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The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is an organization within the U.S. Department of State responsible for enforcing the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). In accordance with 22 U.S.C. 2778-2780 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), DDTC is also charged with controlling the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services listed under the U.S. Munitions List (USML). DDTC ensures that all U.S. defense trade supports the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. It seeks to deny adversaries to the United States access to U.S. defense related technology while ensuring interoperability among U.S. allies and coalition forces. DDTC consists of the Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy (DTCP), the Office of Defense Trade Controls Licensing (DTCL), and the Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC).


Generally, any person or company who intends to export or temporarily import a defense article, defense serve, or technical data must obtain prior approval from DDTC. The appropriate license Form must be submitted to the DDTC for the purpose of seeking approval. Otherwise the application will not be reviewed. In most cases before the DDTC will consider a license, the applicant must fist be registered with the DDTC. Per §123.15(a)(3) of the ITAR, a license application for the export of firearms for a total value of $1 million or higher will require Congressional notification. Ensuring compliance with U.S. export laws and regulations, the DDTC advises that registered exporters and manufacturers have in place programs within their organization that assist in monitoring defense trade activities. These programs should include a manual that articulates the company’s policy on and commitment to compliance with defense trade laws and regulations. It should outline procedures for dealing with licensing and compliance matters. Such a manual should include the identification and duties of empowered and responsible persons, and procedures on record keeping and internal auditing.



All applicants for the permanent export of firearms (USML Category I) and ammunition (USML Category III) must submit an original Form DSP-5 to DDTC unless an exemption applies. A firm purchases order and an Import Authorization issued by the foreign government authorizing the import must accompany the DSP-5. In many instances a DSP-83 is required. Under ITAR, all firearms are designated Significant Military Equipment (SME) and thus require a completed DSP-83. The U.S. Department of State requires that all applications for authorization to export SME and classified equipment or data complete Form DSP-83. The DSP-83 Form is used to ensure foreign consignees and foreign end-users in defense trade will not re-export, resell, or otherwise dispose of significant military exports outside of an approved foreign country. It must be obtained from the DDTC division of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau (PM/DDTC). See http://www.pmdtc.org/licenses.htm for details. However, DDTC in most instances has waived this requirement for applications with a quantity of less than 50 of certain types of firearms and less than 100,000 rounds of ammunitions.

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