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  1. Homeland Security Investigations
  2. What We Investigate
  3. Illicit Technology Procurement and Sanctions Violations

Illicit Technology Procurement and Sanctions Violations

Illicit Technology Procurement and Sanctions Violations

HSI stands at the forefront of the U.S. government’s counter-proliferation mission.

U.S. adversaries such as China, Iran, Russia and North Korea are relentless in their efforts to circumvent laws and evade sanctions. They seek to illegally procure sophisticated defense technology and weapons systems from the United States and other nations to advance their military, political, economic and strategic goals.

Transnational criminal organizations, terrorist networks and other global threat actors are equally hostile to U.S. interests, launching a wide range of schemes to procure our weapons and technology.

HSI uses its vast global footprint, which includes a network of special agents and partner agencies to fight illicit technology procurement and sanctions violations. Our investigations target all facets of the tech and weapons supply chains so we can stop the illegal proliferation and export of sensitive military equipment and technology. This helps safeguard American strategic interests and protects American lives.

Understanding Illicit Technology Procurement and Sanctions Violations

The United States produces some of the most sophisticated technology and weapons systems in the world. Criminals, terrorists, rogue nations and other national security threats often want these items to advance their strategic goals and grow their global influence. They also sell these items for profit or to help others commit crimes.

The U.S. government places export controls on military technology and weapons to keep them from our adversaries, who could use them to harm American civilians and military personnel at home or abroad. The United States also sanctions people and entities who circumvent export controls, supply weapons and technology to nefarious entities, and support global terrorism, violence and other destabilizing activities.

The U.S. crime occurs when people or businesses export weapons systems and other controlled technology out of the United States, or engage in transactions with sanctioned parties without authorization. or licenses to do so. It’s also illegal for U.S. people and companies to broker illegal deals involving controlled weapons and technology, regardless of whether the items originated in the United States.

The Impacts of Illicit Technology Procurement and Sanctions Violations

Illicit technology procurement and sanctions violations significantly impact global security and stability. When criminal organizations and global threat actors acquire our most sensitive military equipment and technology, these items may end up in our adversaries’ hands on the battlefield and can be used against U.S. troops. And when criminals circumvent sanctions, the sanctions are useless. Although these are certainly global, strategic issues, these crimes can and do impact American lives and businesses, which is why they’re among HSI’s top priorities.

HSI's Response to Illicit Technology Procurement and Sanctions Violations

As the only U.S. government agency with full statutory authority to enforce all U.S. export control laws, HSI stands at the forefront of the U.S. government’s counterproliferation mission. Our work centers on three main pillars:

  • Combat the illegal export and proliferation of sensitive U.S. military equipment and technology. Using government and industry partners, HSI identifies and investigates these crimes and arrests violators at home and abroad.
  • Protect American innovation, strategic defense and economic superiority. HSI’s efforts ensure that the most sensitive American-developed technology doesn’t fall into our adversaries’ hands.
  • Disrupt adversaries, sanctions violators and other malign actors. HSI dismantles networks of criminals, front companies and other components of the supply chain to prevent their ability to facilitate these crimes in the future.

HSI leads Project Shield America (PSA), an outreach program that connects private industry and academia. PSA establishes and promotes partnerships, fosters cooperation and helps private industry and the academic community prevent criminals from procuring military items and controlled dual-use commodities, technology and technical data.

Additionally, HSI heads the Export Enforcement Coordination Center (E2C2), which strengthens collaboration between law enforcement agencies, the intelligence community and export licensing entities. E2C2 is a key resource in the U.S. government’s counterproliferation mission.

HSI is also a leader on the Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture Task Force, which enforces the sweeping sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures the U.S. and its partners impose.

How We Can Help Each Other

Contact your local HSI office to schedule a PSA briefing to learn more about red flag indicators of potential export, sanctions and illicit procurement violations or to report suspicious activity.

Last Updated: 05/10/2024
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