Importing Defense Articles and Military Items

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) controls the export and import of defense articles and defense services to and from the United States.  Under the AECA several different federal agencies regulate various aspects of international defense trade.

Depending on the nature of your import, either the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) or the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will be the regulatory authority:

  • The DDTC regulates the temporary import (and subsequent export) of defense articles.
  • The ATF regulates the permanent import of defense articles.

The protocols for each agency differ in terms of which specific items are controlled and what type of license, permit, or permission is needed to clear the item through US customs.  If you intend to import an item that has a known military application contact for assistance.