State Department’s Frank Ruggiero Interviewed on Defense Exports

Posted by at 6:13 pm on April 22, 2008
Category: DDTC

Frank RuggieroDefense News published yesterday an interview with Frank Ruggiero, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Defense Trade and Regional Security in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Mr. Ruggiero oversees all defense exports from the United States, including Direct Commercial Sales and Foreign Military Sales. And he had several interesting things to say.

First, he reported that pursuant to National Security Presidential Directive No. 56, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has significantly streamlined processing times:

In summer 2007, we had nearly 700 licenses that were over 60 days. As of April 16, that’s down to 67. An average license takes about 18 days to process, a 50 percent reduction from last summer. We’ve also dropped backlog by 50 percent.

Second, Ruggiero suggested that licensing policy might be used to retaliate against foreign defense firms that produce defense articles free of U.S.-origin goods in order to trade with China and other countries that are subject to arms embargoes or strict licensing policies:

Q. Your office can veto the export of foreign-made items that use controlled U.S. parts or technologies, which has led some firms, such as France’s Thales and Italy’s Alenia, to develop satellites free of American components for sale to China. Is that a concern?

A. We are monitoring the circumstances and analyzing what International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) items we may have authorized to such companies to make sure those items are in fact not being incorporated into ITAR-free products. We would certainly factor into any future licensing determination the activity of a foreign company in terms of licensing ITAR-free items to countries that may raise potential national security risks to the United States.

That’s one way to expand the scope of U.S. export laws, I suppose.


Bookmark and Share

Copyright © 2008 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
(No republication, syndication or use permitted without my consent.)


I just got to wonder how they count the “days” a license is pending. I’ve experienced delays of at least 18 calendar days just between the time a license was submitted and the time it finally showed up in the tracking system.

Comment by Mike Deal on April 23rd, 2008 @ 8:17 am

I’ve started to just smile or at least try not to sigh too loudly every time I hear a DDTC official give the stats on processing time. I’ve always wondered when they start counting days or who does the math. I too have had licenses take a couple of weeks to show up as submitted. By the way the expedited processing times for England and Australia are a joke. They take every bit as long as a license to anywhere else.

Comment by LDM on April 25th, 2008 @ 6:44 pm