[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 46 (Friday, March 8, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 8486-8487]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-04269]



22 CFR Part 121

[Public Notice 10568; Docket Number DOS-2018-0048]
RIN 1400-AE73

Request for Comments Regarding Review of United States Munitions 
List Categories IV and XV

AGENCY: Department of State.

ACTION: Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.


SUMMARY: As part of its work with the National Space Council, the 
Department of State requests comments from the public to inform its 
review of the controls implemented in recent revisions to Categories IV 
and XV of the United States Munitions List (USML). The Department 
periodically reviews USML categories to ensure that they are clear, do 
not inadvertently control items in normal commercial use, account for 
technological developments, and properly implement the national 
security and foreign policy objectives of the United States.

DATES: The Department will accept comments up to April 22, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: [email protected]. Please include ``USML 
Categories IV and XV'' in the subject line.
     Internet: At www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions 
for sending comments using docket number, DOS-2018-0048.
    Comments submitted through www.regulations.gov will be visible to 
other members of the public; the Department will publish all comments 
on the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls website 
(www.pmddtc.state.gov). Therefore, commenters are cautioned not to 
include proprietary or other sensitive information in their comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Robert Monjay, Office of Defense 
Trade Controls Policy, Department of State, telephone (202) 663-2817; 
email [email protected]. ATTN: Request for Comments Regarding 
Review of USML Categories IV and XV.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: One advantage of revising the USML into a 
more positive list is its controls can be tailored to satisfy the 
national security and foreign policy objectives of the U.S. government 
by maintaining control over those articles that provide a critical 
military or intelligence advantage, or otherwise warrant control under 

[[Page 8487]]

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), without inadvertently 
controlling items in normal commercial use. This approach, however, 
requires that the list be regularly revised and updated to account for 
technological developments, practical application issues identified by 
exporters and reexporters, and changes in the military and commercial 
applications of items affected by the list.

Request for Comments

    Consistent with the objectives in Space Policy Directive-2 (see 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/space-policy-directive-2-streamlining-regulations-commercial-use-space/) the Department is 
requesting public comments on USML Categories IV (Launch Vehicles) and 
XV (Spacecraft). In particular, the Department is requesting comment on 
ways to thoughtfully streamline export control regulations for these 
categories for the benefit of U.S. industry as well as our 
international partners. Streamlining controls could lower 
administrative burden and regulatory compliance costs and present the 
opportunity for increased exports, thus bolstering the U.S. space 
commercial sector and industrial base.
    For reference, Category IV was most recently fully revised on July 
1, 2014 (see 79 FR 34, Jan. 2, 2014). Category XV was most recently 
revised on January 15, 2017 (see 82 FR 2889, Jan. 10, 2017). In order 
for your comments to be most useful, the Department encourages the 
public to provide comments responsive to the prompts described below. 
Please note general comments on other aspects of the ITAR, to include 
other categories of the USML, are outside of the scope of this inquiry. 
In particular, the Department requests comments on the following.
    1. Are there emerging or new technologies that warrant control in 
one of the referenced categories, but which are not currently described 
or not described with sufficient clarity?
    2. Are there specific defense articles described in the referenced 
categories that have entered into normal commercial use since the most 
recent revision of that category? If so, please include documentation 
to support this claim.
    3. Are there defense articles described in the referenced 
categories for which commercial use is proposed, intended, or 
anticipated in the next five years? If so, please provide any 
    4. Are there other technical issues for these categories which the 
Department should address?
    5. The export control system uses the size of space-based optical 
telescopes as the technical parameter differentiating between items 
controlled by the Department of Commerce in Commerce Control List (CCL) 
Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9A515.a.1and by the 
Department of State in USML Category XV(a)(7) and XV(e)(2). This is 
based on physics, and specifically the fact that larger optical 
telescopes generally can generate higher-resolution images than smaller 
ones. NASA tends to use larger optical telescopes for astrophysics 
missions because the celestial bodies these missions observe are many 
light years away, and smaller optical capabilities cannot physically 
meet the relevant science requirements. At the same time, because NASA 
missions are designed and calibrated to observe distant celestial 
objects, they are physically incapable of observing the Earth, which is 
so bright relative to distant objects that NASA's telescopes would 
suffer permanent physical damage if pointed at Earth. Essentially, NASA 
astrophysics missions form a class of spacecraft which meet the 
technical definition for national security-sensitive spacecraft 
regulated by the Department of State, but are incapable of observing 
the Earth.
    In the past, this issue has been addressed by creating separate 
regulatory categories for specific missions. For example, the James 
Webb Space Telescope, NASA's next flagship astrophysics mission, was 
the subject of specific regulatory activity (see, 82 FR 2875 and 2889, 
Jan. 10, 2017) to ensure that it is controlled by the Department of 
Commerce under ECCN 9A004 even though it otherwise meets the control 
text of USML Category XV. However, since it would be impractical to 
issue an updated regulation every time NASA initiates a new 
astrophysics mission, the Department is seeking comments from the 
public on a way to provide technical differentiation within U.S. export 
control regulations between the space-based optical telescopes for 
astrophysics missions and those used for Earth observation.
    6. The control in USML Category XV(a)(7) and XV(e)(2) is based, in 
part, on the size of the clear aperture of the telescope's optics. 
However, not all space-based telescopes use a disc-shaped viewer and 
thus it is not always possible to definitively determine the size of 
the ``clear aperture'' of a specific space-based electro-optical/
infrared (E.O./IR) remote sensing system for the purpose of the 
regulations. Are there suggested revisions that would clarify the scope 
of Categories XV(a)(7) and XV(e)(2), such as a definition of ``clear 
    7. Many spacecraft are designed to provide supplies to the 
International Space Station and other future space stations. This 
activity is commonly referred to as ``servicing'' the space stations, 
which is an activity that can lead to USML control under Category 
XV(a)(12). Are there suggested revisions that would clarify the scope 
of this paragraph, such as a definition of ``servicing''?
    8. NASA continues to pursue development of the future Lunar 
Gateway, which may be described in Category XV(a). Are there any public 
comments regarding the potential control status of the future Lunar 
    9. What are the cost savings to private entities from shifting 
control of a suggested specific item from USML to the CCL? To the 
extent possible, please quantify the current cost of compliance with 
USML control of an item and any cost savings if a particular change was 
implemented. Cost savings could include time saved in terms of 
regulatory uncertainty over whether a certain item is regulated as on 
the USML or the CCL. This reduced uncertainty, under the ``bright 
line'' approach described in the Administration's Export Reform 
Initiative, would allow both State and industry to avoid spending hours 
and resources on case by case determinations for certain items. As much 
as possible, please quantify time saved, reduction in compliance costs, 
and reduction in paperwork for a particular change.
    The Department will review all comments from the public. If a 
rulemaking is warranted based on the comments received, the Department 
will respond to comments received in a proposed rulemaking in the 
Federal Register.

    Dated: March 1, 2019.
Sarah Heidema,
Director, Defense Trade Control Policy Office, U.S. Department of 
[FR Doc. 2019-04269 Filed 3-7-19; 8:45 am]