In the letter, the groups note a "marked disparity between the DEAC's analysis of the difficulties of regulating the transfer of technological knowledge in a globally interconnected world," an analysis they largely endorse, and the specific recommendations for a new approach to controlling the transfer of controlled information to foreign nationals while in the U.S. -- which they believe would be "difficult to translate into regulations, burdensome for U.S. companies' compliance programs and ultimately counterproductive to the U.S. national interest."
Specifically, the groups claimed that:
1. Controlled technologies would not be refined
2. More foreign nationals would be subject to controls
3. Recommendations would harm U.S. technological leadership
In conclusion, the groups stated, "We urge the Department to go back to the drawing board and work closely with industry in developing an approach that will produce a more balanced result."
Similarly, on February 20, 2008, the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) submitted a letter to the Secretary of Commerce expressing their views on the findings and recommendations of the DEAC report. The groups stated that they strongly agree with the DEAC's principal conclusion that ". . . the existing Deemed Export Regulatory Regime no longer effectively serves its intended purpose and should be replaced with an approach that better reflects the realities of today's national security needs and global economy."
In the letter, the groups endorsed and specifically highlighted the following points:
1. Too many technologies are subject to deemed export controls and the list of covered technologies should be drastically reduced;
2. Each technolgoy on the CCL should "sunset" automatically after a period of one year, unless there is explicit action to retain it on the list following a review process; and
3. They agree wtih the DEAC recommendation to eliminate any distinction between research products and knowledge regarding equipment needed to conduct the research.
The letter then goes on to state the groups' serious concerns over the following DEAC recommendations:
1. They urge Commerce to regject the deemed export decision process construct proposed in the report -- specifically, as with the industry groups, they disapprove of the proposed "loyalty" assessments, which they claim would raise very serious policy, practical, and legal issues for universities;
2. They are concerned about the impact of loyalty assessments and broad-based background checks will have on reviews of deemed export license applications; and
3. They reject the DEAC's proposal to change the definition of fundamental research.
In conclusion, they state that they find the report to be well-considered and contains many helpful findings, but they urge Commerce to seriously consider the concerns outlined.
A "deemed export" is the transfer of controlled dual-use technology to a foreign national while in the United States. BIS stated that, "Given the significant role that foreign nationals play in the U.S. research system, deemed export policy has significant implications for U.S. national security and economic competitiveness."
Mario Mancuso, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, stated, "U.S. deemed export policy must account for the variety of risks we face. While our rules should not permit the transfer of sensitive U.S. technology to a real or potential adversary, they must ensure the United States remains the most innovative and competitive economy in the world."
While certain proposals under active consideration will require interagency support, Under Secretary Mancuso has directed BIS to immediately:
- Create an Emerging Technologies Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from leading research universities, government research labs, and industry to make recommendations to BIS regarding emerging technologies on a regular basis; and
- Improve outreach and engagement efforts to the academic and technology communities about the progress and scope of the deemed export policy efforts.