DDTC Posts Testimony of Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher on Export Controls Reform

On May 12, 2011, Department of State posted testimony of Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher on export controls reform before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

The Under Secretary testified that the task force created to develop the new export controls regime is currently implementing Phase II. This includes working to revise the U.S. Munitions List (USML) and the Commerce Control List (CCL) so that they use common technologies and structures. 

The Under Secretary said that, "State, Commerce, and Treasury are also in the process of adopting the Department of Defense's export licensing computer system, which will be part of a unified, cross-government computer system for export control purposes. As part of this effort, exporters eventually will use a single form for applications to State, Commerce and Treasury. Exporters also will be able to submit those applications through a single electronic portal. This isn't rocket science; we are simply adopting modern business practices." 

To address commodity jurisdiction determination issues, the State Department is working with the Departments of Defense and Commerce to create a "bright line" between munitions and dual-use items, which will finally provide clear guidance to exporters on commodity jurisdiction issues. Ellen Tauscher stated that, "this is necessary to update our system that is still designed with the assumption that technologies are developed for the military and only later find their way into the commercial sector, whereas, today, that is often the exception rather than the rule."

As part of the USML review, agencies are developing a process for transferring items from the USML to the CCL which includes deciding on the appropriate licensing requirements on items that are moved to the CCL. 

The Under Secretary also noted the Obama Administration also wants to improve the process for notifying Congress about arms sales and the transfer of items from the United USML as over the years the "process has become lengthy and unpredictable." 

The Under Secretary concluded that Phase III will complete the reform process by creating the "four singularities" - a single control list, a single information technology system, a single enforcement coordination agency, and a single licensing agency.