President Obama Establishes Export Enforcement Coordination Center

December 21, 2010

On November 9, 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order 13558, establishing an interagency Export Enforcement Coordination Center (“EECC”) within the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).  The Executive Order has been viewed by some as the first concrete step towards reform of the United States’ export control system, which has been a top priority for the Obama Administration.  Related reform proposals have largely centered on consolidation and unification of export controls (e.g., a single licensing agency, a single export control list, a single agency to coordinate enforcement, and a unified IT infrastructure).  The establishing of the EECC, which places overall coordination of export control enforcement within DHS, can be viewed as a step towards consolidation of export enforcement.  However, the coordination functions of the EECC should also be recognized as an effort to enhance the United States’ current multi-agency export control system independent of proposed export reforms.

Executive Order 13558 recognizes that “[e]xport controls are critical to achieving our national security and foreign policy goals,” and that “[t]o enhance our enforcement efforts and minimize enforcement conflicts, executive departments and agencies must coordinate their efforts to detect, prevent, disrupt, investigate, and prosecute violations of U.S. export control laws, and must share intelligence and law enforcement information related to these efforts to the maximum extent possible, consistent with national security and applicable law.”

The EECC’s mission is to coordinate matters relating to export enforcement among the various departments, agencies, or offices of the United States Government.  Its functions are to:

  • serve as the primary forum within the federal government for executive departments and agencies to coordinate and enhance their export control enforcement efforts and identify and resolve conflicts that have not been otherwise resolved in criminal and administrative investigations and actions involving violations of U.S. export control laws;
  • serve as a conduit between federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. intelligence community for the exchange of information related to potential U.S. export control violations;
  • serve as a primary point of contact between enforcement authorities and agencies engaged in export licensing;
  • coordinate law enforcement public outreach activities related to U.S. export controls; and
  • establish government-wide statistical tracking capabilities for U.S. criminal and administrative export control enforcement activities, to be conducted by DHS with information provided by and shared with all relevant departments and agencies participating in the EECC.

It remains to be seen whether the EECC will have any significant impact on exporters, but effective coordination of export enforcement should be expected to enhance the ability of the U.S. Government to enforce U.S. export controls regardless of the success of ongoing export control reform efforts.  As such, it should be recognized as yet another indication that enforcement of export control laws remains an increasing priority for the U.S. Government.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s lawyers are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding these issues.  For further information please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you work or any of the following lawyers in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office:

Judith A. Lee (202-887-3591, [email protected])
Daniel J. Plaine (202-955-8286, [email protected])
John J. Sullivan (202-955-8565, [email protected])
Jim Slear (202-955-8578, [email protected])

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