International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a United States government regulatory system with the responsibility to control the export and import of defense articles and services listed on the United States Munitions List (USML). These laws affect the manufacturing, selling and distribution of technology-based products and services related to the defense and military industries. This program supports the U.S. government in attempting to prevent the disclosure or transfer of sensitive information to a foreign national. The USML categorizes these articles into 21 separate groups of products and services, creating a detailed listing for easy accessibility.

All manufacturers, exporters and other liaison of defense products must be ITAR compliant, according to the United States Government. ITAR regulations dictate that information and materials that pertain to defense and military-related technologies only be shared with U.S. persons defined as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) or other protected individuals. To be ITAR compliant, a company must be registered with the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). Companies are required to register with the U.S. Department of State and follow the rules as set forth and to identify visitors who are not U.S. Persons as defined by U.S. Code Title 22 Chapter 1 Subchapter M §120.15 and §120.16 to limit access to non-U.S. persons. Classifying ITAR defined U.S. persons is a requirement for doing business and in no way discriminates on the basis of race or national origin.

The goal of ITAR is to control all access to particular categories of technologies and the data which is associated with them. This is one way the U.S. government prevents the transfers of delicate pieces of information. Most items controlled under ITAR are intended for direct or indirect military uses, this can include not only physical items but services and information as well. Violating ITAR compliances may result in civil and criminal sanctions and/or fines. To avoid penalties it is important to fully understand ITAR requirements and how to apply for the certifications when dealing with the defense industry.