What Does ITAR Compliance Mean?
The U.S. Government requires that any company that exports, manufacturers, and/or brokers defense articles or defense services remain in compliance with a strict set of regulations.
These regulations apply to commodities listed on the United States Munitions List (USML), and almost every company that works with these controlled items or technologies must first be registered with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).
A major point that gets companies in trouble is a failure to understand and apply what ITAR compliance really means. In a nutshell, it’s about registering with DDTC, meeting all other requirements of the regulations, implementing a comprehensive compliance program, receiving training, and then following your program on a day-to-day basis.
There are many layers to ITAR compliance, and your company must not violate ITAR regulations while also showing that your employees are educated and trained in various aspects of this complex set of rules.
The ITAR is updated and revised regularly. Because it applies to a wide range of goods and services, these regulations can be difficult to understand for any business. Since the U.S. State Department closely monitors USML items at each step of the export process, your company must remain compliant in all areas of your business.
This means that your company cannot risk non-compliance since each violation carries potentially millions of dollars of potential civil and criminal penalties, along with potential jail time.
In severe cases, companies who violate ITAR requirements can also risk debarment from exporting and the State Department can prohibit certain other transactions … even in the United States.
On top of this, the U.S. Government can (and will) impose costly remedial compliance measures to ensure that an organization is following the law.
As you can see, ITAR regulations are not something to risk violating, and many companies choose to hire our team to deliver compliance programs to help ensure ITAR compliance.
The Myth: ITAR Certification
If you have been in business for any length of time then you have likely heard about "ITAR Certification" courses, and you may be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as an “ITAR certified company.”
To put it simply, this is one of those buzzwords we often hear in our industry, which doesn’t really mean anything.
Unlike some quality systems (e.g., ISO), there are no published ITAR certification requirements. Therefore, there are no certification bodies who can give you an “ITAR Seal of Approval.”
Even though many people confuse "certification" with "compliance," it is important to know that there’s no independent certification body for ITAR. Unlike some quality systems (e.g., ISO, Nadcap, AS9100), you cannot hire any outside organization to “certify” your company for ITAR.
ITAR Compliance vs. Certification
Instead of thinking about a single "ITAR certification" for your business, you should instead focus on how to implement plans and systems to comply with the law. ITAR compliance is about understanding regulations and implementing a process to ensure your company does not inadvertently violate the regulations.
In the same way that an organization will analyze and pay its taxes every year (and sometimes hire an accountant to do this for them), so also will companies evaluate ITAR compliance and take active steps to comply (including, sometimes, hiring a consultant like Export Solutions to assist them).
ITAR training courses are a great option for businesses of all sizes because they offer an opportunity for employees to learn basic principles that apply to their roles. Regardless of your company's size, income, or the industries you serve, ITAR compliance is a crucial aspect of your business that must be executed with precision and care.
Drawing on years of experience working for the U.S. Government and private industry, our team of training facilitators can help make the regulations real for people at every level of your organization. Through the use of actual examples, illustrations, and exercises, we’re able to turn a “boring” subject into one with real relevance for every employee.
Be Sure That You Are ITAR Compliant
Don't get caught in the trap that many businesses find themselves in! ITAR registration is a crucial step to achieve compliance, but registration is not enough in and of itself. ITAR compliance means much more than submitting the proper forms online and paying the annual fee to the DDTC.
Take the first steps to secure your business and prevent unnecessary headaches so you and your employees can focus on your business.
Our ITAR specialists are standing by and ready to talk with you today!