DTSA Leadership Blog

Singapore Air Show

Image of Singapore Air Show

Early this month I had the honor of attending the Singapore Air Show along with several other Senior U.S. delegates including Under Secretary for Commerce Mira Ricardel, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen David Goldfein, PACAF Commander Gen Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Ambassador Tina Kaidenow from the State Department and LTG Charles Hooper, Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). Our hosts from the Singapore Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) and other Singapore Government agencies put on a spectacular air show with over 350 exhibitors from 38 countries, several aerial displays and over forty static displays including the F-35 and F-22 aircraft.

I was very pleased to engage a number of U.S. companies and associations including Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon, Boeing and AIA during my visit to the Changi Exhibition Center. Understanding their business perspective in this important region of the world is vital to balancing critical technology cooperation that builds the capacity of allies and friends around the globe with the protection of critical technology vital to our warfighters.

The visit also gave me an opportunity to meet with my MINDEF counter-parts and Singapore industry officials, especially from ST Engineering Aerospace. Our hosts provided exceptional logistic support and numerous opportunities for engagement. Their hospitality was exceptional. These interactions allowed me to discuss DTSA priorities, especially the necessity of having established institutions, policies and procedures in place to protect technology and information.

The success of this trip couldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support from U.S. Embassy Singapore, especially the Defense Attaché Office. Charge d’Affaire Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath and the Embassy team were wonderful in showing me and my staff the beauty and cultural excitement of Singapore. I believe I can speak for the entire U.S. delegation in saying a hearty “Job Well Done!!”.

DTSA’s 2017 Year in Review


2017 was another very busy, productive year for DTSA. Our cooperative efforts with valued partners and allies around the world has contributed directly to Secretary of Defense Mattis’ goal of expanding alliances and partnerships.

On the international front, we hosted bilateral working groups and consultations with Australia, Finland, France, Republic of Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Oman, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. Under the auspices of the National Disclosure Policy Committee, we conducted reciprocal security surveys with Latvia, Estonia, and Kazakhstan, and sent survey teams to France, Kenya, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Space monitors from our Technology Directorate participated in technical meetings and launch campaigns in French Guiana, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Kazakhstan.

On the multilateral front, DTSA represented the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Plenary and working-level technical experts meetings of the principal multilateral export control and nonproliferation regimes -- Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. We added the Australia Group to our portfolio in 2017, recognizing that being the lead for all four regimes in DoD made imminent sense. In addition to updating the multilateral control lists and sharing best practices on licensing and enforcement, we also worked closely with the Government of India in supporting and advocating for their membership in these non-proliferation regimes.

Our close cooperation across the Department of Defense – the Military Services, Joint Staff, OSD organizations (AT&L, USDI, DSCA and numerous parts of OSD Policy) – has ensured the protection of critical technology for our warfighters, while building the capacity of allies and friends around the globe. Accordingly, we worked closely with several new and emerging international partners as they establish institutions, policies and procedures to protect technology, sharing our best practices for analyzing the national security implications of exporting internationally. So our resolution for 2018 is clear -- continue working with our partners on #DefenseTech, #InfoSec, and #Exports.

Dual-Use Technology – Making the Global Rounds


Globalization seems to be all the rage.  Access to more markets, more technology, and cheaper labor is driving worldwide commerce.  While such changes can be good or bad for market forces and players, those in the export control arena must pause and ask what are the implications to national security from increased global trade and information sharing?

Defense industries find themselves looking for new customers as they face decreases in national defense budgets and reduced investments in industries supporting defense establishments.  Companies have fewer defense customers with well-defined requirements and deep pockets.  As a result, companies produce more homogeneous products to support numerous industries and diverse customers.  Commercial-off-the-shelf products result in lower end-item costs and bolsters the future supply chain.

This highlights the need to monitor and “appreciate” the value of dual use technology, especially as the building blocks of many advanced military articles.  For example, commercial aircraft and advanced fighter aircraft both require state-of-the-art flight controls; small, but powerful semiconductors help self-driving vehicles make thousands of decisions, however, the same chip can enable faster and more accurate “kill chain” decisions.

At DTSA, we work with our interagency and international partners in applying appropriate export controls to sensitive dual use technologies to ensure these technologies do not go to undesired parties or are used in ways detrimental to our national security or our way of life.

DoD’s review of dual use export license applications, as well as the development of controls for dual use technologies is one of DTSA’s core #defensetech missions.   We must be interoperable with our allies and partners, while “Maintaining the Edge” for our warfighters.


The anticipated notice came in and I couldn't hide my confusion with the words: military assistant, OSD(P) /Def Tech Security Administration(DTSA). DTSA, never heard of it.

So I did what anyone faced with the unknown would do, I googled it. I was routed to the DTSA public website where I read the mission, vision, organizational chart and read the blogs. Based on that exercise, it seemed there was a lot of work done in something called export control reform, technology release, and multilateral non-proliferation regimes. These were words I understood in theory, but in application I was in the dark. The slides I reviewed and the content I read only told part of the story and it didn't answer the question "what was I getting into and how would I fit in?"

I have been at DTSA almost 3 months and while I have learned about export control reform, technology release and the four non-proliferation regimes, there is so much more to what DTSA does. This organization is filled with licensing officers, scientists and engineers, security professionals, foreign affairs specialists, lawyers, personalists, management support, and (now with my addition), a single AF cyber operations officer who all play a vital role in protecting the warfighter's technological edge. As I uncover more about the DTSA mission, I find myself linking the DTSA mission to news articles, op-ed pieces, magazine stories, and other blogs and I feel a certain pride knowing "we" played role in "that".

Stay tuned as I share more experiences and insight on what team DTSA does. First up the Management Directorate, take a peek with me behind the green curtain.

The Republic of Korea and the United States – Partners in Technology Security


In late June, I attended the Fourth International Defense Technology Security Conference in Seoul, Korea, hosted by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). The theme of the conference, “Strategies for Global Security through Technology Protection and Export Control,” aligns perfectly with DTSA’s mission. In my keynote address, I offered some perspectives on long-term global security trends and the need to partner with other countries, especially government-to-government partnerships.

One of the clearest examples of such a partnership is the one between the United States and the Republic of Korea. For more than a decade, we have worked together on technology security, primarily through the Defense Technology Security Consultative Mechanism, and through our recently formed Defense Technology Strategy and Cooperation Group.

This conference and a subsequent formal bilateral meeting with my Korean counterpart, Vice Minister Moon Sung Wook from DAPA, provided us the opportunity to discuss important issues that face us both, and discuss best practices as we enhance our respective export control and technology security postures. Such efforts will continue after the formal dialogue through practitioner engagement between DTSA and DAPA’s Defense Technology Control Bureau personnel.

Complimenting their experience in implementing their domestic Defense Technology Security Act, the Republic of Korea has become a leader in the international arena as well. The United States is extremely thankful to the Republic of Korea for assuming recent Plenary chairmanships for both the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime, two of the key multilateral non-proliferation groups.

Addressing technology security long-term trends through effective partnerships is vital to safety and security. Thanks to our colleagues in Seoul who clearly agree that #defensetech is a shared global responsibility.

Image of group.

The Change Nature of the Space Launch Industry and DTSA’s Role


One of the most unique, but likely unknown responsibilities of DTSA is our space launch monitoring function. DTSA facilitates the U.S. space industry’s competitiveness in the international marketplace by providing responsive monitoring services that support the U.S. space industry’s State Department-approved export requests. Consistent with Public Law, DTSA must monitor technical data and defense services associated with approved launches of U.S. satellites by non-U.S. launch vehicles and other rocket-related programs to prevent the unauthorized transfer of critical U.S. space-related technology. The responsibility of our monitors has grown increasingly complicated over the past few years. The locations where the monitors have to go is quite challenging – remote, austere locations with few amenities, and even safety concerns from foreign military forces, striking workers, and even the occasional unwelcomed pests primarily small frogs!). The space industry is dramatically changing with new launch providers and a significant growth in smaller satellites -- micro satellites and cube-sats (estimate are that over 7000 will be launched in the next few years). There were also several launch failures, which resulted in unpredictable delays and uncertainty about when there will be "return to flight." But DTSA has to be ready – so we must maintain a qualified and readily accessible workforce that can respond quickly to industry’s demands for monitoring services. Recently we combined the monitors from the Space Directorate with our Technology Directorate. This will allow these highly qualified engineers to perform other tasks when there aren’t any monitoring responsibilities, but also allows us to add additional resources if needed. I want to thank Brian Glancy who served as the Director of the Space Directorate over the past two years. With his expert technical knowledge and over 16 years of hands-on experience with every aspect of DTSA’s space launch monitoring program, Brian expertly led the Space Directorate through these challenging times. Brian, enjoy your much deserved retirement after 33 years of dedicated Federal service. As Brian often said, "in God we trust, all others we monitor."

Encouraging STEM through Volunteerism


DTSA fully recognizes the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to our nation’s national security. In this technologically ubiquitous, globally interconnected world, we team with the interagencies every day to safeguard the technology investments our country has made. Part of the Department of Education’s 5-year plan is creating a STEM legacy that encourages youth to explore these career opportunities. DTSA appreciates this perspective and has a workforce full of volunteers who proactively seek opportunities to engage, educate, encourage, and recruit the next generation of scientists and engineers.

There is no shortage of volunteer opportunities and DTSA personnel like Tim Williams, Alethea Duhon, and Linda Smith, to name a few, have found ways to help. Our team does everything from judging projects at science fairs, volunteering to teach Girl Scout troops, and going to schools to teach children how to design science and technology projects. "The fulfillment I get judging these projects is priceless. I’m always amazed at how much they know at such a young age," said Mr. Don Howell who coordinates judging at National Capital Region science fairs. Additionally, as a 23+ year mentor and leader in the STEM community, Mr. Riz Ramakdawala was recently recognized for winning the Secretary of Defense “Spirit of Service” award. This award is given to individuals who display outstanding public servant traits in both work and community environments. Mr. Michael Laychak, DTSA Deputy Director, said, "Riz’s work in the STEM arena, both within the Department of Defense and with children, is something for everyone to emulate. No doubt his efforts will pay huge dividends when his students begin their science and technology careers."

“We love seeing children reach their full potential exploring STEM opportunities. Frankly, they are tomorrow’s DTSA employees,” said Ms. Beth McCormick, DTSA Director. "Any day we can recruit someone for tomorrow is a good day for the United States"

Aero India – Defense Trade in Full Display


I had the opportunity back in February to attend the Aero India in Bangalore, India. While I have been to several other international trade shows, I was impressed by the organization, size, and various platforms at this event. It was readily evident that India is on a good flight path to further modernize its military and solidify its standing as an important member of the international defense industrial base and its supply chain.

I was also proud of the Department of Defense's participation at Aero India. I was joined by other senior leaders from AT&L/International Cooperation, Air Force International Affairs, and the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, and a small contingent of senior civil servants and military officers.

In terms of U.S. provided equipment, there were two F-16s, a P-8, and C-130 from which a combined U.S.-Indian special forces team did daily jumps! Our collective presence sent a strong message to our Indian hosts. In addition, U.S. Defense Industry was well represented. I spoke with both U.S. and Indian industry representatives during the show.

Several key themes emerged:

  • India’s leadership is keen to modernize its military, and as such, India represents one of the few expanding defense markets for U.S. industry.
  • PM Modi’s Make-in-India initiative is designed to fuel India’s indigenous defense manufacturing capabilities and make India more self-reliant. Cooperative programs with foreign manufactures, which include co-production and co-development, are important elements of the Make-in-India initiative.
  • Indian private industry is rapidly emerging as a tour de force amongst defense manufactures and is hungry to do more. There are growing aspirations between Indian and U.S. companies to partner and compete in Indian defense acquisition programs.

In this environment, it will be important for U.S. industry to engage early with DTSA as industry seeks to develop cooperative opportunities with our Indian partners. Early discussions will help to define areas of potential cooperation ultimately leading to more meaningful discussion with Indian Government officials and Indian industry.

This is a very encouraging time for U.S.-India defense relationships. I look forward to working with my Indian colleagues and U.S. security cooperation stakeholders as we move forward together.

The Times They Are a Changin’

With a nod to Bob Dylan, the DTSA Licensing Directorate is seeing significant changes in the number of State Department and Commerce licenses we are reviewing. In 2012, at the height of processing licenses, DTSA reviewed 43,591 State Department licenses and 20,251 Commerce licenses for a total of 63,842 license applications.

DTSA witnessed a decline in overall license numbers and a gradual shift in the ratio of State Department to Commerce Department licenses following the implementation of export control reforms (ECR). Now, we review a greater number of Commerce licenses. In 2016, DTSA reviewed 21,995 State Department licenses and 29,878 Commerce Department licenses for a total of 51,873 license applications.

This decrease of almost 12,000 licenses and shift in regulatory exports are directly attributed to the success of ECR. Exporters are now taking advantage of license exceptions such as Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) afforded to them under Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Exporters can now export license free under a defined set of conditions, many of the less sensitive munitions articles that transitioned from the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to the EAR under ECR.

So, how has all this changin’ affected DTSA licensing? As the number of Commerce licenses outpaced State licenses, and because of their short statutory review requirement, priority is placed on processing Commerce licenses first. Even though State licenses now reflect a lower number of staffed licenses, their license content now represents a much greater level of complexity resulting in greater staffing and more review time. All the “easy” munition licenses now reside on the EAR. Greater complexity coupled with processing a greater number of Commerce licenses, has increased the average time DTSA takes to review a State license.

We continue to look for processing efficiencies as we move forward. Where we once had the luxury of segregating analysts to process strictly a State or Commerce license, all DTSA licensing export control analysts are now undergoing comprehensive training to be fully competent in processing both State and Commerce licenses. This continuity of effort will provide the Licensing Directorate the flexibility necessary to successfully meet future export regulatory changes … because, times they are a changin’.

DTSA’s 2016 Year in Review

2016 was a very busy, productive year for DTSA. Our expanded collaboration within DoD, across the interagency, and cooperative efforts with our valued partners and allies around the world has produced critical, positive results.

On the international front, we hosted bilateral working groups and consultations with Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Ukraine. Under the auspices of the National Disclosure Policy Committee, we hosted a reciprocal security survey with South Africa, and sent survey teams to Brunei, Latvia, and the European Union. Our Space Directorate monitors participated in technical meetings and launch campaigns in Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine.

On the multilateral front, DTSA represented the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Plenary and working-level technical experts meetings of three primary multilateral export control and nonproliferation regimes -- Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement. We worked closely with interagency colleagues and members of the three regimes to update control lists, reinforce best practices on licensing and enforcement activities, and expand outreach to industry and potential new partners. These efforts strengthened the effectiveness of the regimes in preventing countries of national security and proliferation concern from acquiring items and technologies for indigenous weapons programs.

The interagency Export Control Reform (ECR) effort reached critical milestones, notably with 18 of the 21 ITAR categories revised and functioning. Our partnership with State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security on ECR will be a lasting example of a “whole of government” approach.

Our close cooperation across the Department of Defense – the Military Services, Joint Staff, OSD organizations (AT&L, USDI, DSCA and numerous parts of OSD Policy) – has ensured the protection of critical technology for our warfighters, while building the capacity of allies and friends around the globe. In support of that goal, DTSA’s Cooperative Technology Security Program has been approved as the Defense Institution Building effort. We look forward to working with new and emerging international partners in the coming year as they establish institutions, policies and procedures to protect technology, sharing our best practices for analyzing the national security implications of exporting internationally.

DTSA’s resolution for 2017 -- continue working with our partners on #defensetech, #InfoSec, and #Exports.

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Blog Authors


Beth M. McCormick
Director, DTSA

DTSA Director Biography


Michael Laychak
Deputy Director, DTSA

Deputy Director Biography


Colonel Lisa Martinez
Senior Military Assistant


Jesse Crump
TSFDO Director


Ken Oukrop
Director, Licensing Directorate


Jud Rose
Director, Policy Directorate


Tom Devendorf
Director, Technology Directorate


Lou Ann McFadden
Director, Management Directorate


Colonel Mike Zuhlsdorf
Senior Military Assistant