International Traffic in Arms Regulations - ITAR

The U.S. Department of State through the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) administers the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR §§120-130), or “ITAR,” which regulate items and information inherently military in design, purpose, or use. Referred to as “defense articles,” such items are found on the U.S. Munitions List (USML), including technical data recorded or stored in any physical form, models, mockups, or other items that reveal technical data directly relating to items designated in the USML. Basic marketing information on function or purpose, or general system descriptions, are not controlled technical data.

The ITAR further defines Defense Services, which include the furnishing of assistance (including training) to non-US persons, whether or not in the United States, with respect to defense articles, as well as the furnishing of any technical data associated with a defense article.

In 1999, spacecraft and satellites, even if not for military use, were transferred to ITAR control, along with their associated systems and related equipment. In November, 2014, some satellites, spacecraft, and their components were returned to EAR control, although with more robust control than traditional EAR items.

The USML is divided into 22 categories of items and defense articles as listed below.

United States Munitions List Categories

Category Description
I Firearms, Close Assault Weapons, and Combat Shotguns
II Guns and Armament
III Ammunition/Ordinance
IV Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines
V Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants, Incendiary Agents, and Their Constituents
VI Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment
VII Tanks and Military Vehicles
VIII Aircraft and Associated Equipment
IX Military Training Equipment and Training
X Protective Personnel Equipment and Shelters
XI Military Electronics
XII Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance and Control Equipment
XIII Auxiliary Military Equipment
XIV Toxicological Agents, Including Chemical Agents, Biological Agents, and Associated Equipment
XV Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment
XVI Nuclear Weapons, Design and Testing Related Items
XVII Classified Articles, Technical Data, and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated
XVIII Directed Energy Weapons
XIX [Reserved]
XX Submersible Vessels, Oceanographic and Associated Equipment
XXI Miscellaneous Articles

Unless a specific exclusion or exemption applies, licenses are required for the export of a USML-listed item.

Need help?

Contact the MIT Export Control Compliance Team at, or by phone at 617-253-2762 (Janet Johnston).