Export Control Classification

Identifying which regulatory body governs a particular item, software, technology, or information has a profound impact on both the exporter and Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Nearly all items, software, technology, and information in the U.S. has been designated a particular identification number that is located on either the U.S. Munitions List (USML) or the Commerce Control List (CCL). These lists are regulated and maintained under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The identification number provided under the USML or the CCL allows an exporter to determine the existence and extent of any export restrictions for that item, software, technology, or information. It is recommended that the exporter obtain the proper classification from the original source itself, whether it is from a manufacturer, vendor, or developer. However, not all manufacturers, vendors, or developers publish their self-classified USML or CCL identification number leaving the responsibility of classification to the exporter.

Classifying under the ITAR’s U.S. Munitions List (USML)

The classification process should always begin with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) as it takes precedence over the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Many items, software, technology, and information may appear to fall under EAR when, in fact, they are governed by the ITAR as the item has been “specially designed” for military applications as defined in 22 CFR 120.41.

The general approach to classifying under the ITAR begins with the characteristics of the item, software, technology, or information. The characteristics will assist in determining the correct USML category, of which there are twenty-one. Once the category has been identified, the next step is to match the characteristics of the item, software, technology, or information with its function to determine the applicable sub-category. If the item, software, technology, or information does not align with any of the USML categories, the item will need to be reviewed under EAR.

22 CFR 121 – The United States Munitions List

Categories of ITAR's U.S. Munitions List

  • Category I: Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns
  • Category II: Guns and Armament
  • Category III: Ammunition/Ordnance
  • Category IV: Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs and Mines
  • Category V: Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants, Incendiary Agents and Their Constituents
  • Category VI: Surface Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment
  • Category VII: Ground Vehicles
  • Category VIII: Aircraft and Related Articles
  • Category IX: Military Training Equipment and Training
  • Category X: Personal Protective Equipment
  • Category XI: Military Electronics
  • Category XII: Fire Control, Laser, Imaging, and Guidance Equipment
  • Category XIII: Materials and Miscellaneous Articles
  • Category XIV: Toxicological Agents, Including Chemical Agents, Biological Agents, and Associated Equipment
  • Category XV: Spacecraft and Related Articles
  • Category XVI: Nuclear Weapons Related Articles
  • Category XVII: Classified Articles, Technical Data and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated
  • Category XVIII: Directed Energy Weapons
  • Category XIX: Gas Turbine Engines and Associated Equipment
  • Category XX: Submersible Vessels and Related Articles
  • Category XIX: Articles, Technical Data, and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated

Classifying under the EAR’s Commerce Control List (CCL)

The EAR’s Commerce Control List assists with identifying and classifying “dual-use” items, software, technologies, and information. “Dual-use” refers to items, software, technologies, and information that may have both a civilian and military application. The analysis of the item under EAR will follow the same procedures as it did under the ITAR, however the CCL is comprised of ten categories compared to the USML’s twenty-one. If, even after the after the attempt to self-classify by either the Principal Investigator or the Export Control Officer, it is unclear whether an item falls under the ITAR or EAR, a commodity classification request should be submitted to the appropriate regulating authority.

15 CFR 774 – The Commerce Control List

Categories of EAR’s Commerce Control List

  • Category 0: Nuclear Materials, Facilities, and Equipment (and Miscellaneous Items)
  • Category 1: Special Materials and Related Equipment, Chemicals, "Microorganisms," and "Toxins"
  • Category 2: Materials Processing
  • Category 3: Electronics
  • Category 4: Computers
  • Category 5: Telecommunications and "Information Security"
  • Category 6: Sensors and Lasers
  • Category 7: Navigation and Avionics
  • Category 8: Marine
  • Category 9: Aerospace and Propulsion

Subcategories of the Commerce Control List’s Categories 0-9

  • A: "End Items", "Equipment", "Accessories", "Attachments", "Parts", "Components" and "Systems"
  • B: "Test", "Inspection", and "Production Equipment"
  • C: "Materials"
  • D: "Software"
  • E: "Technology"

Export Control Decision Tree

The following material is adapted from the content of Stanford University's Decision Tree. The pages will walk you through a series of “Yes” or “No” questions, leading to a determination of whether or not an export control license may be applicable to your circumstance. Florida Atlantic University appreciates Stanford University in granting us permission to use its content for the benefit of Florida Atlantic University.

NOTE: Determining the correct classification of an item, software, technology, or information can be challenging as it requires an understanding of export control regulations in addition to the technical knowledge of the item. If there is any doubt in the attempt to self-classify the item, the Principal Investigator should contact FAU’s Export Control Officer for assistance. For more information regarding the ITAR’s USML and the EAR’s CCL, please visit the “Federal Regulations” page.