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Office of Export Enforcement (OEE)

OEE Special Agents are sworn Federal law enforcement officers with authority to make arrests, execute search warrants, serve subpoenas, and detain and seize goods about to be illegally exported.

Office overview and responsibilities

The Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) protects U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests by investigating violations, prosecuting violators of export control laws, interdicting illegal exports, and educating parties to export transactions on how to improve export compliance practices. OEE Special Agents work with BIS
licensing officials and policy staff to deter the export of items which, in the hands of unreliable users, can prove damaging to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.

OEE maintains Special Agents at offices across the United States, including its headquarters in Washington, DC, nine field offices located in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Northern Virginia , Phoenix, and San Jose, and resident offices in Atlanta, Houston and Portland. In addition, OEE Special Agents have been
deployed to FBI field offices in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Huntsville, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Haven, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, and Savannah, as well as to Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) offices in Denver and San Antonio, and the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Field Office in Baltimore to provide enhanced coverage for investigating export violations.

OEE Special Agents are sworn federal law enforcement officers with authority to bear firearms, make arrests, execute search warrants, serve subpoenas, search, inspect, detain,seize, and administratively forfeit items about to be illegally exported, reexported, or transferred (in-country), as well as conveyances involved in such exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country), and order the redelivery to the United States of items exported in violation of U.S. law. OEE is the only federal law enforcement agency exclusively dedicated to the enforcement of export control laws, and that singular focus allows for the development of the requisite subject matter expertise to be able to effectively enforce a complex regulatory regime. Some cases may require years of thorough investigation to bring a matter to a successful completion. 

OEE investigations are initiated on information and intelligence obtained from a variety of sources, including routine review of export documentation, overseas end-use monitoring, and industry information. OEE investigates both export violations by U.S. persons and the unauthorized reexport or transfer (in-country) by foreign persons of items subject to the EAR to prohibited end uses, end users, or destinations. OEE also has the authority to enforce restrictions on specific activities of U.S. persons, including those unrelated to shipments of items subject to the EAR, such as brokering, servicing, financing, or freight forwarding in connection with certain foreign weapons of mass destruction and military-intelligence end uses and end users. OEE works closely with other federal law enforcement agencies to identify and act on export violations and with industry to raise awareness of compliance best practices and “red flag” indicators of potential illicit activities. For example, OEE works with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to train outbound officers on EAR requirements to identify suspicious cargoes for detention. 

Based on information gathered during the course of an investigation, OEE works closely with attorneys from the Department of Justice to prosecute violators criminally, as well as with the Office of Chief Counsel for Industry and Security to bring administrative charges. Export Enforcement also takes action where appropriate to place parties on the BIS Entity List, Unverified List, Denied Persons List, and Military End-User List. Export Enforcement is co-located in the same Department of Commerce bureau as Export Administration, allowing for close cooperation in the administration and enforcement of export controls. Export Enforcement provides advice and comments on the enforceability of new policies and regulations, and works closely with Export Administration to routinely review export transactions to ensure compliance with the EAR. Such review includes: 

  • Confirming whether exported items were properly classified; 
  • Verifying required export authorizations, if applicable (e.g., the required export license was obtained prior to the shipment and the transaction complies with the license conditions, a license exception was available and properly used, or the item did not require a license for export to the end user and destination); and 
  • Determining whether the transaction involved any apparent violations of the EAR (e.g., related to the ten General Prohibitions, end-use-based or end-user-based controls or proscribed parties).


Sentinel Program

Many end-use checks are conducted through BIS' Sentinel Program. Trained OEE Special Agents are deployed from the United States to countries to visit the end-users of sensitive controlled commodities and determine whether these items are being used in accordance with license conditions. Sentinel teams assess the suitability of foreign end-users to receive U.S.-origin licensed goods and technology, assess prospective end-users on pending license applications for diversion risk, and conduct educational outreach to foreign trade groups. In this way, Sentinel trips help to create the confidence needed to foster trade while strengthening U.S. national security.





Office leadership

Deputy Director, OEE

Dan Clutch

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Deputy Director, OEE

Learn more about Export Enforcement

Export Enforcement protects and promotes U.S. national security by aggressively investigating violations of the export control and antiboycott regulations and by partnering with industry and academia to facilitate compliance with those regulations.

About Export Enforcement