Last week, the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published proposed rules (available here and here) that would modify the export controls on military aircraft, military gas turbine engines, and related items. The proposed adjustments are part of the U.S. government’s review of the initial round of changes to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that were made pursuant to the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative. This review is designed to help ensure that the controls are clear, do not inadvertently and excessively regulate items in normal commercial use, and account for technological advances.

Among other proposed modifications, BIS plans to reduce the level of controls in the EAR on some minor parts and components of military aircraft, including certain valves and gauges, along with L100 aircraft manufactured before 2013. These changes should have a beneficial impact on U.S. industry, making it easier for exporters to ship such items abroad.

DDTC’s proposed rule similarly includes several modifications and clarifications, including a proposal to shift certain types of production and test equipment for specific military aircraft to control under the ITAR because this equipment inherently reveals technical data related to the ITAR-controlled aircraft. For example, if the new rule is finalized, a wind tunnel and other scale test models specially designed for an F-35 aircraft would be controlled by the ITAR, rather than the EAR.

Industry members are encouraged to submit comments on the proposed modifications, which are due to the agencies by March 25, 2016.