Archive for the ‘Part 122’ Category



It’s Always Harder the Second Time Around

Posted by Clif Burns at 6:08 pm on January 30, 2013
Category: DDTCPart 122

Clickenbeard HQWell, today is truly a red letter day in the annals of ITAR registration puffery. For the first time ever (at least that I’ve seen), we have a company boasting that it has received ITAR re-certification. This blog has reported plenty of instances of companies that breathlessly announce that they have received “certification” upon their first ITAR registration filing, but until now no company has tried to make a news event from filing their renewal of that registration.

The proud company is Illinois-based Clickenbeard & Associates, Inc., and their press release really slathers it on thickly:

Clinkenbeard … has received official International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) re-certification from the United States Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

… Companies receiving this certification demonstrate that they have knowledge and understanding to fully comply with the AECA and ITAR as well as having corporate procedures and controls in place to ensure compliance.

“This re-certification is evidence of our commitment and ability to safeguard all defense- and government-related data for our customers and our country. Further, it demonstrates our government‘s trust in our doing so,” explains Steve Helfer, Clinkenbeard general manager.

I particularly like the statement that registration renewal demonstrates the “government’s trust” in Clickenbeard. To repeat (for the, oh, four thousandth time), all that ITAR registration (or re-registration for that matter) demonstrates is that the company had the filing fee in its bank account, could figure out how to fill out a form and send it to DDTC, and was able to pay for the postage required to send it in. Registration numbers are given by DDTC to everyone who can do those three things, even if they don’t know the difference between “registration” and “certification,”  between an export and a deemed export or between a DSP-83 and a salt shaker.

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Washington Post Jumps On The “ITAR-Certified” Bandwagon

Posted by Clif Burns at 3:23 pm on January 4, 2013
Category: DDTCPart 122

Washington PostBuried among all the articles on the recent events on the Hill, the Washington Post snuck in an article on the White House’s export control reform initiative and on export controls in general. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the reporter gets tangled up in the complexities of the current export control regime and muffs a few things.

The worst of these errors was the simplest one to avoid. As regular readers of this blog know, we have spilled several million gallons of digital ink (or should I say illuminated millions of computer screen pixels?) decrying and ridiculing the concept that the required registration under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) for manufacturers of defense articles represents some kind of “certification” of the manufacturer.   Instead, registration signifies nothing more than that the manufacturer filled out a  brief form disclosing certain corporate information and paid the required fee. It is not, by any stretch, an “ITAR certification.”

But now this “certification” canard has wriggled its way into the august pages of Washington’s paper of record:

Building the boards in the United States costs Kincaid “100 to 400 percent” more, he says, but he did not hesitate to fill out the paperwork five years ago and pay the fee, which is now more than $2,000, to become an ITAR-certified manufacturer because he appreciated the made-in-the-United-States sentiment and thought that it might “bring some of the work back.”


And then there’s this:

So a defense contractor sending equipment for U.S. military use on a battle­field abroad must obtain its authorization to “export” its product to a foreign country.

No. If the manufacturer sells the equipment to the U.S. military and they take it abroad, the manufacturer doesn’t need a license.

And this:

As Abrams sees it, the trouble for businesses like Kincaid’s isn’t compliance with export controls but the uneven application of the controls. For instance, her organization has seen identical bid requests “with one stamped ITAR and one not stamped ITAR,” she says. So if one company complies and the other does not, then the noncompliant manufacturer seizes a significant competitive advantage, assuming no one comes calling from the departments of State, Commerce or Treasury — three agencies with different computer systems, missions and cultures, but all with responsibilities in export controls.

Again, no. Neither Commerce nor Treasury would have any responsibilities or jurisdiction over the unauthorized export of ITAR-controlled items.

I spent some time speaking with the reporter on this story and, apparently, did not do a good enough job communicating to him some export control basics, so I take part of the blame for these last two errors. But, I made a big deal with him about “certification” versus “registration,” so there was no excuse for that mistake.

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If You Wish Upon ITAR

Posted by Clif Burns at 8:10 pm on October 25, 2012
Category: DDTCPart 122

Itar SealIt has been a while since we’ve highlighted the ever popular press releases of companies touting their ITAR registrations as the best thing since ShamWows and Chia Pets. Today’s companies that will do the Part 122 walk of shame are Professional Aviation Associates and American Industrial Systems.

Take it away, Professional Aviation Associates:

Professional Aviation Associates, a Greenwich AeroGroup company announced it recently became International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) certified.

According to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the U.S. Government requires all manufacturers, exporters, and brokers of defense articles, defense services or related technical data to be ITAR compliant.

The ITAR certification allows Professional Aviation Associates to supply rotables to military aviation operators of both fixed wing and rotorcraft models, as well as parts and tooling to foreign militaries

Of course, the only thing that DDTC has “certified” for PAA is that PAA could figure out the names of its officers and directors, put them on a piece of paper and send them to DDTC with a check that didn’t bounce. All certifications should be this easy. I do hope that during this intensive certification process, PAA learned that it needs more than just its certification to supply “parts and tooling to foreign militaries.”

But today’s winner is American Industrial Systems:

American Industrial Systems Inc. (AIS), an ISO 9001:2008 certified supplier and manufacturer of rugged computer and display has announced completion of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) registration with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). ITAR is a set of United States government regulations that control [sic] the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML). This registration, and with [sic] our commitment to ISO 9001 standards, documents AIS’s dedication to adhering to the strict regulations that control the export and import of defense-related services. AIS has proven their knowledge, understanding, and compliance to [sic] the US Department of States [sic] regulations in addition to the inclusion of defined corporate procedures and controls.

Well, I can tell you at least one subject that isn’t on the ITAR certification exam.

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Loose Lips: Do They Sink Ships or Just Annoy DDTC?

Posted by Clif Burns at 6:23 pm on March 1, 2012
Category: DDTCPart 122

Top SecretWe all know about exporters who, having spent the money to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”), can’t resist crowing about it, with some even implying in press releases that registration is a certification from DDTC that the registered exporter has passed some test and is now certified as ITAR-compliant, which, of course, is untrue.

But here’s another response to the giddy euphoria that follows on the heels of a successful registration: post the registration code and the DDTC registration letter on your website! That is exactly what E.R. Precision Optical did. Of course, the folks at E.R. were probably not aware that DDTC says

The code is proprietary to the registrant and should be handled as such. Company registration codes should not be posted online or given out freely to the public.

Of course, that raises the more interesting question: why should this registration number be confidential? It’s not like I can take E.R.’s number from the web and use it to start applying for export licenses in my own name. Further, DDTC spokespeople have said that exporters should make sure that they only deal with registered subcontractors even though DDTC refuses to answer inquiries as to whether particular parties are even registered or not. And arguably using an unregistered manufacturer is a violation of section 127.1(d) of the ITAR.

So how do you find out if someone who manufactures defense articles is registered? The best way is to ask that company for a copy of the registration letter which, of course, the DDTC says is “double secret.*” Otherwise, you just have to take their word for it. At least when companies like E.R. post the registration letter and code online, you can be fairly certain, Photoshop forgeries aside, that they are registered.

[h/t to Chris Adams for pointing out the E.R. website to me.]

*Naughty language alert if you click this link and view the video. May not be safe for certain workplaces.

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Blame Canada!

Posted by Clif Burns at 8:49 pm on October 20, 2011
Category: DDTCPart 122

Lie DetectorHere I had thought that we had shamed most companies from issuing those grandiloquent press releases claiming that ITAR registration from DDTC constitutes incontrovertible proof that the company can leap tall buildings in a single bound, synthesize gold from base metals and recite the entire text of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations by heart. Backwards.

Then comes along Toronto-based SMTC announcing its registration with this whopper:

Companies receiving this certification must have the knowledge and understanding to fully comply with ITAR regulations and demon-
strate that they have implemented corporate procedures and controls to ensure compliance.

Maybe it’s because they are a Canadian company and just don’t know any better?

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