U.S. Munitions Export Controls Need Improvement

ID-78-62: Published: Apr 25, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1979.

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The effectiveness of U.S. Government controls over commercial munitions exports and the accuracy of export data being reported to Congress were reviewed.

The U.S. munitions export control system cannot be depended upon to ensure that munitions are not exported without a license or that shipments made under license conform to the license terms. Responsibility for export controls is divided between the Commerce Department, the State Department's Office of Munitions Control (OMC), and the U.S. Customs Service. Coordination between the three agencies is not sufficient to ensure compliance by munitions exporters. Controls over munitions exports are further weakened by errors the Customs Service makes in controlling export licenses and validating shipper's export declarations. The errors by Customs and deficiencies in OMC data processing procedures have caused inaccuracies in the reports on munitions exports that are made to Congress.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should arrange with the Secretary of Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget to incorporate physical inspections for munitions export control into the export compliance program of Commerce. The Director, OMC, should report on deficiencies and violations uncovered in these inspections in the Munitions Control Newsletter. The Secretary of State should, with the Commissioner of Customs and the Secretary of Commerce, establish procedures to ensure that Customs and Commerce personnel inform OMC of all noted violations of munitions export regulations, and see that proper penalties are levied in such cases. The Secretary of State should also: (1) consider eliminating the current system of requiring validation of shipper's export declarations and license control by Customs; (2) use U.S. embassies more frequently in checking on proposed end use of items on license applications; and (3) make greater use of automated management data in controlling the license application review process.

    Agency Affected:


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