Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Compliance Officer

Today I finished up a short but very rewarding eight hour seminar on the International Traffic In Arms Regulation (ITAR) Overview. I am grateful to the staff at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the North Alabama Trade Association for both sponsoring the event and allowing me to present. I found the course rewarding as I presented to a mixed audience of 30 professionals ranging from shipping and receiving specialists to executive vice presidents. The mix also consisted of professionals with various degrees of know-how as consultants, attorneys, technology control officers and those brand new to the field shared experiences and learned from one another. As a compliance officer in various disciplines, I have had the privilege of leading security and compliance teams and seminars on multiple topics
Though this was my first of hopefully many export regulations seminars, I noticed the similar need in the compliance field. Regardless of the discipline, compliance works best when driven from the top down. No matter the program a compliance officer intends to build or support, Influence is key when developing it whether security, privacy protection, safety, export, etc. Experience and technical savvy are great to have however, minus influence; the person is just an administrator playing catch-up in a crucial game.
Like other compliance disciplines, export compliance first and foremost helps companies and individuals successfully earn profits while playing by the rules. Our government encourages international business. The opportunities for lucrative business and growing employee experience pools make international trade an attractive endeavor. The benefits are huge as long as enterprises know the rules and are able to implement them into every program. The reality is that a license will most likely be granted when given the time and consideration required. Unfortunately, the routes people take to avoid licenses probably take more energy and export violations cause significant damage to our defense and economy
Influence comes in where the whole team understands the mission and each business unit and employee role. The compliance officer trains the company and keeps the empowered official abreast on licensing and technical assistance issues. They also establish trigger mechanisms to ensure international travel, business, or employment opportunities come to their attention early in any endeavor involving technology transfer.

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