The following press release has been received from 16th district Congressman Don Manzullo:
(WASHINGTON) The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation co-authored by Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) that would modernize the federal government’s inefficient export control policy by strengthening national security and helping American companies sell more defense-related goods and services overseas to our allies.
Sponsored by Manzullo and Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Defense Trade Controls Performance Improvement Act of 2007 (H.R. 4246), as amended, became Subtitle A of Title I of the Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Reform Act of 2008 (H.R. 5916), a broader international security assistance bill approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee last month. Manzullo is also an original co sponsor of H.R. 5916.
Title I of H.R. 5916 directs the State Department to hire more staff, reducing the massive backlog of license applications that impedes legitimate trade with our allies and bolstering national security. Today, the State Department has only 42 licensing officers. By 2010, this legislation requires adequate staff and resources at the State Department to review and process defense trade licenses in a timely manner.
“This legislation streamlines the process, reduces the application backlog, and allows greater scrutiny on sensitive exports that could harm our country,” Manzullo said. “I strongly encourage the Senate to pass this bill as soon as possible so the President can sign it into law quickly. It would better protect our nation while helping U.S. companies sell more goods and services to our allies, creating more jobs for Americans.”
The Defense Trade Controls Performance Improvement Act of 2008 (Title I of H.R. 5916) remedies many of the deficiencies in the licensing of defense trade by:
- Directing the Secretary of State to review the U.S. export control system within 18 months and offer recommendations to strengthen controls, improve efficiency, and reduce redundancies across federal agencies;
- Requiring the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) to have at least 1 licensing officer for every 1,250 applications by Fiscal Year 2010 to prevent future backlogs;
- Requiring the DDTC to assign no less than 3 individuals by Fiscal Year 2009 to review applications for commodity jurisdiction determinations;
- Creating a performance goal of no longer than 60 days to process a defense trade license;
- Creating a performance goal of no longer than 30 days to process a defense trade license for close allies;
- Establishing a 7 day processing time for defense trade licenses from our close allies in support of combat operations or peacekeeping or humanitarian operations with U.S. Armed Forces;
- Increasing the transparency of commodity jurisdiction determinations with publication of those decisions on the Internet;
- Creating a special licensing authorization for U.S. manufactured spare and replacement parts or components in connection with defense items previously lawfully exported to our close allies;
- Requiring a report within 90 days on possible means for DDTC to achieve 100 percent self-financing;
- Increasing the representation and augmenting the input of the Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG) into the State Department’s defense trade agenda;
- Adding South Korea and Israel to the list of NATO+3 countries receiving expedited consideration for the export of U.S. defense items.