Today, the Department of State issued a proposed rule to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Category XII of the U.S. Munitions List (USML). The Department of Commerce issued a companion proposed rule to amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

These proposed rules are part of the Administration’s ongoing Export Control Reform (ECR) Initiative. One of the primary goals of the ECR effort is to create a “bright line” between ITAR- and EAR-controlled items. Additionally, items that are not inherently military in nature or do not provide a critical military or intelligence advantage to the United States are being moved from the ITAR to the EAR.

Category XII of the USML currently controls a broad basket category of fire control, range finder, optical, and guidance and control equipment. The proposed ITAR rule, on the other hand, identifies a positive list of specific fire control systems; weapons sights; imaging systems; laser systems; infrared focal plane arrays; image intensifier tubes; night vision equipment; guidance, navigation, and control systems; and parts and components for such equipment.

Commerce’s companion proposed rule makes several changes to the EAR to add controls on the items that will shift from ITAR control. Among the many changes, the proposed rule adds a new “600 series” Export Control Classification Number (ECCN), 6×615, for military fire control, range finder, and optical items. The rule also revises ECCN 7A611 and adds additional 7×611 ECCNs for military guidance and control items, and revises existing ECCNs controlling optical sighting devices, concealed object detection equipment, lasers, radar systems, inertial measurement equipment, and other related items. In addition, the proposed rule expands export restrictions on certain items, including night vision software and technology.

Each proposed rule has a 60-day comment period. Industry members are encouraged to submit comments on the rules, particularly to identify areas where there still is no bright line between ITAR- and EAR-controlled items and to alert the agencies to any items in the proposed rules that are in normal commercial use.

Additional analysis of the proposed changes to the ITAR and the EAR is available here.