D-Trade Comes "On Line"
Electronic License Submissions Introduced:
Since January 15, 2004, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), through the use of the D-Trade electronic licensing system, has been able
to receive and adjudicate fully electronic defense export authorization requests properly submitted by any U.S. person who is a defense trade
registrant and wishes to permanently export unclassified defense articles via the Form DSP-5. Based on envisioned expansion of electronic
processing capabilities, DDTC anticipates, with few exceptions, all export licensing submissions via D-Trade.
In the mid-1990s, the then-Office of Defense Trade Controls (DTC) announced the inauguration of a pilot program to test the feasibility of electronic
license submission. Using the centerpiece of the system, the Electronic License Entry system (ELLIE), applicants were able to fill out the face of
an export license application on personal computers in their offices, dial up DTC's computer via modem, and submit a key first portion of an
application electronically. Additional required data and backup material for complex applications, however, could not be entered electronically and
still had to be submitted in hardcopy - by mail, courier, or fax - and the paper file had to be married up to the information provided via ELLIE.
The ELLIE system, nevertheless, has served the State Department and industry well.
More recently, the State Department initiated an innovative pilot program ("D-Trade"), to design, develop, and beta test with industry participation
a Web-based, IT-supported licensing review process regime that featured a) fully electronic submission of certain forms of export authorization
requests and b) the electronic handling of such submissions, to include case referrals to a number of other U.S. Government offices and agencies. On
March 26, 2003, DDTC, using an initial test group of selected companies, began the processing and review of actual export authorization requests.
Since that time, thousands of electronic licenses have been successfully processed and adjudicated using the features of the D-Trade system.
The closure of the Pilot Program and expansion of D-Trade use in January 2004 brings new opportunities to the fore:
User-friendly but secure processing. Electronic submissions are made via an encrypted Internet site and signed by PKI-protected
digital signatures. Rooted in the Federal "bridge" administered by the General Services Administration with Office of Management and Budget
oversight, PKI employed by D-Trade is not overly intrusive in terms of collecting personal data. It protects data received from industry that might
be proprietary and/or subject to ITAR controls. Moreover, the "keys" may be used in transactions with several Federal and some state government agencies.
Easy application. In general, no specialized or expensive equipment is needed to utilize the new system. Users are provided software that enables them to fill in the face of a Form DSP-5 on a computer screen. The system features continuation sheets to allow completion of a block on the form, and supporting documents prepared on, or converted into, electronic media may be attached. A template feature of the XML schema used for the electronic forms implementation ensures backward compatibility allowing industry users to store repetitive data and precedent documentation.
Batch processing. To facilitate simultaneous multiple submissions, D-Trade will soon provide widely implemented transports that
accommodate submissions of various sizes and those submissions that would otherwise be precluded by industry firewalls.
Error-resistant processing. All information submitted via D-Trade is transferred in an electronic medium into DDTC's licensing
database, thus eliminating manual data errors and further speeding the license application review process.
Easy tracking. A license application entered electronically shows up in the D-Trade production system within hours. It may be referenced by a DDTC-assigned license number and by an industry-generated transaction number to facilitate cross-referencing.
Electronic referrals. License applications staffed to many U.S. Government offices for policy or technical input no longer have to be copied, collated, and manually distributed by messenger or internal mail. Reviewing offices receive complete applications without missing documents and without delay.
Quicker turnaround. Building upon the efficiencies inherent in electronic licensing, our aim is that almost all applicants will use D-Trade and that they will receive final decisions from DDTC more quickly than is the case with traditional methods.
Upon entering the system, a DDTC Electronic Licensing Help Desk will be available to the user at (202) 663-2838.