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Arms Export Control Act

Arms Export Control Act

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Encyclopedia
The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 gives the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 the authority to control the import and export of defense articles and defense services. It requires governments that receive weapons from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to use them for legitimate self-defense. Consideration is given as to whether the exports "would contribute to an arms race, aid in the development of weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

, support international terrorism, increase the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict, or prejudice the development of bilateral or multilateral arms control or nonproliferation agreements or other arrangements." The Act also places certain restrictions on American arms traders and manufacturers, prohibiting them from the sale of certain sensitive technologies to certain parties and requiring thorough documentation of such trades to trusted parties.

When the President is aware of the possibility of violations of the AECA, the law requires a report to Congress on the potential violations.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Homeland Security , responsible for identifying, investigating, and dismantling vulnerabilities regarding the nation's border, economic, transportation, and infrastructure security...

 (ICE) conducts an industry outreach program called the Project Shield America to prevent foreign adversaries, terrorists, and criminal networks from obtaining U.S. munitions and strategic technology.

History


In 2005 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) did a study on arms exports since 9/11. The study noted that the system itself had not been changed since 9/11 since the system was already designed to counter such threats. The study did report that the processing time for arms cases increased starting in 2003.

In 2006 Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 was fined for $15 million for unlicensed foreign sales involving a gyroscopic microchip or gyrochip with military applications.

From FY 2004 to FY 2006 there had been 283 arrests, 198 indictments, and 166 convictions based on AECA violations.

In March 2007, ITT Corporation
ITT Corporation
ITT Corporation is a global diversified manufacturing company based in the United States. ITT participates in global markets including water and fluids management, defense and security, and motion and flow control...

 was fined for criminal
Corporate crime
In criminology, corporate crime refers to crimes committed either by a corporation , or by individuals acting on behalf of a corporation or other business entity...

 violation of the act. The fines resulted from ITT's outsourcing
Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

 program, in which they transferred night vision goggles
Night vision goggles
A night vision device is an optical instrument that allows images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness. They are most often used by the military and law enforcement agencies, but are available to civilian users...

 and classified information
Classified information
Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation...

 about countermeasure
Countermeasure
A countermeasure is a measure or action taken to counter or offset another one. As a general concept it implies precision, and is any technological or tactical solution or system designed to prevent an undesirable outcome in the process...

s against laser weapons, including light interference filters to engineers in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. They were fined $100 million US dollars, although they were also given the option of spending half of that sum on research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

 of new night vision technology. The United States government will assume rights to the resulting created intellectual property.

In January 2009, Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich
Dennis John Kucinich is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997. He was furthermore a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections....

 sent a controversial notice to Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, that Israel’s actions in Gaza since December 27, 2008 may constitute a violation of the requirements of the Arms Export Control Act, based on casualties at a United Nations school complex. The allegations about the case were repudiated by the IDF, and no action has been taken under the act.

In July 2009 John Reece Roth, a former University of Tennessee professor, was convicted of violating the AECA and sentenced to 48 months in prison. The conviction was based on violations of sharing technical data that was part of a United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 (USAF) contract Roth was working on related to plasma technology for unmanned air vehicles (UAV) also known as drones.

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