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U.S. technology and products are ending up in North Korean missiles which are ending up in Russia which Russia then uses in its war against the Ukraine.  One does not need to be a knowledgeable on U.S. export control laws to reach the conclusion that this fact demonstrates that U.S. companies with export-controlled items and technology need to do a better a job of complying with export regulations.

What Is The Evidence Of This?

A British organization, Conflict Armament Research whose mission  working towards understanding the landscape of illicit weapon flows and to mitigating the supply of conventional arms to unauthorised users, including insurgent and terrorist forces.

By aggregating data on thousands of individual weapon transfers, CAR provides the evidence-based information required to develop effective weapon management and control.released a report that 75% of the components documented are linked to companies incorporated in the United States.that evaluates weapons deployed in the Ukraine and elsewhere claims it found evidence that Russia used a North Korean weapon in Ukraine that had components “linked to companies incorporated in the United States”.[1]

Conflict Armament Research (CAR) has determined that a ballistic missile produced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and recovered in Ukraine includes more than 290 non-domestic electronic components. CAR investigators, documenting missile remnants after an attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, found not only that many of these components bear the brands of companies based primarily in the United States but that a large number were produced within the last three years. North Korea’s ability to produce and transfer advanced weapons, while acquiring material internationally to fuel its missile programme in spite of long-standing United Nations sanctions, is the latest evidence of countries undermining global non-proliferation regimes.

Recent U.S. Government announcements demonstrate why U.S. businesses must comply with U.S. export regulations which are designed in part to protect national security.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), an agency with responsibility for certain export controlled items, advised that it would pay up to $15 million for information on the sale of U.S. export controlled defense items and technology that funds the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S. designated terrorist organization. The reward is for information on Iranian businessman, Hossein Hatefi Ardakani, who the U.S. Department of Justice has charged with violating U.S. export control regulations for illegally obtaining controlled items and technology through a network of companies which is then transferred to the IRGC for its own use and to sell to prohibited countries and entities.

The U.S. Government asserts that the IRGC sells the items and technology to fund its own operations. The items and technologies are sold to Russia who in turn uses it against Ukraine.

The reward money and the news of North Korea and Russia obtaining U.S. products and technologies, demonstrate why in March 2023, the U.S. Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Commerce issued a notice to U.S businesses that they must comply with export control regulations, to include being alert for of entities looking to evade these regulations, or face possible criminal, civil or administrative penalties.

[1] Reuters, Brunnstrom, D., Debris from North Korean missile in Ukraine could expose procurement networks,, Feb. 22, 2024.

[2] Bureau of Industry and Security, Press Release,, Feb. 9, 2024.

[3] U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs Press Release, Iranian National Charged with Unlawfully Procuring Microelectronics Used in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Behalf of the Iranian Government,, Dec. 19, 2023.

[4] Bureau of Industry and Security, Press Release,, Feb. 9, 2024.

[5] Id.

[6] Department of Commerce, Department of the Treasury, and Department of Justice Tri-Seal Compliance Note,

Cracking Down on Third-Party Intermediaries Used to Evade Russia-Related Sanctions and Export Controls, March 2, 2023.

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