On April 6, 2020, the US Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) announced it had revised two published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The revised FAQs address US persons abroad and requests for authorization to provide defense services. The FAQs read:

(1) If I request authorization for defense services that describe my current employment, do I need to cease the activities that constitute defense services until I receive authorization from DDTC?

(2) Will DDTC provide a “safe harbor” period for U.S. persons who request authorization for defense services they are currently performing without a license?

The published responses to the FAQs indicate that in the event a US person believes they have been providing defense services without DDTC authorization, they may disclose such activities in their request for authorization instead of providing it in a separate voluntary disclosure. Because any disclosures submitted as part of a request for authorization will be treated as a voluntary disclosure under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) § 127.12, the submissions should include all information required under that statute. To the extent that DDTC is made aware of any prior unauthorized provision of defense services in a disclosure, it will review the totality of the facts and circumstances under which such unauthorized transactions occurred. This totality of the circumstances analysis will include such factors as adoption or non-adoption of the 2015 proposed rule and good faith efforts by the requesting party to comply with the ITAR. It should also be noted that once a party has submitted the request for authorization, they may continue with the activities described in the request on a provisional basis unless notified otherwise by DDTC.


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