Export control laws implemented both by the Department of Commerce through its Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Department of State through its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), have been in existence for more than twenty years. Institutions of higher education and their employees are required to comply with these laws and regulations. Criminal sanctions (including money and/or prison sentences for individuals) can apply in the case of violations.

Following the events of September 11, the export control regulations have become more prominent and scrutiny concerning the level of compliance with these regulations has heightened. It is important that faculty and other researchers in Kansas State University departments, laboratories and centers understand their obligations under these regulations and adhere to them.

The export regulations cover virtually all fields of science and engineering. However, they prohibit the unlicensed export of only certain materials or information for reasons of national security or protection of trade. In the case of academic or research institutions, there is an exclusion for fundamental research, the results of which are or are about to be or, in some cases, ordinarily are publicly available. Understanding three basic concepts related to export controls is essential: (1) the nature of the technology that is export controlled and how it is recognized, (2) the fundamental research exclusion, and (3) what is a deemed export.