Although there are several different export control regulations and administering agencies, the principal government agencies for implementation and enforcement of export control regulations are the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and Treasury.
U.S. Department of State
The Department of State, through its Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), administers the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (22 CFR §§120 - 130). The ITAR governs the provision of defense services and the export of defense articles that are inherently military in character, or specially designed for military applications and enumerated on the U.S. Munitions List (USML).
U.S. Department of Commerce
The Department of Commerce, through its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), administers the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR §§730 - 774). The EAR governs the export or transfer of “dual use” items, that is, items that have both military and commercial/civilian application (e.g., acoustic systems, lasers, and magnetometers). In effect, unless subject to another agency’s jurisdiction (e.g., ITAR controlled) any item made in the U.S. and/or containing U.S. origin technology or software is subject to regulation under the EAR.
U.S. Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury, through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), is responsible for enforcing U.S. embargoes and sanctions programs (31 CFR §§500 - 599). These programs regulate the transfer of items and/or services of value to embargoed nations; they impose trade and travel embargoes aimed at controlling terrorism, drug trafficking and other illicit activities; and they prohibit payments to nationals of sanctioned countries as well as some specific entities and individuals. Even activities allowed under the EAR or ITAR can be subject to strict licensing requirements if undertaken with sanctioned and/or embargoed countries and, in many cases, it is understood that licenses that are applied for are subject to a government policy of denial.