Export Controls: Vulnerabilities and Inefficiencies Undermine System's Ability to Protect U.S. Interests Page: 4 of 37
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process, and (3) State's and Commerce's lack of assessments on the
effectiveness of their controls. In addition, the appendix contains
summaries of our export control-related reports issued from fiscal year
2000 to date, along with information on the status of the implementation of
our recommendations by the various departments involved in the system.
A list of related products that we have issued since the mid-1990s is also
My statement is based on GAO's extensive body of work on the export
control system, including information from our on-going review of the
arms export control system. We conducted our work in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.
For over a decade, we have reported on weaknesses and challenges that
have created vulnerabilities in the U.S. export control system. Two key
weaknesses relate to the most basic aspects of the system. First, State and
Commerce have yet to clearly determine which department controls the
export of certain sensitive items. Jurisdictional disputes are often rooted
in the departments' differing interpretations of regulations and inadequate
coordination. Second, a lack of clarity on exemption use has limited the
government's ability to ensure that unlicensed exports comply with export
laws and regulations. These weaknesses compound an already challenged
enforcement community, which has difficulty in coordinating
investigations, balancing multiple priorities, and leveraging finite
To help facilitate defense trade, State has sought to reduce the amount of
time it takes to process export license applications. However, streamlining
initiatives have generally not been successful and processing times have
increased in recent years-from a median of 13 days in 2002 to 26 days in
2006. Also, at the end of 2006, State's backlog of applications reached its
highest level of more than 10,000 open cases. While Commerce's license
application processing times have been relatively stable, the overall
efficiency of Commerce's process is unknown, in part due to its limited
assessments. Commerce's assessments are limited to only the first steps in
its application review process and not the review process as a whole.
State and Commerce can provide little assurance about the overall
effectiveness of their respective export control systems. In managing their
systems, neither department has conducted systematic assessments that
would provide a basis for determining what corrective actions may be
needed to ensure they are fulfilling their missions. Without such
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Export Controls: Vulnerabilities and Inefficiencies Undermine System's Ability to Protect U.S. Interests, text, July 26, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295259/m1/4/: accessed February 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.