for approval for public release prior to posting such information on the Internet.


U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) – Enhanced Security Plan Sets Best Practices for Use of Cloud Services for Sensitive Data

2018/04/04

By:  Pablo LeCour, Partner, plecour@deloitte.co.uk; Tina Carlile, Senior Manager, ticarlile@deloitte.co.uk; and Ziyu Chin, Senior Consultant, ziyu.chin@deloitte.co.uk. All of Deloitte.

In December 2017 a global software company serving the telecommunications industry settled charges with the U.S. Department of Justice for violating U.S. controls on foreign access to sensitive data, including export controlled information. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to implement an Enhanced Security Plan designed to increase information security by regulating remote access to company networks and transfers of sensitive data.

The Enhanced Security Plan is a helpful benchmark for network providers seeking to protect sensitive information about U.S. telecommunications networks and other critical infrastructure.

Many tech companies develop software using foreign technical personnel both inside and outside of the U.S. The use of a global technical workforce increases the risk of unauthorized access to U.S. controlled information, including sensitive network data and data critical to the U.S. domestic communications infrastructure. Unauthorized access has consequences from an export controls perspective – under the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) licenses might be required to store U.S. sensitive data in overseas servers or for non-U.S. persons to handle, transmit or access controlled software, technology or technical data that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The Enhanced Security Plan provides an example of how these information security requirements can be met by:

  • Requiring authentication and tracking of changes to systems software through code-signing and other means;
  • Restricting access, transmission and storage of certain sensitive data to U.S.-based servers and U.S.-based network infrastructure; and
  • Controlling access by non-U.S. persons and implementing procedures for the proper vetting and licensing of non-U.S. employees and agents.
  • Additionally, the Enhanced Security Plan recommends an effective compliance program that includes the following:
  • Appointing a Security Director with appropriate authority, reporting lines, independence, skills, and resources to ensure compliance;
  • Implementing a Security Policy that describes the management of user identity and access, and building systems that monitor unauthorized attempts to access and screen personnel;
  • Conducting periodic third-party audits of the security procedures and their implementation; and
  • Engaging a third-party auditor to ensure compliance.

Companies doing business with the U.S. government or in connection with critical U.S. infrastructure, as well as companies that handle or use export-controlled technology, software, technical data, and cloud or network services, should review the DOJ Enhanced Security Plan requirements and consider including them within their own compliance programs.


Failing to Keep Current with Classifications Leads to Civil Penalty for NJ-based Company

2017/10/16

By: Ashleigh Foor

During the second week of September, Bright Lights USA, a Barrington, NJ-based company, received a $400,000 civil penalty from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) for exporting unauthorized defense components and technical data, which violates the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Bright Lights notified DDTC of two ITAR violations in voluntary self-disclosures filed with the agency in April 2013 and June 2016.

Bright Lights failed to stay current with the former Obama administration’s Export Control Reform (ECR) regarding  the transition of ITAR-related commodities/technology from the State Department’s US Munitions List to the Commerce Control List. The wrong commodity jurisdiction was selected and resulted in export violations for both the physical export of the items and the illegal transfer of technology made by the company.

Want to make sure your company is staying compliant? We have an upcoming webinar on classifications:

EAR Hardware and Materials Classifications: Learning By Doing

Practice Makes Perfect—A Two-Part Webinar that Combines Hands-On Exercises, Discussions, and Instruction. October 25, 2017 & November 8, 2017


Repeal of Pratt & Whitney Canada Corporation’s Statutory Debarment

2017/10/16

By: Ashleigh Foor

As of July 12, 2017, the statutory debarment of Pratt & Whitney Canada Corporation has been lifted and the company reinstated, according to the Department’s authorities under the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In June 2012, Pratt & Whitney Canada Corporation plead guilty to violating the AECA (US District Court, District of Connecticut, 12-CR-146-WWE), making the company statutorily debarred in accordance with section 120.1 of the ITAR with certain exceptions, pursuant to section 127.7(b). Section 38(g)(4) of the AECA, 22 U.S.C. 2778(g)(4) prohibits any party that has violated the AECA from issuing export licenses or other approvals for the export of defense articles or services. The notice debarring Pratt & Whitney Canada Corporation in all its locations was published in the Federal Register July 6, 2012.

According to section 127.7 of the ITAR, a statutory debarment may be repealed once appropriate US agencies concur that the violating company has taken appropriate steps to alleviate any law enforcement concerns. The Department of State consulted with other US agencies and concluded that Pratt & Whitney Canada Corporation has appropriately addressed the causes of violations and mitigated any law enforcement concerns.

Effective July 12, 2017, the statutory debarment is removed and Pratt & Whitney Canada Corporation may now participate in any activities subject to the ITAR , in accordance with section 38(g)(4) of the AECA and sections 127.7(b) and 127.11(b) of the ITAR.


Department of State Import and Export Electronic Filings for Licenses and License Exemptions

2017/03/30

Source: Robert C. Rawls (robert.c.rawls@cbp.dhs.gov)

This pipeline is to provide guidance based on the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls Federal Register Notice dated January 3, 2017.  Persons not familiar with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) import and export regulations are encouraged to read the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130.  DDTC is the controlling and ultimate authority for international movements of United States Munitions List (USML) defense articles, technical data and defense services.

DDTC published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) amending the ITAR.  The amendment requires that importers and exporters electronically submit the data, via their agent/filer or direct,at the time of entry and export via Customs Systems (Automated Commercial Environment and the Automated Export System) for the decrementation of permanent export licenses (DSP-5), temporary import licenses (DSP-61), temporary export licenses (DSP-73), licenses for classified materials (DSP-85), and goods controlled under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program (DSP-94), along with the submission of license exemption claims.

The regulatory changes became effective December 31, 2016.

For imports against DSP-61, DSP-73, DSP-85, FMS shipments and shipments under a license exemption, the electronic submission is the DDTC Partnership Government Agency (PGA) message set, and will be submitted at the time of entry.  The PGA message set can only accept the data for one DDTC license or license exemption per one commodity line on the entry.  That commodity line’s entered value will be used as the DDTC endorsement value.  So, filers are required to “split the commodity entry line” to associate a single entry line with a single license whose entered value will represent the DDTC value.

Filing Examples:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>•        <!–[endif]–>9808 – Certified Emergency War Materials – The primary and secondary classification must be included in your BEI. Expeditors will assign the license to the 9808 line item only and transmit to CBP.  Upon receipt, CBP will increment the value associated with the 9808 classification only.

7501 line 1 – 9808.00.3000 – Hardware/DDTC value- *PGA transmission is required and includes license number*

9013.90.9000 – No value (associated HTS)

7501 line 2 –         9808.00.3000 – Repair value

9013.90.9000 – No value (associated HTS)

<!–[if !supportLists]–>•        <!–[endif]–>Any free & dutiable classifications – Any other HTS

7501 line 1 –         9013.90.9000- Hardware/DDTC value- *PGA transmission is required and includes license number 1*

7501 line 2 –         9013.90.9000- Repair value

7501 line 3 –         9013.90.9000- Hardware/DDTC value- *PGA transmission is required and includes license number 2*

7501 line 4 –         9013.90.9000- Repair value

 

Import Valuation Examples:

There are times when the import and export values of a commodity are not the same due to changes in the condition of the commodity, for example repaired items.  The importer/broker has three options regarding how the entry and PGA message set can be filed.

Example:  The item is valued at $750 and it has been sent out of the country for repairs.  The value of the repairs is $350.

Option 1

At the time of export the value declared via the Electronic Export Information is $750.  Upon entry the commodity line value is declared at $1100.  The license will be decremented for $750 for the export and $1100 for the import.

Option 2

At the time of export the value declared via the EEI is $750.  Upon entry the broker files two Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) lines, one for $750 with a DDTC PGA message set and the second HTS line using HTS 9802.00.50 for $350.  The license would be decremented for $750 for both the import and export.  Note, there may be additional documentary requirements is association with using HTS 9802.00.50.

Option 3

At the time of export the value declared via the EEI is $750.  Upon entry the broker files two HTS commodity lines, one for $750 with a DDTC PGA message set and the second HTS commodity for that commodity classification.  The license would be decremented for $750 for both the entry and export.

For Exports related to a DSP5s, DSP-61s, DSP-73s, DSP-85s, FMS shipments, and license exemptions will continue to be filed via the Customs system (Automated Export System (AES)) for each commodity filing.

Per DDTC’s FRN, paper DSP-61 and DSP-73 licenses will no longer be required to be presented for incrementation or decrementation since the import and export transactions against the shipment will be captured in Customs systems.  In order to ensure accurate license balances in Customs systems, for those DSP-61s and DSP-73s issued prior to January 3, 2017, license holders are requested to provide the following information to CBP (insert POC and address) in the form of a letter: the license number, the total value of all prior import shipments incremented against the license, and the date when this information was recorded.  The historic import values are required since the data was not collected on the PGA record set.  .

The license registrant is reminded of its temporary license requirements under 22 CFR 123.3 and 123.5 which will continue to be evidenced using the registrant’s business records.  Given the automation, these business records may be subject to review by CBP in order to meet its requirements under 22 CFR 123.23 to “permit the shipment of defense articles identified on a license when the total value of the export does not exceed the aggregate monetary value (not quantity) stated on the license by more than ten percent…”

For the FMS program, the DSP-94 and the Letters of Offer and Acceptance, along with any amendments or modifications still have to be lodged with CBP.  CBP is working on automation of this process and it is projected that the automation process will be completed in summer/fall 2017.  CBP will provide updated guidance when that automation has been completed.

For the DSP-85 classified program, endorsements continue to be managed by the Defense Security Service.

Corrections related to the electronic import (PGA record set) transmissions can be made within 10 days of entry.  Import corrections needed after 10 days or corrections for exports should be referred to Robert Rawls at Robert.Rawls@dhs.gov.

Any questions about this pipeline should be referred to Mr. Robert Rawls, Outbound Enforcement and Policy Branch Chief via email at Robert.Rawls@dhs.gov or phone at (202) 344-2847.


ITAR Corrected and Additions to Parts 120, 121, 122, 124, 126 and 127

2017/01/31

Effective December 5, 2016, the Department of State has amended the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to clarify recent revisions due to Export Control Reform (ECR), the scope of disclosure of information submitted to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the policies and procedures regarding statutory debarments, as well as correcting administration and typographical errors.

The following changes have been made following this final rule:

  • A definition of ‘‘classified’’ is moved from § 121.1(e) to § 120.46;
  • The structure of § 121.1(a)–(e) is realigned, with paragraphs (a) and (b) revised to clarify the existing requirements for United States Munitions List (USML) controls, and paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) removed;
  • Thirteen USML categories are amended to clarify that commodities, software, and technology subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and related to defense articles in a USML category may be exported or temporarily imported on the same license with defense articles from any category, provided they are to be used in or with that defense article;
  • In three places within the USML, the word ‘‘enumerated’’ is replaced with the word ‘‘described’’ to make the language consistent with changes directed in the Final Rule published at 79 FR 61226, Oct. 10, 2014;
  • Section 122.4(c)(4) is revised to permit the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) to approve an alternative timeframe, not less than 60 days, to the current 60-day requirement for registrants to provide a signed amended agreement;
  • Section 124.2(c)(5)(v) is revised to correct errors to the USML category references for gas turbine engine hot sections, from VI(f) and VIII(b) to Category XIX;
  • Section 124.12 is amended in paragraph (a)(9) to update the name of the Defense Investigative Service to Defense Security Service;
  • Section 126.9 on Advisory Opinions and Related Authorizations is amended to correct paragraph (a);
  • Paragraph (b) of § 126.10 is amended to clarify the scope of control and disclosure of information, however, notwithstanding the changes to paragraph (b) it is the Department’s policy not to publicly release information relating to activities regulated by the ITAR except as required by law or when doing so is otherwise in the interest of the United States Government; and;
  • Section 127.7(b) is amended to clarify the policies and procedures regarding statutory debarments (addressing inadvertent omissions resulting from a prior amendment to that section), and § 127.11 is amended to make conforming revisions to paragraph (c) omitted from prior amendment to that section.

Federal Register: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-05/pdf/2016-28406.pdf