Understanding military critical technical data
Find out how military critical technical data is defined and controlled in Canada and the United States.
What is technical data?
Technical data is any information, such as blueprints, drawings, plans, computer software or technical documentation that could be developed or adapted for use in military equipment.
What does "military critical" mean?
Military critical technical data is a type of unclassified technical data. It is used to produce military or space equipment and related technology.
It is considered "military critical" because unauthorized access could pose a threat to our national security. For that reason, it is strictly controlled in Canada and the United States.
How military critical technical data is controlled
In Canada and the United States, military critical technical data is controlled by the:
- Technical Data Control Regulations of the Department of National Defence in Canada
- Directive 5230.25 of the United States Department of Defense (PDF version, 60 KB - Alternative formats and plug-ins)
Under these regulations:
- both countries can withhold military critical technical data from public use
- private contractors must be certified by the Joint Certification Program to access military critical technical data
Who uses military critical technical data?
The Department of National Defence in Canada, the United States Department of Defense and other government departments in either country use this data to produce military or space equipment and related technology.
Private contractors use this data to bid and work on unclassified defence opportunities in either country.
Universities use this data to conduct scientific research for defence departments in either country.
About the Joint Certification Program
The Joint Certification Program certifies contractors in Canada and the United States requiring access to military critical technical data.
The program helps to protect military critical technical data and technology from common adversaries while allowing it to flow to certified Canadian and American companies with a legitimate need to access the data. It also ensures that effective controls and enforcement mechanisms are in place in each country to protect technical data.
The program is managed by the United States–Canada Joint Certification Office, which is located in Battle Creek, Michigan.
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