Conducting the ITAR Order of Review for Jurisdiction & Classification Analysis: A Guide by Defense Trade Solutions

In the highly regulated defense and aerospace sectors, ensuring compliance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is essential. One of the fundamental aspects of ITAR compliance is determining whether an item or service falls under ITAR jurisdiction and correctly classifying it if it does. This process, known as the ITAR Order of Review for Jurisdiction and Classification Analysis, can be complex and requires meticulous attention to detail. At Defense Trade Solutions, we aim to simplify this process by providing a clear, step-by-step guide.

Understanding the ITAR Order of Review

The ITAR Order of Review is a structured methodology used to determine whether an item or service is subject to ITAR and, if so, to classify it under the United States Munitions List (USML). This analysis is critical for ensuring compliance with export control regulations and avoiding severe penalties for non-compliance.

Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting the ITAR Order of Review

  1. Identify the Item or Service

Description and Functionality: Start by thoroughly describing the item or service, including its functionality, components, and intended use. This information is crucial for accurate classification.

Technical Data: Gather all relevant technical data, drawings, specifications, and any other supporting documentation that can provide insight into the item’s capabilities and features.

  • Determine the Jurisdiction

Is the Item Specially Designed?: Evaluate whether the item is “specially designed” for a military application or if it has been modified for military use. This determination is critical for establishing ITAR jurisdiction.

Check the USML: Review the United States Munitions List (USML) to see if the item is specifically enumerated. The USML categorizes defense articles into 21 categories, ranging from firearms to spacecraft systems.

  • Review the Commerce Control List (CCL)

Dual-Use Items: If the item is not listed on the USML, check the Commerce Control List (CCL) under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to determine if it is a dual-use item. Dual-use items have both civilian and military applications and are controlled by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

Order of Review: The ITAR Order of Review prioritizes ITAR over EAR. Therefore, if an item is listed on the USML, it falls under ITAR. If not, it may fall under EAR jurisdiction.

  • Apply the Specially Designed Criteria

Specially Designed Definition: ITAR and EAR both provide criteria for determining whether an item is specially designed. Apply these criteria to assess if the item meets the definition, impacting its classification.

Decision Tree: Utilize the specially designed decision tree provided by the DDTC to systematically evaluate the item against the criteria. This tool helps in making a clear determination.

  • Classify the Item Under the USML

USML Categories: If the item is determined to be under ITAR jurisdiction, classify it according to the appropriate category on the USML. Each category has detailed descriptions and subcategories that aid in accurate classification.

Technical Data Classification: If the item is technical data or a defense service, classify it under the relevant USML category. Technical data includes blueprints, drawings, and other information related to defense articles.

  • Document the Analysis

Comprehensive Documentation: Maintain detailed records of the analysis process, including the rationale for jurisdiction and classification decisions. This documentation is essential for compliance audits and regulatory reviews.

Internal Review: Have the analysis reviewed by multiple stakeholders within your organization, including compliance experts, to ensure accuracy and completeness.

  • Seek Advisory Opinions if Needed

DDTC Advisory Opinion: If there is uncertainty about the classification, consider seeking an advisory opinion from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). This formal request can provide clarity and mitigate compliance risks.

Engage Experts: Consult with external experts specializing in ITAR compliance to assist with complex classification issues.

Best Practices for ITAR Order of Review

  1. Regular Training: Ensure that employees involved in the classification process receive regular training on ITAR regulations and the order of review. Staying updated with regulatory changes is crucial for maintaining compliance.
  2. Utilize Automated Tools: Consider using automated classification tools and software to streamline the review process. These tools can help reduce human error and increase efficiency.
  3. Internal Audits: Conduct periodic internal audits of your classification processes to identify and rectify any discrepancies. Regular audits help maintain the integrity of your compliance program.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of updates to the USML, CCL, and relevant regulatory changes. Subscribe to industry newsletters, attend seminars, and participate in compliance forums.


Conducting the ITAR Order of Review for Jurisdiction and Classification Analysis is a critical component of ITAR compliance. By following a structured methodology and implementing best practices, companies can ensure accurate classification, mitigate compliance risks, and avoid severe penalties.

At Defense Trade Solutions, we are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of ITAR compliance. Our team of experts is here to provide guidance, training, and support to ensure your organization remains compliant with all export control regulations. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in your ITAR compliance efforts.