Technology Release Waivers - Electronic Warfare and Night Vision Devices

United States Navy Laser Weapon System (LaWS)

DTSA conducts reviews for requests to provide technology release waivers for both Electronic Warfare systems and for Night Vision Devices. Electronic Warfare (EW) refers to any military action involving the use of electromagnetic and directed energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum (EM). It can be applied from the air, sea, land and space by manned and unmanned systems. The purpose of EW is to deny an opponent an advantage in the electromagnetic spectrum and ensure U.S. and other partner nation’s unimpeded access to the EM spectrum portion of the information environment.

To help achieve the foreign policy and national security objectives, partner nations may acquire EW systems from the U.S. through Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). However, before EW systems can be used, the National Security Agency (NSA) must certify that they meet current standards for data protection.

For a variety of reasons, some EW systems do not meet NSA's data protection standards. In December 2012, the ATTR SSG approved policy 2012-01, Achieving and Maintaining Current Data Protection Certification of Exported Electronic Warfare Systems that outlines a process to move to a more secure state of data protection. The intent is to support and protect older foreign EW capacities that further national security. The policy's primary guiding principle is that if a certified EW system exists that can be used, it should be used. If a certified EW system is not available for use with a particular piece of equipment or weapons system, a DoD element may sponsor a request for a waiver for the system's operational use.

The Technology Security Foreign Disclosure Office (TSFDO) is responsible for ensuring interagency coordination and approval, or denial, of EW data protection waiver requests. Further details on the ATTR SSG EW policy and the waiver request process are available from the TSFDO should a company or sponsoring agency find that the EW system being procured does not meet NSA information assurance standards.

DTSA is responsible for formulation and management of the Department of Defense Night Vision (NV) Policy. The U.S. warfighter’s night vision advantage has been achieved, in part, by ensuring the protection of technical data and know-how related to the design, development, and production of NV systems, equipment, and components with significant military applicability, along with an assessment of a partner’s willingness and ability to protect such technology.

The combination of policy and DTSA's implementation guidance for man-portable NVDs, provides direction for analysts and decision makers conducting national security reviews of export requests. This improves the effectiveness and efficiency of international transfer decisions, thus facilitating increased partnership capacity, while mitigating technology risks.

DoD’s NV export policy and guidance on transfers of man-portable NV systems cover proposed international transfers via government-to-government channels (e.g. Foreign Military Sales (FMS), international agreements for DoD cooperative research, development, and acquisition programs designed to build partnership capacity and infrastructure), and by DCS export authorization requests forwarded by the Department of State and Commerce for DoD review. This ensures consistent and appropriate implementation of policy, procedures, and practices by the DoD NV export control community.