Common Misconceptions


The following misconceptions about export controls can lead to compliance problems if proper export procedures are not followed. Think about them. And if any of these apply to you and your work activities, check with your supervisor or NPS’s ECWG.

  • I don’t have an export situation because the type of information I will be communicating has already been openly published in national journals for many years.
    As the research moves into development and is considered for licensing or patents, export controls could apply.


  • If we don’t export NPS documents directly to foreign countries, we don’t need to worry about export controls.
    If you have indicated an unlimited (i.e., uncontrolled) distribution for your document, you have implicitly released the technology to all countries.


  • I don’t have an export problem because my publications in this field have not been restricted in the past.
    While fundamentally true, you should have a clear understanding of the sponsor’s intent as applied to licensing of key technologies to private industry.


  • The Department of Defense or my government-tasking agency will handle all export problems for me.
    The Department of Defense in coordination with the Department of State determines what technologies are in the Military Critical Technologies List or MCTL. However, as any new technology emerges, NPS should conduct reviews on behalf of the DOD and other agencies to ensure consistency and timely approval.


  • Unclassified information cannot be sensitive from a national security standpoint.
    The enormous growth in activities with federal, state, and local homeland security issues clearly contradicts the notion of a blanket release of unclassified information without concern for national security. More importantly, many unclassified controls (e.g., export controls) are applied when economic competitiveness is the principal concern.


  • My technical data isn’t sensitive, critical, emerging, or advanced, so export control is not an issue.
    Even if your work clearly fits all these criteria, the tools you use to acquire the data could be controlled in regard to foreign national participation. In short, you are the principal mechanism for ensuring that export controls are considered and appropriate reviews are obtained when foreign nationals are included in the work force assigned to your effort.


  • All of my contacts are with companies in the US, and I only ship to US addresses, so I do not have to worry about export control.
    The Department of Commerce has a Denied Parties List of individuals and corporations, some of which are in the US or are US citizens who may not receive controlled technologies, software, or commodities. However, as long as your interactions are processed through NPS procedures, this will be checked for you.