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08 May 2020
Like many other US government agencies, the State Department, Directorate of Defence Trade Controls (DDTC) has announced certain measures, effective immediately, to alleviate burdens caused by COVID-19 in relation to compliance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The changes affect registration, compliance, licensing and outreach to the DDTC.(1)
Effective 13 March 2020, existing licences that expire between 13 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 are automatically extended for six months from the original date of expiration, provided that there are no changes to the scope or value of the authorisation and no name or address changes are required.
All requests for information regarding disclosures are automatically granted an extra 30 days.
Extensions to submit voluntary disclosures are being considered on a case-by-case basis. Extension requests should be emailed in PDF format on company letterhead to 'DTCC-CaseStatus@state.gov'.
Renewals due in February, March, April, May or June 2020 are all extended by two months from the original due date. This includes the payment of fees.
From 13 March 2020 until 31 July 2020, regular employees for ITAR purposes can send, receive or access any technical data authorised for export, re-export or retransfer to their employer under an ITAR agreement or exemption regardless of their current physical location, unless it is Russia or a 22 CFR §126.1 country.
From 13 March 2020 until 31 July 2020, long-term contractors who are considered regular employees for ITAR purposes can work in a remote location, unless it is Russia or a §126.1 country.
Disclosures and related information, including extension requests, should be emailed as PDFs on company letterhead to 'DTCC-CaseStatus@state.gov'. The DDTC does not require hard copies. If the disclosure cannot be submitted via email, it can be sent by regular US mail following the normal submission process. If attachments are too large to email, the narrative should be submitted via email and accompanied by a note that the attachments will be sent via regular mail. If technical data will be submitted, parties should keep in mind their company's protocol on the transfer of technical data.
The DDTC will respond to any general correspondence submitted in hard copy to the email contact on the submission. If no email contact is listed, the DDTC will respond via regular mail. If a submission does not include an email contact, parties should contact the response team to request the contact information for the analyst handling their general correspondence and provide that individual with email contact information.
Foreign military sales Part 130 reports
Foreign military sales-related Part 130 reports should be emailed to 'DDTC-Part130Notices@state.gov'.
The DDTC will email unclassified final action letters. If no email contact is listed, the DDTC will respond via regular mail. As noted above, parties should contact the DDTC to provide an email address for the relevant point of contact as regular mail can take a long time. The DDTC will continue to send original sealed copies to the Defence Counterintelligence and Security Agency via regular mail.
On 20 April 2020 the DDTC issued guidance on the applications that it considers for expedited review. The only types of transaction that qualify for this treatment are defence articles and defence services that are provided to deployed forces or organisations or within 90 days of a scheduled deployment. Specific documentation is required with the submission. Any other requests for expedited review may be subject to a return without action.
(Almost) everything else – Defence Export Control and Compliance System
The Defence Export Control and Compliance System does not currently accept general correspondence (other than retransfer requests) or prior approvals for brokers, both of which are typically submitted in hard copy to the DDTC. The DDTC has not clarified whether alternative methods are available for these submissions.
The DDTC is now electronically submitting congressional notifications of proposed direct commercial sales and foreign military sales to Congress.
The DDTC is working with the interagency and leveraging updated staffing protocols to ensure streamlined interagency licensing reviews. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started, final decisions on licence applications were taking the DDTC much longer than expected, likely due to reduced internal staffing.
The response team and help desk have been allocated additional staff and IT resources.
The DDTC has published contact information for additional DDTC staff.
A one-time reduction in registration fees for certain DDTC registrants is upcoming. It is hoped that the DDTC may also soon allow electronic submissions for all general correspondence and broker prior approval requests.
Parties which need to take advantage of any of the deadline restrictions noted above should include a copy of the DDTC guidance in the file for the relevant registration, licence or information, as past web guidance from the DDTC has occasionally disappeared from its website. This will ensure that if a company later undertakes a five-year compliance look back or undergoes compliance monitoring or an internal audit or outside counsel review, it will have evidence of the extension and will not need to use the Wayback Machine to try to find the guidance in the event that it is removed from DDTC's site.
For further information on this topic please contact Marwa M Hassoun at Arent Fox LLP's Los Angeles office by telephone (+1 213 629 7400) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, contact Regan K Alberda or Sylvia G Costelloe at Arent Fox LLP's Washington DC office by telephone (+1 202 857 6000) or email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Arent Fox LLP website can be accessed at www.arentfox.com.
(1) All of the changes have been posted on the DDTC homepage. Parties will need to scroll down to the 23 April 2020 and 19 March 2020 announcements to access them.
The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.
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