In the days following Saturday’s raid, the internet has been awash with stories of a secret new stealth helicopter. (Or, according to some reports, a “highly modified” version of the standard Black Hawk.)
It’s no secret that Pakistan maintains strong military relations with China. And it’s also no secret that, in addition to thwarting terrorism around the world, the ITAR and other U.S. export regulations exist to prevent U.S. controlled technologies from falling into the hands of countries like Pakistan and China. (China is a listed country in ITAR 126.1, while both countries have substantial entries on the Entity List – Supplement 4 to Part 744 of the EAR, among others.)
Some news agencies report that the United States is now trying to work with Pakistan to retrieve components of the helicopter that were not destroyed during the blast. Ultimately, we may never know the whole story behind the Black Hawk that was left behind.
One thing is certain, though. Faced with the reality of a crashed chopper on the ground, our Navy SEALs felt it important enough to destroy the aircraft before departing. (Incidentally, they also took measures to move the other residents of the compound – including many children – far away, so as not to injure them during the blast.)
This means that, in addition to being heroes for killing the world’s most wanted terrorist, the SEALs are also heroes for trying to further the national security goals of the United States, and doing so in a way that protects innocent lives. If that doesn’t fill you with deep pride and tremendous respect for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, then nothing will.
Tom Reynolds is the President of Export Solutions, a consultancy firm which specializes in helping companies with import/export compliance.