ATTR SSG Senior Decision Reviews

Department of Defense headquarters building

A Priority Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure (TSFD) Review (PTR) is an offer for cooperation, sale or other transfer that is deemed by a DoD component or Arms Transfer Technology Release Senior Steering Group (ATTR SSG) member to have real, or high potential, for senior leader (e.g., Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary or 4-Star) direction, interest, and/or involvement as a result of an emergent opportunity to build the capacity of an ally and/or partner nation. In many cases, the authority to review and approve PTR decisions has been delegated to or through Principal Staff Assistants (PSAs), which include the Undersecretaries of Defense, the Assistant Secretaries of Defense, and the OSD Directors or equivalents who report directly to the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of Defense. PTRs may be sought by any DoD Component including, but not limited to, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) staff, Military Departments, Defense Agencies, Joint Staff, and Combatant Commands (via the Joint Staff). The ATTR SSG’s Executive Secretariat, the Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure Office (TSFDO) is responsible for both ensuring PTRs are ushered through the various review processes, according to relevant DoD TSFD authorities, and keeping the ATTR SSG members apprised of adjudication and ultimate disposition of PTRs.

The two primary technology-specific processes through which PTRs are reviewed, and for which DTSA has a responsibility, are the Low-Observable/Counter-Low-Observable (LO/CLO) and Night Vision Device release authorities.  As dictated by DoD Instruction S-5230.28, the DoD Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L)-led LO/CLO review process serves to adjudicate requests and/or proposals to export/transfer stealth (LO) and counter-stealth (CLO) technologies, capabilities, and information to foreign governments and international organizations. For the approximately 700 cases submitted for review each year, there are three levels of review. The first level review is conducted at the O-6/GS-15 level and it is at this level that the majority of reviews (~600) are resolved. The second level of review is conducted by what is known as the Tri-Service Committee (TSC) which is comprised of representatives of the Air Force, Army and Navy at the two-star General Officer (GO)/Senior Executive Service (SES) level. Approximately 90 reviews are conducted by the TSC each year. Approximately 30 reviews are conducted annually by the ultimate level of review - the Executive Committee (ExCom) - because the reviews represent a release of a LO/CLO technology that is precedent setting in nature.

The decision documents that come out of any of the aforementioned LO/CLO reviews all include provisos that Anti-Tamper (AT) plans be developed and implemented prior to any transfer of LO/CLO technologies. This crucial attribute is intended to prevent and/or delay exploitation of critical technologies in U.S. weapons systems.