Washington, DC – Congressman Howard Berman, senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today introduced legislation to modernize and strengthen U.S. controls on the export of sensitive “dual-use” technology, which has both civilian and military applications. The bill, titled the Technology Security Act, provides the President with authority to regulate the transfer of sensitive U.S. goods, services, software and technological information that could pose a threat to U.S. national security if obtained by hostile governments, terrorist groups or threatening persons.
“The current export control statute is an out-moded relic of the Cold War that focuses on economic warfare against old adversaries and fails to account for today’s threats,” said Congressman Berman. “Updating this law is essential to our national security and necessary to sustain our cutting edge technology sector and create new, high quality jobs. A new export control law is necessary to preserve our competitive advantage.”
The bill is the first comprehensive export control legislation to be proposed since 2001. Unlike the original Export Administration Act (EAA), Congressman Berman’s bill defines U.S. national security to include strengthening scientific and technological leadership, high-technology manufacturing, and the U.S. defense industrial base. The bill completely revises the old law to provide a sound statutory charter for our controls on sensitive technology
“The U.S. still controls – unilaterally – high performance computers and machine tools that are now freely available in global commerce,” Berman said. “We need to re-focus our licensing and enforcement resources on items that we can control effectively.”
The old EAA, was last rewritten in 1979 and lapsed from 1994 to 2000 and again in 2001. Emergency Presidential authority has been used to keep export control regulations in effect.
The bill is expected to be referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where Berman is the senior Democrat. On May 12, 2011 the Committee held a hearing on export control issues where they heard from government experts on the Administration’s ongoing export control policy review.