Export Control Definitions

Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met. (adapted from OMB Circular A-11, FASAB, and NSF Definitions)

Systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind. (adapted from OMB Circular A-11, FASAB, and NSF Definitions)

Part of the Export Control Administration Regulations (EAR) that is up of categories that cover items that can be used for either civilian or military applications (dual-use).

Release of controlled technology to foreign persons in the U.S. is "deemed" to be an export to the person's country or countries of nationality, taken from 734.2(b) of the EAR. In addition, disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data or providing a defense service to a foreign person to a foreign person, whether in the U.S. or abroad. (adapted from §120.17 of the ITAR)

Any item or technical data designated in 22 CFR 121.1 (the U.S. Munitions List or "USML"); this includes most space-qualified hardware. The policy described in 22 CFR 120.3 is applicable to the designation of additional items. This term includes technical data recorded or stored in any physical form, models, mockups or other items that reveal technical data directly relating to items designated on the USML. It does not include basic marketing information on function or purpose or general system descriptions.

A term used by the State Department. It is defined as

  1. the furnishing of assistance (including training) to foreign persons, whether in the United States or abroad, in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing, or use of defense articles. 
  2. the furnishing of technical data controlled by the ITAR to foreign persons, whether in the United States or abroad.
  3.  the provision of military training to foreign units and forces, regular and irregular, including formal or informal instruction of foreign persons in the United States or abroad by correspondence courses; technical, educational or informational publications and media of all kinds; training aid; orientation; training exercise; and military advice.

Systematic application of knowledge or understanding, directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific requirements. (adapted from OMB Circular A-11, FASAB, and NSF Definitions)

Items that may have both commercial and military applications, including those which were designed with no intrinsic military function but which may have a potential military application (i.e., computers, solar cells, optical instruments, light aircraft, etc.).

Life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products or technology that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security.

A phrase used by the Department of Commerce in §734.9 of the EAR. "Educational information" is not subject to the EAR if it is released by instruction in catalog courses and associated teaching laboratories of academic institutions. Certain types of information related to encryption software cannot be considered "educational information" and therefore are subject to the EAR even if they are released "by instruction in catalog courses and associated teaching laboratories of academic institutions." For additional helpful information, Supplement No. 1 to 15 CFR Part 734 of the Export Administration (EAR) which contains additional questions and answers frequently raised by the regulations that apply to civilian or "dual use" technologies.

Items on the ITAR/USML are not covered under this exclusion; as such instruction qualifies as a defense service. The ITAR contains similar provisions, in which the following are excluded from the "technical data" definition:


  • general scientific, mathematical or engineering principles commonly taught in schools, colleges and universities
  • information in the public domain as defined in § 120.11
  • basic marketing information on function or purpose
  • general system descriptions of defense articles

The Department of Energy Assistance to Foreign Atomic Energy Activities regulations consider information available in public libraries, public reading rooms, public document rooms, public archives, or public data banks, or in university courses to be public information not subject to its controls [10 CFR 810.3].

Education in the US is generally not affected by the Treasury Department's Office of Financial Assets Controls (OFAC) sanctions programs, although online education may. With this in mind, the practical effect is that most university courses are clearly excluded from export controls, enabling participation by international students and faculty. To be sure that a course dealing with advanced or sensitive technology qualifies for educational exclusion, please contact Mike Sanderson via email exportcontrol@uccs.edu or 719-255-3044.

The process of transforming electronic information into a scrambled form that can only be read by someone who knows how to translate the code. [ref]

Computer programs containing an encryption source code that has been compiled into a form of code that can be directly executed by a computer to perform an encryption function. [EAR 722]

Computer programs that provide capability of encryption functions or confidentiality of information or information systems. Such software includes source code, object code, applications software, or system software. [EAR 772]

A precise set of operating instructions to a computer that, when compiled, allows for the execution of an encryption function on a computer. [EAR 772]

How the ultimate consignee intends to use the commodities being exported.

The person abroad who receives and ultimately uses the exported or re-exported items. The end-user is not a forwarding agent or intermediary, but may be the purchaser or ultimate consignee.

To send or take controlled tangible items, software or information out of the United States in any manner, to transfer ownership or control of controlled tangible items, software or information to a foreign person, or to disclose information about controlled items, software or information to a Foreign Person.

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR), 15 CFR §730-774) are promulgated by the Department of Commerce to regulate the export of must item not controlled by the ITAR (defense items).

An ECCN is a five character alphanumeric classification used by the EAR to identify items on the Commerce Control List (CCL).

Any natural person who is not a lawful permanent resident as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20) or who is not a protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). It also means any foreign corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society or any other entity or group that is not incorporated or organized to do business in the United States, as well as international organizations, foreign governments and any agency or subdivision of foreign governments (e.g., diplomatic missions). (per ITAR §120.16 and EAR 734.2(b)(2)(ii))

Note (1) - under the EAR the term "foreign national" is used; the definition is the same.

Note(2) - the Department of Energy (DOE) has a different definition of a "foreign national".  A foreign national is defined as any person who was born outside the jurisdiction of the United States, is a citizen of a foreign government, and has not been naturalized under U.S. law

Basic and applied research in science and engineering where the resulting information is to be shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons. The conduct, products, and results of Fundamental Research are to proceed largely unfettered by deemed export restrictions, meaning the results will be published and made freely available to the scientific community. Research whose results carry dissemination or Foreign Person access restrictions will not qualify as Fundamental Research for purposes of the export control regulations. Because export regulations expressly recognize that Fundamental Research is excluded from deemed export controls or export licenses, other government approval is generally not needed before involving foreign nationals in Fundamental Research activity at UCCS. However, such research may give rise to export issues if the primary research is to be conducted outside of the U.S. or if it requires Foreign Person access to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) export control-listed technical information or software code or confidential information provided by third parties such as corporations, commercial vendors, or government collaborators.

The International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR §120-130 are promulgated by the Department of State regulate items not controlled by the EAR; such as, defense articles, defense services and related technical data.

Part of the U.S. Department of Treasury that administers and enforces economic embargoes and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. OFAC acts under presidential wartime and national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze foreign assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

Information that is in the "Public Domain" means information that is published and that is generally accessible or available to the public:

  1. through sales at newsstands and bookstores; 
  2. through subscriptions that are available without restriction to any individual who desires to obtain or purchase the published information; 
  3. through second class mailing privileges granted by the U.S. Government; 
  4. at libraries open to the public or from which the public can obtain documents; 
  5. through patents available at any patent office; 
  6. through unlimited distribution at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show or exhibition, generally accessible to the public, in the U.S.; 
  7. through public release (i.e., unlimited distribution) in any form (e.g., not necessarily in published form) after approved by the cognizant U.S. government department or agency; and 
  8. through fundamental research. The citation for the official definition of "Public Domain" is 22 CFR § 120.11.

Reexport or transfer means the transfer of defense articles or defense services to an end-use, end-user, or destination not previously authorized by license, written approval, or exemption. (per §120.19 of the ITAR)

Technology, technical data, or software is "released' for export through:

(1) Visual or other inspection by foreign persons of U.S- origin equipment, facilities, or defense articles;
(2) Oral or written exchanges with foreign person in the U.S. or abroad; or
(3) The application to situations abroad of personal knowledge or technical experience acquired in the U.S.

(per from EAR 734.2 (b)(3) and ITAR §120.50)

Countries that are designated by OFAC as having limited or comprehensive trade sanctions imposed by the United States for reasons of anti-terrorism, non-proliferation, narcotics trafficking, or other reasons.

Review the links below to learn how the EAR and the ITAR define "specially designed" items:

EAR Specially Designed Decision Tool - https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/specially-designed-tool

ITAR Specially Designed Decision Tool - https://www.pmddtc.state.gov/?id=ddtc_public_portal_dt_specially_designed

Data that does not include information concerning general scientific, mathematical, or engineering principles commonly taught in schools, colleges, and universities, or information in the public domain as defined in § 120.11. It also does not include basic marketing information on function or purpose or general system descriptions of defense articles.

According to § 120.10 of the ITAR, "technical data" is defined as follows:

  1. Information, other than software as defined in § 120.10(a)(4), that is required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance, or modification of defense articles. This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions, and documentation.
  2.  Classified information relating to defense articles and defense services. 
  3. Information covered by an invention secrecy order. 
  4. Software as defined in § 121.8(f) directly related to defense articles.

Specific information necessary for the "development," "production" or "use" of a product. The information takes the form of "technical data" or "technical assistance." (EAR 772)

Includes articles, services, and related technical data designated as defense articles and defense services pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). (ITAR 22 CFR § 121.1)