About Export Control Reform (ECR)


In August 2009, the President directed a broad-based interagency review of the U.S. export control system, with the goal of strengthening national security and the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors by focusing on current threats, as well as adapting to the changing economic and technological landscape. This review determined that the current export control system is overly complicated, contains too many redundancies, and, in trying to protect too much, diminishes our ability to focus our efforts on the most critical national security priorities.

As a result, the Administration launched the Export Control Reform Initiative (ECR Initiative), which will fundamentally reform the U.S. export control system. The ECR Initiative, which is not related to the President’s National Export Initiative, is designed to enhance U.S. national security and strengthen the United States’ ability to counter threats such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Administration is implementing the reform in three phases. Phases I and II reconcile various definitions, regulations, and policies for export controls, all the while building toward Phase III, which will create a single control list, single licensing agency, unified information technology system, and enforcement coordination center. As of August 2015, Phase I is finished and Phase II is nearly complete.

Current Status

Control Lists and Licensing
Eighteen of the twenty-one categories of the United States Munitions List have been revised and published for public comment, fifteen of which have been published as final rules. For the items moved to the Commerce Control List, new licensing policies are in effect that allow for streamlined exports of most items to the ultimate government end-use for 36 U.S. allies and most countries that are members of all four multilateral export control regimes. For more information on the status of the rule review process, please refer to Fact Sheet 3 – Rebuilding the Control Lists or the Control List “Tracker” (PDF) (Accessible Version).

Progress has been made in updating the export enforcement system. On November 9, 2010, the President signed Executive Order 13558, establishing an Export Enforcement Coordination Center (E2C2) among the Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, Energy, and Homeland Security as well as the Intelligence Community. The Department of Homeland Security administers the E2C2 and provides its Director. There are two Deputy Directors, one from the Department of Commerce and one from the Department of Justice. On March 7, 2012, the E2C2 officially opened with the following missions

  • De-conflict criminal and administrative enforcement operations and coordination of industry enforcement outreach activity;
  • Provide a conduit between Federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Intelligence Community;
  • Serve as the primary point of contact between enforcement agencies and export licensing agencies for enforcement and licensing matters;
  • Resolve interagency conflicts not settled in the field; and
  • Establish government-wide statistical tracking capabilities for U.S. export enforcement activities.

Please refer to the E2C2 page or Fact Sheet 5 - Enforcement for additional information on export enforcement.

For additional background information on ECR in general, please visit the ECR Library.

Information Technology
Progress is being made to transition the export licensing agencies to a single secure licensing database administered by the Department of Defense.

Task Force Agencies

Regulatory Links

International Export Control Agreements and Regimes

Wassenaar Arrangement