Maryland Probation Officer Convicted of Export Violations
Emenike Charles Nwankwoala, a 49-year-old resident of Laurel, Maryland, pleaded guilty to charges that he exported shotguns, pistols and ammunition to Nigeria without a license. According to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Nwankwoala had been exporting these items for ten years to Nigeria concealed in shipping containers with automobiles, hospital beds, home furnishings and the like. For at least part of this period, he was employed as a probation officer.
Former U.S. Air Force Officer Charged with Illegal Export Violations
A retired Air Force Colonel, John O’Toole, and an Israeli aeronautics engineer, Chanoch Miller, are the subjects of a recently unsealed indictment in connection with an alleged plan to ship 700 AK-47s to Somalia. What is most interesting about the indictment is that O’Toole is not only charged with illegal exports but also is charged with brokering violations — namely brokering the sale of defense articles to Somalia in violation of the arms embargo against Somalia and brokering the sale of these defense articles without first obtaining a brokering license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.
From the indictment it appears that O’Toole was mostly involved in arranging transportation of the rifles to Sudan, whereas Miller was in charge of procuring and selling the AK-47s. In exchange for O’Toole’s services, Miller was going to pay him a commission. This, of course, if true, appears to fit within the definition of brokering under section 129.2 of the ITAR. In particular, the definition of brokering in section 129.2(b) includes arranging for the transportation of defense articles.
Alliant Technologies (ATK) Wins $52M Contract for 120mm Ammunition
Alliant Techsystems received a $52 million order for 120mm training tank ammunition from the U.S. Army. The award is for the third year of a four-year contract. The 120mm training ammunition, used by the M1A1/A2 Abrams main battle tank, include the M865 kinetic energy and the M1002 multi-purpose anti-tank training rounds. These training rounds closely replicate tactical ammunition in appearance and ballistic performance to provide the warfighter with an affordable, yet realistic training experience.
“High-quality ammunition that is extremely reliable in training situations is essential to the warfighter who must be prepared to react decisively on today’s battlefield,” said Bruce DeWitt, ATK Advanced Weapons Vice President and General Manager. Since 1980, ATK has delivered more than four million rounds of 120mm tactical and training tank ammunition to the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and allied militaries.
National Shooting Sports Foundation to Award $500,000 to shooting Ranges
To help public and private shooting facilities jump start their recruitment and retention efforts, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will be awarding up to $500,000 in grants this year to ranges around the country. This is the third year that NSSF has distributed funding to qualifying ranges through its Range Partnership Grant Program. “These grants will help shooting range managers create new strategies to drive traffic to their facilities and, in turn, benefit the future of our sports,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president. The projects funded by the grants will also serve as pilot programs, which, if successful, can be used by other facilities. Shooting ranges interested in applying for a grant can learn more about NSSF’s Range Partnership Grant Program at http://nssf.org/shooting/grants.
Bills Would Repeal D.C. Guns Laws
U.S. Federal lawmakers have introduced bills in the House and Senate that would repeal most of the local gun laws in Washington, D.C., The Washington Times reports. The bills would eliminate gun-registration requirements in the city and prevent the mayor and the D.C. Council from adopting laws prohibiting gun ownership. It would also bar city officials from enacting laws that would prohibit guns from being carried in public places (whether concealed or openly brandished), that would diminish the authority of the city’s police chief to deny concealed-carry licenses, or that would prohibit city leaders from preventing guns from being taken into city buildings.
Firearm Sales Soar, Crime Falls
Since the surge in U.S. firearm purchases began in October 2008, if one believes the oft-repeated mantra that “most crime guns are rapidly diverted from retailers to the street via straw purchasers,” then there should have been a surge in homicides and other violent crime. There was not. In fact, preliminary figures released by the FBI show that all forms of violent crime were down in 2009 from 2008, with homicides showing the greatest percentage decline (7.2 percent). These declines in crime came during a year when firearm sales were at historic highs.
ATF Posts FFL Best Practices Guide Online
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has posted the revised, as of June 2010, Federal Firearms Licensee Quick Reference and Best Practices Guide online at www.atf.gov/publications.
Glock Donates $100K to Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Glock, Inc. recently made a $100,000 donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF). Over the past five years, Glock has donated $500,000 to SOWF, a non-profit organization providing college educations to the surviving children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel killed in combat or training.
New Details Emerge on Export-Controls Reform
The Obama administration provided further details on its plans for reforming export controls to make the U.S. more competitive while protecting national security. National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones announced that a single export-control licensing agency will be formed to administer U.S. export controls. The new entity will be governed by a board of directors comprised of Cabinet members serving in agencies with jurisdiction over export controls (e.g., State, Commerce, and Defense). The agency will be headed by an individual confirmed by the Senate.
The problems that export reform will face in Congress are based more on politics than on policy. Many Republican congress members can be counted on to vote against anything that comes from the White House. And the Democrats, facing the uphill battle of midterm elections, don’t see any political upside with constituents in supporting a proposal that the constituents don’t understand. Much of the proposed export reform, particularly to the extent that it involves rewriting existing regulations, can be accomplished without having to get permission from Congress.
2010 NDIA Joint Armaments Conference Presentations Online
Copies of presentations provided at the 2010 National Defense Industry Association Exhibition & Firing Demonstration in Dallas, TX can be found at: www.dtic.mil/ndia/2010armament/2010armament.html.
Bureau of Industry and Security Announces New Controls on Execution and Law Enforcement Equipment
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) adopted, with a few minor revisions, a rule that it had proposed in August 2009 imposing new controls on execution equipment, torture devices, law enforcement restraint devices and law enforcement striking weapons.
One of the changes governs the treatment of shock sleeves, stun cuffs, and shock belts. In the final rule, all three devices are classified as ECCN 0A982, which covers law enforcement restraint devices. BIS apparently decided that shock sleeves have some legitimate law enforcement use and therefore should be classified under ECCN 0A982, which under EAR § 742.7, has a licensing policy under which license applications are “generally … considered favorably on a case-by-case basis unless there is civil disorder in the country.” Torture implements under ECCN 0A983, on the other hand, are subject to a general policy of denial under EAR § 742.11.
Proposed DDTC Exemption for Export of Spare Parts
The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) recently posted the reports of three Working Groups for the Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG). DTAG is an industry-advisory group set up by DDTC to consult with the agency on regulatory issues important to the export sector of the defense industry.
The report of Working Group #2 details a proposed new exemption for export of spare parts to foreign government end users of defense articles previously approved for export. Under the current exemption for spare parts, found in section 123.16(b)(2) of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the exemption for spare parts is limited to individual shipments of less than $500 and a maximum of 24 such shipments per year, with a provision that orders cannot be split to avoid exceeding these limits. These shipments can be made to government and non-government end users provided that the parts are for a defense article previously approved for export. Under the proposed exemption, spare parts could be exported by the original exporter and the original government end-user, as long as the parts will not provide an upgrade to the capabilities of the defense article as originally exported. In addition, the parts must be of a type and quantity consistent with normal logistical support. U.S. exporters are reminded to follow currently enacted regulations until any modification or amendment is made official.
Sanctions Against Rosoboronexport Lifted
The Obama administration removed sanctions against Rosoboronexport, a Russian organization accused of assisting Iran’s effort to develop nuclear weapons. When the administration of former U.S. president Bill Clinton announced those sanctions, then-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said the two institutions “directly support Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons.”
The timing of the decisions, published in Friday’s Federal Register but not otherwise announced by the State Department, suggested the possibility of a link to U.S. efforts to win Russian support for a new UN Security Council resolution expanding sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
The effect of the sanctions was unclear, as there were no international agreements barring the Russian firm from selling weapons to Tehran. Nevertheless, the removal of sanctions allows Rosoboronexport to compete on existing and future contracts for Russian MI-17 helicopters being purchased by the United States for use by the Afghan National Army. There are currently over 140 MI-17s helicopters on order for use in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan under the U.S. funding program. Of the total, less than 50 have been delivered. Rosoboronexport has been actively and aggressively marketing the MI-17 internationally; look for them to step in and fill the existing market gap.