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Spotlight on Commerce: Estela Currid, Export Compliance Specialist, Bureau of Industry and Security


Guest blog post by Estela Currid, Export Compliance Specialist, Bureau of Industry and Security

I began my career at the Commerce Department as an Export Compliance Specialist with the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Strategic Intelligence Division (SID) in July 2016. In this role, I provide analytical support to BIS’s Office of Enforcement Analysis (OEA) and lead OEA’s Russia portfolio. On any given day I am evaluating the bona fides of parties for BIS license applications, identifying non-compliant export transactions, and assisting the Office of Export Enforcement through analytical case support for law enforcement investigations.

In 2018, my team and I participated in an interagency working group called “Neptune’s Trident” and we won a Meritorious Unit Citation for targeting procurement of underseas items to Russia from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. I also helped organize BIS’s 4th Biennial Targeting Proliferation Networks Seminar, which brings together export control, defense, intelligence, and law enforcement partners from across the U.S. Government to identify priorities for all BIS enforcement action against proliferators. In July 2019, I also was asked to be the BIS liaison to the Secretary’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning (OPSP) for a year, during which time I coordinated BIS’s actions across all Commerce bureaus and advised OPSP officials on the impact and criticality of BIS policy actions. We helped publish more than 25 regulatory actions, one of the busiest periods in BIS history. I also worked with the National Security Council on several high-level department issues, including expanding military end-use and end-user controls on China, Russia, and Venezuela, and new Entity List controls on Chinese companies involved with destabilizing military modernization activities or enabling human rights abuses, until I returned to the SID this past month.  

BIS is a great bureau to work for with opportunities to grow as a professional and leader. I believe in the importance of the work that we do at BIS and feel that I get to play a vital role in achieving our mission.

I appreciate the challenge that requires creative thinking to solve complex questions, and the focus on international export issues that directly affect the U.S. economic and security mission. Historically, there has always been a tradeoff between national security concerns while fully considering the impact on the economy, and it is often a difficult calculus. BIS plays an important role in supporting the Commerce Department’s mission in promoting economic growth and opportunity while strengthening U.S. National Security.

I was born and raised in Texas and studied International Affairs during my undergraduate and graduate education. I commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves following graduation from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley as a distinguished military graduate in 2013. I am now a Civil Affairs Officer and Paratrooper in the in the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). I have served overseas in Israel, Germany, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Iraq. In my free time, I volunteer with a non-profit organization called “Girls on the Run” as a running coach.

When it comes to Women’s History Month, I would say I draw the most inspiration from my mother and grandmother, who were some of the greatest female influences in my life. They taught me the importance of setting goals and believing in your ability to achieve them. I also have always admired Sonia Sotomayor and look to her as an inspiration as someone with a similar Hispanic background. One of my favorite quotes from Associate Justice Sotomayor is “Success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared.”

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Women’s History Month.

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