Guest viewpoint: ITAR -- making the commitment to excellence

PHOENIX, 25 Nov. 2007. Exporting critical technology requires much more than simply following a set of government regulations; it's a regimen of excellence that calls for maximum attention to detail at every step of the International Traffic in Arms regulations (ITAR) process.

By Scott Grossman

PHOENIX, 25 Nov. 2007. Exporting critical technology requires much more than simply following a set of government regulations; it's a regimen of excellence that calls for maximum attention to detail at every step of the International Traffic in Arms regulations (ITAR) process.

PHOENIX, 25 Nov. 2007. Exporting critical technology requires much more than simply following a set of government regulations; it's a regimen of excellence that calls for maximum attention to detail at every step of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) process.

ITAR is a set of regulations that govern the export and re-export of certain controlled commodities, services, and technologies. In order to be controlled under the ITAR as a defense article, a given component, subcomponent, part, assembly, subassembly, or integrated system must have been specifically designed, developed, configured, adapted, or modified for a military application controlled under the United States Munitions List (USML).

White Electronic Designs (WEDC) in Phoenix develops and delivers microelectronics and display components for the defense/aerospace, industrial, and commercial industry segments. Because a significant portion of our business is driven from subcontracts with prime contractors here in the U.S. and abroad, we are subject to many federal contracting regulations as well as export regulations including the ITAR and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Items that are controlled under the ITAR require an export license from the U.S. Department of State before the item can be exported outside the U.S. or exported to a foreign national within the U.S.

Export compliance at White Electronic Designs means much more than simply following a set of government regulations; it's a commitment, process, and necessity of doing business. Its adherence protects our country.

What does it take to comply with the ITAR? It takes commitment from the top. At WEDC, our CEO and senior executives are not only committed to export compliancy, but have communicated their commitment throughout the company to employees at all levels.

Our corporate export compliance director heads WEDC's export compliancy team, and is responsible for all aspects of the company's compliance with federal government export control laws and regulations and for overseeing all export operations within its divisions. Each WEDC division has an export compliance manager who oversees the day-to-day implementation of corporate and divisional export compliance policies and procedures.

To maintain export compliancy and communicate the company's policies and procedures, WEDC has developed an export compliance manual that outlines our policies and procedures. This manual is made available to every company employee through our intranet. The export compliance manual includes policies, procedures, and forms necessary to maintain export compliancy from the initial receipt of a customer's request for quote, to final shipment, including the ultimate end destination of a controlled item under the ITAR. We work closely with our customers to ensure ITAR compliance.

Our export compliance manual includes a technology transfer control plan that ensures compliance to the ITAR when exporting technical data and defense services. The ITAR includes specific definitions of technical data and services that it controls, requiring a State Department-issued export license before the data or service is exported. The plan also includes the definitions of a technology export, employee access to controlled technology, storage of controlled information, training, and a technology transfer control policy non-disclosure agreement.

Another section of WEDC's compliance manual covers policies and procedures to ensure ITAR compliance when exporting a tangible item such as our custom-designed multi-chip modules, which also require a State Department export license prior to export. WEDC collects detailed information concerning the export, including the customer's program, end use and end user information, quantity of shipment, and other information pertinent to the export. Much of this information is required to be included and submitted to the State Department in the export license application.

Once a company has its export team in place, has developed and implemented its export compliance manual, and has communicated the company's export policies and procedures to employee, there is one last step to compliancy. There must be a vehicle in place to keep abreast of the frequent and highly important changes and additions to the ITAR and EAR.

WEDC's vehicle is our export continuing education program, which includes the minimum attendance to export industry seminars and/or work groups required for the company's divisional export managers. The program will also include a formal export training compliance presentation for all new WEDC employees, and periodic departmental export training and awareness presentations.

Failure to adhere to the ITAR, EAR, or any other export regulation can have detrimental consequences to a company as well as an individual employee. Some of these potential consequences include loss of export privileges, debarment as a U.S. government contractor, and/or criminal and civil fines.

Scott Grossman is director of subcontracts, logistics, and corporate export compliance at White Electronic Designs in Phoenix, which develops microelectronics and display components and systems for the defense/aerospace, industrial, and commercial industries.

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