White House Orders Review of U.S. Export Control System
August 18, 2009 -- President Obama has directed federal agencies to review the overall U.S. export control system, including rules restricting the export of technologies considered to be security risks. "The U.S. has one of the most robust export control systems in the world," the White House said in a statement issued last week. "But, it is rooted in the Cold War Era of over 50 years ago and must be updated to address the threats we face today and the changing economic and technological landscape."
In a report released in January, Beyond Fortress America: National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World, the National Research Council urged executive action to restructure the export control system to reflect the interrelatedness of national security and economic competitiveness -- both of which are hindered by current regulations. The report proposes ways to make the system more efficient, consistent, and transparent, including creating a “one-stop shop” for export control licensing, and removing from the control lists items that are now legally available.
An earlier Research Council report released in 2007, Science and Security in a Post 9-11 World, recommended that the government conduct such reviews of export control lists on a regular basis, with the goals of streamlining, removing outdated items, and identifying truly unique and critical military technologies that are not already available elsewhere.
In 2005, the Research Council released Globalization of Materials R&D: Time for a National Strategy. The report calls on policy-makers to ensure that current controls on exports do not impede U.S. participation in international projects, and recommends a review of the rationale for and the impacts of the U.S. government regulating the transfer of knowledge and innovation across borders.