Export Control Policy


The Office of Technology Security and Export Control (TSEC) provides support to policy formulation, guidance, and issuance with respect to exportation of NSA technology. We are here to ensure protection of SIGINT and Information Assurance sensitive technologies while executing Department of Defense and Department of State processes supporting U.S. business opportunities in the global marketplace and the multinational partnerships that today's war fighter depends on.

The primary activities in the TSEC Office include export licensing of technology and information controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR)/United States Munitions List (USML) and Export Administration Regulation (EAR) for Dual Use cases, issuance of ITAR Exemption Letters and Exception Letters, Foreign Military Sales oversight, and processing of Exceptions to National Disclosure Policy (ENDP) and impact assessment of unauthorized exports, releases, and disclosures.

Here are some frequently asked questions and tips to help determine your way forward.

What is an export?

  • Sending or taking a defense article out of the U.S. in any manner.

  • Disclosure, including oral or visual disclosure, or transfer of technical data to a foreign person whether in the U.S. or abroad,

  • Performance of a defense service on behalf of, or for the benefit of a foreign person whether in the U.S. or abroad,

  • Disclosure, including oral or visual disclosure, or transfer in the U.S. of any defense article to an embassy, agency, or subdivision of a foreign government,

  • Transfer of registration, control or ownership to a foreign person of any aircraft, vessel, or satellite covered by the U.S. Munitions List, whether in the U.S. or abroad.

Who is a foreign person?

  • Any natural person who is not a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. or who is not a protected individual,

  • Any foreign corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society, or other entity that is not incorporated or organized to conduct business in the U.S.,

  • International organizations, foreign governments, and any agency or subdivision of a foreign government.

What is a defense service?

  • Furnishing of assistance, including training, to foreign persons, in the U.S. or abroad, in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation or use of defense articles,

  • Furnishing of technical data to foreign persons in the U.S. or abroad,

  • Military training and advice.

What is the U.S. Munitions List?

The USML is a list of items deemed to be defense articles or services under the Arms Export Control Act. Of primary interest to NSA are:

  • Category XI

    • Military Electronics, including Command, Control and Communications Systems; - Electronic systems or equipment specifically designed, modified, or configured for intelligence, security or military purposes;

    • Technical Data and Defense Services related to Category XI defense articles

  • Category XIII

    • Auxiliary Military Equipment including Military Information Security Systems and equipment, cryptographic devices, software and components specifically designed or modified for intelligence, security or military purposes;

    • Military cryptographic systems and equipment, including key management systems.

How can an NSA contractor be authorized to export on NSA's behalf?

Contractors are generally authorized to export on NSA's behalf either through the ITAR export licensing process or the NSA ITAR exemption/exception process.

I need an ITAR exemption/exception letter, how do I get it?

  • Upon receipt of a request from a contractor, the Contracting Officer (CO) using mandatory templates provided by TSEC, drafts an NSA/CSS Exemption/Exception Letter.

  • Submit letter, Statement of Work and Technical Task Order(s) by email to DL ITAR exemptions for review.

  • Upon approval, letter is signed by TSEC and the CO (if applicable) and the CO/COR releases it to the contractor.

I want my contractor to get an Export License, how do I do that?

Contractors supporting SIGINT or Information Assurance programs seeking export authority through the ITAR licensing process must register with the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). They may submit export applications at the unclassified level electronically to the Department of State, any documentation above SECRET will be transmitted by TSEC to the Department of State. All export license applications, must be coordinated and approved by TSEC, prior to submittal. Contact us if you need advice on the proper processes to achieve your export related objectives to include sending or taking defense articles out of the US, providing technical data to foreign nationals, or performing a defense service for the benefit of a foreign person or if you have any other export related questions. We can be reached at 301-688-6629.