. "Appendix A: Memorandum from the Intelligence Subpanel to the Panel on Scientific Communication and National Security." Scientific Communication and National Security. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1982.
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Scientific Communication and National Security
our open society and research process, has without doubt contributed to the scientific base of the Soviet Union as well as other nations.
This lack of concrete evidence linking the academic community and other scientific communication channels to specific losses of militarily relevant technology does not imply a lack of clear Soviet intent to use such open scientific communication channels to increase their military potential. The marginal evidence on our subject is submerged by the security losses through outright espionage targeted on U.S. systerns, in particular in foreign countries, by outright illegal conduct by individuals or corporations in international trade, and by secondary transfers of actual material from legal or illegal recipients abroad to adversary destinations. Intellience efforts have not specifically focused on the “open communication” component of the technology transfer problem, but have given highest priority to localizing the other, larger, channels of technology loss.
The exception is foreign visitors from Communist countries where the intelligence community, through the interagency Committee on Exchange (COMEX), has been active for many years. Person-to-person communication involving U.S. researchers is one of many channels for the transfer of sensitive technologies, and, compared to other transfer mechanisms, the potential loss there of sensitive technologies has been limited. In part this is because there have been for many years U.S. government mechanisms that try to assess the likely technology transfer balance of proposed exchange programs. When U.S. government monies are involved, the government has received and reviewed proposed research programs well before foreign Communist visitors have been due to arrive. When necessary, programs have been denied. In many more instances, the program have been modified in some way to lessen access to sensitive technologies.
Such efforts to limit access also have occurred regarding foreign Communist students whose financing did not involve U.S. government monies, but in these instances the effectiveness of proposed limitations relied even more on the cooperation of the academic hosts. Since the mid-1950s, COMEX has provided such information, analysis, and advice to the Department of State and other government agencies regarding technology transfer and other implications of the proposed programs of foreign Communist students and other visitors.
The fact that few demonstrable losses of direct military significance from U.S. academic and other free exchange sources have been detected in the past does not, of course, prove that more significant losses will not occur in the future; in particular, should university activities extend further into areas of direct military applicability. The intelligence community believes there is a clear trend toward greater Soviet bloc effort in acquiring basic technology associated with universities. Thus the problem of technology transfer from universities is dynamic; this may lead to greater Soviet emphasis on acquisition of technology with long-term applications in the future. However, this subpanel has seen little evidence that the issue which the full Panel is charged to address has been important in the past in the total context of the loss of military technology.