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Counter-Proliferation Investigations Program


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CPI Unit
CPI Unit
The global threats facing the United States have never been greater than they are today. Foreign adversaries are attempting to acquire U.S. technology by various means, both legal and illegal.


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI), Counter-Proliferation Investigations (CPI) program prevents sensitive U.S. technologies and weapons from reaching terrorists, criminal organizations and foreign adversaries. The CPI program combats the trafficking and illegal export of the following commodities and services:

  • Weapons of mass destruction and associated delivery systems
  • Conventional military weaponry, equipment and technology
  • Controlled dual-use commodities and technology
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Financial and business transactions with sanctioned / embargoed countries and terrorist organizations.

U.S. Export Laws

HSI maintains the broadest investigative and enforcement authorities of any federal law enforcement agency to investigate criminal violations of all U.S. export laws related to defense items, dual-use goodsand sanctioned or embargoed countries. These authorities include:

  • Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and its implementing regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) regulates the export and brokering activities of defense articles, services and related technical data from and into the United States.  Title 22 United States Code (U.S.C.) 2778)
  • Export Administration Act (EAA) and its implementing regulations, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) regulates the export of strategic dual-use goods and technologies from the United States.  (Title 50 U.S.C. 2411)
  • International Economic Emergency Powers Act (IEEPA) regulates exports and other international transactions in times of national emergency such as economic/trade sanctions and embargos. (Title 50 U.S.C. 1701)
  • Smuggling Goods from the United States is a criminal statute that is violated when an individual fraudulently or knowingly exported, received or facilitated objects contrary to any law or regulation of the U.S. (Title 18 U.S.C. 554) 


HSI has broad legal authority to enforce a diverse array of federal statutes. It uses this authority to investigate all cross-border crime, including illegal exports. These authorities include:

  • Customs Border Search
  • Detention & Seizure
  • Administrative Subpoena
  • Cargo Re-delivery
  • Undercover Operations
  • International Operations
  • Confidential Informants
  • Immigration


Project Shield America — This industry outreach initiative seeks the partnership, cooperation and assistance of private industry and the academic community to prevent the illegal foreign acquisition of their products and to educate them about U.S. export laws.

Export Enforcement Coordination Center — On Nov. 9, 2010, the President of the United States issued Executive Order 13558 which created the Export Enforcement Coordination Center (E2C2). The E2C2 is housed within U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is staffed with full-time HSI personnel and representatives from all of the export enforcement entities and the intelligence community. The mission of the E2C2 is to coordinate and enhance criminal, administrative and related export enforcement activities thereby protecting national security through greater export enforcement and intelligence exchange.

Counter-Proliferation Investigations Centers (CPIC) — CPICs are dedicated units whose sole function is the pursuit of transnational criminal networks intent on violating U.S. export law.  HSI has created and strategically placed these specialized units in an effort to utilize our resources in an effective and efficient manner.

Program Global Shield—This program is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the World Customs Organization, Interpol, the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime and private industry to prevent and target illegal exporters, foreign countries, terrorist groups and international criminal organizations from diverting and trafficking of precursor chemicals used in the manufacturing of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Export Control Reform Initiative — On Aug. 13, 2009, the president directed a broad review of the U.S. export control system.  The goal of the reform was to enhance the national security, foreign policy and economic security interests of the United States. The president directed the creation of an interagency task force to conduct this review of the current system. The task force identified four key components to the current export control system which needed improvement: 1) Control Lists; 2) Licensing Policy and Processes; 3) Enforcement; and 4) Information Technology Infrastructure. HSI participates in this taskforce and provides law enforcement insight and guidance for the reform effort.

If you have information regarding international terrorism, violations of U.S. export laws, or economic sanctions and embargoes, please call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423; TTY for hearing impaired: 802-872-6196).


Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/15/2020