Created by Executive Order 13558 in October 2010, the Export Enforcement Coordination Center came into being as a means to further the consolidation of export enforcement among U.S. government agencies. The Export Enforcement Coordination Center is commonly referred to by its catchy acronym “E2C2”.
The role of the E2C2 is to coordinate and facilitate enforcement efforts between various government agencies involved in export controls, including: Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, Commerce, Treasury, Defense and Energy, the Director of National Intelligence, Customs and Border Protection, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, National Nuclear Security Administration and Defense Security Service. The center is managed and operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE’s investigative arm, known as the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Directorate, is directly responsible for overseeing the activities of E2C2. HSI officers are permanently staffed at the center, along with representatives of the participating government agencies outlined above. HSI is the largest investigative arm within the Department of Homeland Security, and HSI officers have full statutory authority to investigate and enforce criminal violations of all U.S. export control laws, including those relating to military items and dual use items (ie, those items with both a commercial and military application). HSI investigates a wide range of trade fraud cases, and one of its main priorities is to combat theft of proprietary U.S. technology.
The E2C2 opened its doors in April 2012, and enforcement efforts are under way. The central objective of the center is to promote enforcement of the export control laws in instances where the jurisdiction of multiple government agencies are involved. In the past, separate agencies often did not share information critical to identifying a potential violation and subsequent investigation with each other. This usually occurred due to a lack of manpower resources. The E2C2 aims to address this bottleneck of information gathering. The individual government agencies will still maintain their separate enforcement programs, but the E2C2 will act as the facilitator of these separate enforcement regimes.
The center was created to support the following functions in facilitation of export enforcement:
- Coordinating the deconfliction of criminal and administrative enforcement authorities and agencies engaged in export licensing;
- Acting as the primary point of contact between enforcement authorities and agencies engaged in export licensing;
- Coordinating law enforcement public outreach activities related to U.S. export controls; and
- Establishing government-wide statistical tracking capabilities for U.S. export enforcement activities.
The E2C2 is one of the four main steps in the President’s overall export control reform program, which was first announced in 2007. The establishment of the center is an important component in the progression of export control reform, and is a strong indication of the government’s adamant commitment to an overhaul of the export control system.