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such as that undertaken at the M.I.T. Radiation Laboratory, which was the primary U.S. microwave radar research facility. The publication of these materials proved to be of enormous benefit to universities and industry, both in the United States and abroad (including the Soviet Union), in the further development of microwave and related technology.


In the period after World War II, as the ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified, the federal government became increasingly concerned about protecting scientific information. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, for example, precluded public dissemination of most of the results of the Manhattan District Project or subsequent atomic research. The act, which was amended in 1954, included a “born secret” provision, meaning that all information about atomic energy was automatically classified at the moment of its creation. In 1950 President Truman issued an executive order that contained a vaguely defined standard for protecting national security as the rationale for classifying secret documents. This justification on the grounds of a need to protect national security has continued to the present day, although the definition of national security has been modified several times.

Government restraints on the movement of goods out of the United States also originated during World War II. In fact, export controls have existed in one form or another since July 1940. Although it originally had been anticipated that these restrictions would be terminated at the end of the war, the advent of the Cold War prompted the passage of the Export Control Act of 1949. This act, which remained in effect for the next 20 years, provided for continuing examination of exports to the Soviet Union and most other Communist countries. The 1949 act was succeeded by the Export Administration Act of 1969, and more recently by the Export Administration Act of 1979. All three laws have been implemented by the Department of Commerce through a comprehensive set of procedures known as the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which are in turn used to administer the Commodity Control List, an extensive itemization of restricted products and processes. Although modified by subsequent acts (see Chapter 3, Volume I of this report), the original Export Control Act required the government to prevent the exportation of goods that might assist either the economic or military potential of communist countries.

Another method of controlling the export of security-related goods was developed in 1954, when the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) were established, initially as part of the Mutual Security Act of 1954. Administered by the Department of State, the ITAR rules are used to control the export of military systems, including the “design, production, manufacture, repair, overhaul, processing, engineering, development, operation, maintenance or reconstruction of…implements of war on the U.S. Munitions List” or “any technology that advances the state of the art or establishes a new art in any area of significant military applicability.” The current foundation for the ITAR is the Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

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