Commonly Used Terms

Definitions and Commonly Used Terms

Commerce Control List 

A list of “dual use” items, materials, software, and technology, subject to export regulation, maintained by the Department of Commerce. Dual use means the item may be used both in military and other strategic uses (e.g., nuclear) and in commercial applications.

Deemed Export 

Exporting without crossing borders. A transfer of a controlled item or information is "deemed" to be an export to the home country or countries of the foreign national.

Defense Article 

Any item or technical data designated by the Department of State in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Defense Service 

Furnishing technical data or assistance (including training) to foreign persons (i.e., foreign nationals), whether in the United States or abroad in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing, or use of Defense Articles; or, military training of foreign units and forces.

EAR - Export Administration Regulations 

Found at 15 CFR part 774. Issued by the U.S .Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) addressing export control of commercial and dual use technologies.


A government-mandated sanction that restricts trade with a foreign county; a government prohibition against the shipment of certain products to a particular country for economic or political reasons.

Export Controls 

Federal laws and regulations that restrict the flow of certain materials, devices, and technical information related to such materials and devices outside the United States or to foreign persons in the United States.

Foreign National - Foreign Person - Foreign Entity 

A person in the United States in non-immigrant status

  • Visa holders, for example, H-1B, H-3, L-1, J-1, F-1, O-1
  • A person unlawfully in the United States
  • A U.S. Permanent Resident (green card holder) is NOT considered to be a foreign national

A business or other entity not incorporated in the United States or a foreign government

Individuals (including U.S. citizens) who represent a foreign entity

Fundamental Research 

Basic and applied research in science and engineering at accredited institutions of higher learning in the United States where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community, as distinguished from research the results of which are restricted for proprietary reasons or specific U.S. government access and dissemination controls. The products of fundamental research are not subject to export license requirements or other government approval.

ITAR - International Traffic in Arms Regulations 

Found at 22 CFR part 121. Issued by the Department of State, which has responsibility for the control of the permanent and temporary export and temporary import of defense articles and services (military- and space-related technologies).

OFAC - Office of Foreign Assets Control  

Part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


Coercive measures, such as boycotts and trade embargoes, taken by one or more nations against another guilty of violating international law.

Sanctioned Country 

Countries designated by OFAC as having limited or comprehensive trade sanctions imposed by the United States for reasons of anti-terrorism, nonproliferation, narcotics trafficking, or other reasons.

Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) and Blocked Persons List 

A list of individuals and entities, maintained by OFAC, identified as terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This list has more than 13,000 entries.

Select Agent 

Select agents and toxins are high-consequence agents that pose a severe threat to public health and safety as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are controlled under the EAR.

Technical Data 

Information required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance, or modification of defense articles. This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions, or documentation. Technical data includes classified information relating to defense articles and defense services, and some software may be considered technical data. This definition does not include educational materials and does not include basic marketing information on function or purpose or general system descriptions of defense articles.