DTSA Leadership Blog

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.

Export Control Reform – Reflecting on Success

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A recent event afforded a chance to reflect and celebrate the significant accomplishments of the Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative. Well wishes and congratulations were offered from some of the key architects of this Obama Administrative effort.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the main catalyst of ECR, noted “that this effort was good for our national security as well as helpful for expediting the export of defense articles to our friends and allies.”

Former Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher noted “the successful collaboration with the Administration, Congress, non-governmental organizations, and private industry should be a model for future reform initiatives.”

I believe the real secret to success was the expertise of the export control professionals across the interagency – State, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Treasury, Justice and the Intelligence Community – working collaboratively on a common goal of modernizing our export control system while maintaining our national security.

From my DoD perspective, I want to recognize the significant and lasting contributions of a few: Former Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) Jim Miller, Former DTSA Director Jim Hursch, Former DTSA Deputy Directors Tony Aldwell and Tim Hoffman. Also special thanks to numerous DTSA employees who provided their technical and regulatory expertise.

Lastly, a very special “shout out” to Mike Laychak, DTSA Deputy Director, who from the very beginning served ably as the DoD representative to the interagency ECR task force. Mike was the driving force behind the dramatic changes in the U.S. Munitions List and ensuring USXPORTS is the single licensing information system.

To everyone involved in ECR, a heartfelt “well done.”

Multilateral Nonproliferation Regimes

U.S. export controls are often criticized for being stagnant and creating a disadvantage for American exporters. DTSA leaders and employees frequently field the question: “Why can’t the control lists be more exporter-friendly and updated more frequently”? The answer to this issue is complex, and not entirely within U.S. Government’s control.

Most of the items listed on the U.S. Commerce Control List are a result of our commitment to various multilateral nonproliferation regimes. The four major regimes are: the Australia Group (deals with chemicals and biological agents); the Missile Technology Control Regime (deals with---obviously enough—missiles), the Nuclear Suppliers Group (no explanation necessary), and the Wassenaar Arrangement (deals with conventional arms and dual-use goods). DTSA is the DoD’s office of primary responsibility for the MTCR, the NSG, and the WA. DTSA also provides substantive expertise for the AG.

Each of the regimes has its own rules and meets on its own schedule, at least annually, to, among other things, consider revisions to its own list of controlled goods. Typically, changes negotiated at the “expert” level must be approved at the policy level before they are deemed formally “agreed.” While the process is by necessity deliberate, the regime members are able to agree on important changes each year. In the WA, for example, this year participating states are poised to agree to 52 substantive changes: a mix of new controls, decontrols, and clarifications.

These multilaterally “agreed” changes are then implemented by the regimes’ member countries based on national legislation and practice. In the United States, the Department of Commerce promulgates regulatory changes to the Export Administration Regulations. This ensures all regime partners have uniform and consistent controls on sensitive technologies and advanced weapons. The result: up-to-date reasonable controls implemented by responsible governments; risks of proliferation are mitigated, without stifling international trade.

Israel’s Defense Export Control Agency Celebrates 10 Years


Last month, I attended the annual Export Control Conference hosted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Defense Export Control Agency, and congratulate the Government of Israel on DECA’s 10th anniversary.

DECA is evidence of Israel’s continued commitment to protecting sensitive technology and a foundational component of the U.S.-Israeli partnership in preventing proliferation or diversion of critical technology. Since the establishment of DECA in July 2006, and the Defense Export Controls Act’s entry into force the following year, DTSA has worked closely with DECA as it has established itself as the Component Authority for Export Control on behalf of the Director General of the Ministry of Defense.

Conference attendees heard remarks from Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, Director General Udi Adam, and Eric Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of the Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce. Also in attendance were the key individuals who have led DECA over the years – notably Eli Pincu, Meir Shalit, and Dubi Lavi.

It was announced that Rachel Chen will replace Dubi as DECA Director, as Dubi moves to the Ministry of Defense Mission in New York City later this year. Congratulations to Rachel as she assumes this important leadership position, bringing with her a wealth of experience in acquisition and program management, and building on her one year tenure as DECA Deputy Director.

I am proud to have been a part of those early days of DECA’s establishment, and a pleased to continuing work with the DECA and the Israeli Ministry of Defense as true partners in technology security.



A couple weeks ago, I participated in COMDEF 2016 at the National Press Club in Washington DC, speaking on the Export Reform Panel. It’s amazing to think of the progress we’ve made since former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates proposed a major overhaul of the U.S. export control system. Having revised 18 of the 21 USML categories, we have succeeded in meeting Secretary Gates’ goal of fixing the delays our Allies face in procuring U.S. defense systems. While still a work in progress, Export Control Reform has been a tremendous success in not only strengthening our U.S. national security but also helping to build partnership capacity and joint interoperability with our allies and partners. DTSA continues to team with our colleagues from The Departments of State and Commerce to identify technologies and systems that require robust review and provide unique military or intelligence capabilities. We consider technology security and export controls as part of a broader nonproliferation strategy among allies and partners. It is a global responsibility and through forums such as the Cooperative Technology Security Program (CTSP), DTSA continues to work closely with our allies in implementing necessary controls to keep critical technology out of the hands of our enemies. As Secretary Gates envisioned several years ago, the U.S. Government is prepared to share more technologies with our international partners; assuming the proper processes, practices, and safeguards are in place to protect these shared critical defense technologies.

DTSA Total Force


Most people who interact with DTSA know that we are a “total force” organization, with a highly effective mix of DoD civilians, active duty military members, and contractors. What folks may not know is that we have forty-some members of the Navy and Air Force reserve, who are fully integrated into our work force.

Most of our dedicated reservists are assigned to Naval Reserve Unit Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) 0166. We also have a smaller group of Air Force Reserve Individual Mobilization Augmentees, serving in a detachment to DTSA.

These seasoned veterans (many have more than two decades of service) bring tons of experience, both military and civilian, to the table. When in uniform, these talented men and women serve as intelligence professionals. In their civilian jobs, they work in a diverse range of professions, and some for organizations other than DoD. Many have strong technical degrees and backgrounds, which make them a great complement to DTSA’s Technology Directorate filled with highly skilled scientists and engineers.

Building upon their military and civilian expertise, our reservists make critical contributions to our mission by performing in-depth evaluation of end-users, developing insightful strategic studies, and providing incredible analytical depth to our organization.

In a time when our main workforce is under pressure to “do more with less,” our Navy and Air Force reservists are truly a force multiplier and well respected members of DTSA’s Total Force.

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Mrs. Beth McCormick, Director, DTSA presents retiring Navy Captain with retirement award and DTSA coin, recognizing his 30 years of service. Mrs. Beth McCormick, Director, DTSA presents retiring Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with retirement award and DTSA coin, recognizing her more than 20 years of service.

Defense Technology Protection – A Global Responsibility


I recently attended the 3rd International Defense Technology Security Conference in Seoul, Korea, hosted by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration. In my keynote address, I shared perspectives on technology security as a cooperative effort and a global responsibility.

This event and a subsequent formal bilateral meeting with my Korean counterpart, Vice Minister Moon Sung Wook from DAPA, provided me the opportunity to commend the ROK government for serving as a role model in multilateral non-proliferation and export control. The ROK Government hosted the plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in mid-June. They will host the plenary meeting of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) later this fall.

The NSG and MTCR, in addition to the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group, form the foundation of our bilateral and multilateral work with allies and partners in preventing the proliferation of sensitive technology and weapons to end-users of concern, including terrorists and terrorist-supporting states. Korea’s support to the regimes is particularly important to DTSA since we represent the U.S. Department of Defense in NSG, MTCR and Wassenaar.

Another important milestone occurred while I was in Seoul – the entry into force of the ROK’s Defense Technology Security Act on June 30, 2016. This legislation is further evidence of Korea’s commitment to protecting critical military technology.

During the conference, several ROK officials highlighted the Act, and the ongoing implementation efforts; they encouraged stakeholders from the private sector, think tanks, academia and non-governmental organizations to provide their support.

My trip reinforced that #defensetech is a shared responsibility, both nationally and globally.

Mentoring Future Women Executives


I’ve had the great opportunity since last fall to participate in the Executive Women in Government Mentoring Program. This program is designed to improve and increase women’s relevance, impact, opportunities, and recognition in the federal government.

What is extra interesting and rewarding about this program is the wonderful diversity of mentors and protégés – different agencies, different experiences, and varied future goals.

The group training and development sessions have focused on mock interviews and assistance in developing goals and activities the protégés can use to get to the next level in their careers. Mentors and protégés benefitted from the wonderful support from Kathy Wentworth Drahosz and her team at The Training Connection.

My protégé Nichole is a dynamic, smart and capable woman who works at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We had an immediate connection, building upon my 7 years of service at NASA. But we found that we had much more in common.

We have talked through managing a transition between various levels of responsibilities, and leading at various levels within an organization or agency. Working together, Nichole has started writing those demanding SES Executive Core Qualifications. That way she will have them ready when that ideal SES job opportunity comes along. We have shared lunch together, laughed together, and talked about the next steps in our professional and personal lives.

As I approach 33 years of Federal Service, this mentoring experience has helped me to reevaluate and reinvigorate my own career.

The Intersection between Offsets and Technology Security

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Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Defense Industry Offset Association (DIOA) conference held in Park City, Utah. The theme for this conference was “Partnering to Create Best-Value Offset Programs.”

As the Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure (TSFD) Director, I was eager to participate. DIOA provides a great platform to discuss technology releasability issues in today’s complex global marketplace. Additionally, the conference provides an excellent opportunity to hear industry’s perspective of the challenges they face competing internationally.

One over-arching theme I heard in many of the presentations was the expanding requirements countries are levying for technology transfer and co-production. As industry strives to meet these offset requirements, DTSA’s role in reviewing export licenses in support of these offset offers becomes even more important. We want our industry to be competitive globally, yet it is imperative we maintain our technical edge.

I participated in a dynamic panel discussion with colleagues from the U.S. Air Force and industry entitled, “Partnering with the United States Government.” We stressed the need to work together to ensure offset proposals are not out of synch with Defense Department technology security policies. If that was to happen, it could result in unhappy customers (i.e. - allies, mission partners, etc.) and create the impression that the U.S. Government and U.S. industry are unreliable partners.

I left the conference knowing our dialogue furthered our partnerships between Government and industry. The DIOA conference proved that the intersection between offsets and technology security is exceedingly important in today’s international arena.

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DTSA Director Beth M. McCormick

Beth M. McCormick

Director, Defense Technology Security Administration

DTSA Director Biography

Mike Laychak, DTSA Deputy Director

Michael Laychak

Deputy Director, Defense Technology Security Administration

DTSA Deputy Director Biography

Colonel Mike Zuhlsdorf, Senior Military Assistant

Colonel Mike Zuhlsdorf

Senior Military Assistant

Tom Devendorf, Director, Technology Directorate

Tom Devendorf

Director, Technology Directorate

Jud Rose, Director, Policy Directorate

Jud Rose

Director, Policy Directorate

Ken Oukrop, Director, Licensing Directorate

Ken Oukrop

Director, Licensing Directorate

Lou Ann McFadden, Director, Management Directorate

Lou Ann McFadden

Director, Management Directorate

Jesse Crump, Director, Technology Security & Foreign Disclosure Office

Jesse Crump

Director, Technology Security & Foreign Disclosure Office