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DDTC Announces COVID-19 Related Regulatory Relief

Like many other US Government agencies, the State Department, Directorate of Defense 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 impact registration, compliance, licensing, and outreach to DDTC. 

All of the changes are posted on the DDTC homepage, but you will need to scroll way down to the April 23, 2020 and March 19, 2020 announcements in order to access them.

Extensions of time

  • Licenses. Effective March 13, 2020, existing licenses that expire between March 13, 2020 and May 31, 2020, are automatically extended for six months from the original date of expiration provided there are no changes to the scope or value of the authorization and no name or address changes are required. 
  • Disclosures.
    • All requests for information regarding disclosures are automatically granted an extra 30 days. 
    • Extensions to the submission of voluntary disclosures are being considered on a case-by-case basis. Send extension requests to DTCC-CaseStatus@state.gov as a PDF on company letterhead. 
  • Registration. Renewals due in February, March, April, May, and June are all extended two months from the original due date, including the payment of fees. 

Location of Regular Employees

  • Regular employees. From March 13, 2020 through July 31, 2020, regular employees for purposes of the ITAR are permitted to send, receive, or access any technical data authorized 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.  
  • Long term contractors. From March 13, 2020 through July 31, 2020, long term contractors considered regular employees for purposes of the ITAR are permitted to work in a remote location unless it is Russia or a §126.1 country.  

Submissions to and correspondence with DDTC

  • Disclosures. Submit disclosures and/or related information, including extension requests, as PDFs on company letterhead to DTCC-CaseStatus@state.gov. Hard copies to DDTC are not necessary, but if the disclosure cannot be submitted via email, it can be sent by regular US mail to DDTC following the normal submission process. If there are attachments that are too large to email, we recommend you submit the narrative via email and note that the attachments will be sent via regular mail. Additionally, if you intend to submit technical data, keep in mind your company’s protocol on the transfer of technical data.
  • General Correspondence (GC). DDTC will respond to any GCs submitted in hard copy to the email contact on the GC submission. If no email contact is listed, DDTC will respond via snail mail. In the event your submission does not include an email contact, we recommend contacting the Response Team to request the contact information for the analyst handling your GC, and then provide that individual with email contact information.
  • Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Part 130 reports. Submit FMS-related Part 130 Reports to DDTC-Part130Notices@state.gov.
  • DSP-85s. DDTC will send emails of unclassified final action letters. If no email contact is listed, DDTC will respond via snail mail. As noted above, we recommend contacting DDTC to provide an email address for the relevant point of contact as mail being sent State seems to truly be sent via an actual snail. DDTC will continue to send original sealed copies to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) through snail mail.
  • Expedited reviews. On April 20, 2020, DDTC issued guidance on applications it considers for expedited review. The only types of transactions that qualify for this treatment are defense articles and defense services to deployed forces or organizations or within 90 days of a scheduled deployment. Note specific documentation is required with the submission. Any other requests for expedited review may be subject to an RWA. 
  • (Almost) everything else – DECCS. DECCS does not currently accept GCs (other than re-transfer requests) or prior approvals for brokers, both of which are typically submitted in hard copy to DDTC. DDTC has not clarified if there are any alternative methods for these submissions.  

Internal DDTC Changes

  • Congressional Notification. DDTC is now electronically submitting Congressional Notifications of proposed Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) and FMS to Congress.
  • License review. DDTC is working with the interagency and leveraging updated staffing protocols to ensure streamlined interagency licensing reviews. We note that even before the COVID-19 pandemic had started, final decisions on license applications were taking DDTC much longer than expected, likely due to decreased internal staffing. 
  • Staffing. Additional staffing and IT resources have been added to the Response Team and Help Desk.
  • Contact information. DDTC has published contact information for additional DDTC staff. (Oh how we miss the old DDTC website that listed all DDTC’s contact information.)

Upcoming

  • One-time reduction in registration fees for certain DDTC registrants. 
  • We hope electronic submissions for all GCs and broker prior approval requests! 

A note on recordkeeping: If you need to take advantage of any of the deadline restrictions noted above, we recommend for the relevant registration, license, or request for information that you include a copy of the DDTC guidance in the applicable file. As many of us have experienced, past web guidance from DDTC sometimes seems to disappear from the site (or is buried in unknown corners). If three years from now when your company is experiencing the joy of a five-year compliance look back, a compliance monitor, an internal audit, or the love and attention of your outside counsel (yes, we know our reviews are painful too at times), you have the evidence of the extension already in your files and don’t need to use the Internet’s Wayback Machine to try to find the guidance in the event it is removed from DDTC’s site.

Contacts

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