News from Reeves & Dola, LLP 
*** R|D ALERT ***

How the Partial Government Shutdown
Affects ATF Operations  and
Export Licensing

ATF Operations

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Contingency Plan for Fiscal Year 2019, only the following operations within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are operating with the current lapse in appropriations:
  • All agents in ATF field divisions who conduct criminal investigations in firearms, arson, explosives, alcohol and tobacco programs;
  • Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs) who conduct compliance inspections of Federal Firearms and Federal Explosives Licensees as well as application inspections; and
  • Personnel who collect, review and analyze intelligence data in support of criminal investigations.
Headquarters support (Washington, DC and Martinsburg, WVA) will be maintained only to the extend necessary to support excepted operations, including approvals necessary to support law enforcement and the U.S. military. In addition, the Director of ATF is not subject to furlough because the Director is a Presidential Appointee.

II. U.S. Department of State Export Licensing

As of 12:01 am on Saturday, December 22, 2018, services at the U.S. Department of State's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls are significantly reduced. This includes export and temporary license applications, requests for advisory opinions, and retransfer authorization requests except those that provide direct support to the military, humanitarian aid, or other similar emergencies.

DDTC advises that all D-Trade submissions are being rejected by the system, and requests that were in process at DDTC as of December 21, 2018, will remain in that status, but further review actions will be delayed until funding is restored. DDTC instructs industry applicants who believe they have a case involving direct support to the military, humanitarian aid, or other similar emergencies to email the DDTC Response Team at [email protected], and in the subject line reference "Request for Emergency License." The email message must include the pending license number, applicant name and registration code, the end-use/end-user, an explanation of the justification for needing an emergency license, and a point of contact. DDTC will then contact the requestor with guidance on how to proceed if the request will be honored.

For more information, please visit DDTC's website at for its announcement, dated 12-22-18.

III. U.S. Department of Commerce Export Licensing

Within the Bureau of Industry and Security, the following operations will continue (see also the Department of Commerce's Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations) :
  • Activities related to the ongoing conduct of criminal investigations, and prosecutions, and coordination with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies in furtherance of our national security; and
  • Licensing emergency export applications.
The BIS licensing portal, Simplified Application Process-Redesign (SNAP-R) at is unavailable until funding is restored.

The president is scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders this afternoon. We will keep you updated in the event there are any changes to federal operations as a result of the meeting.

The above alert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed or used as legal advice. Receipt of this alert does not establish an attorney-client relationship.     

Questions about this alert may be directed to: 

About Reeves & Dola

Reeves & Dola is a Washington, DC law firm that specializes in helping clients navigate the highly regulated and complex world of manufacturing, sales and international trade of defense and commercial products. We have a deep understanding of the Federal regulatory process, and use our expertise in working with a variety of Federal agencies to assist our clients with their transactional and regulatory needs.

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Washington, DC 20006