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Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
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Brief Overview*

This study addresses two fundamental questions: (1) How should U.S. export control policies be organized in a post-Cold War world? (2) Are U.S. export control policies formulated in a manner consistent with, and supportive of, the full scope of U.S. interests? The conditions that determined the feasibility and effectiveness of national security export controls** since World War II have now changed dramatically, and the nature of the Western security alliance seems likely to change as well. The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), also known as the Warsaw Pact, has lost its meaning as a threatening military alliance. The dissolution of the WTO, particularly when combined with obligations assumed under the Treaty on Conven-

*  

A detailed Executive Summary has been published separately and is available from the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academies of Sciences and Engineering.

†  

National security export controls are procedures designed to regulate the transfer of items from one country to another in such a way as to protect militarily important technologies from acquisition by potential adversaries (see Section 5 of the Export Administration Act (EAA)of 1979, as amended). These are contrasted in the report with foreign policy export controls, which are restrictions imposed on the export of general classes of items to one or more specified countries in order to further the foreign commitments and interests of the united states or to fulfill its international obligations (see Section 6 of the EAA)

Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
×

tional Forces in Europe (CFE), means that a forward-based, Soviet strategic offensive capability in Central Europe is no longer possible.

Thus, on the basis of the agreed reductions in Soviet and East European military forces (assuming that they are completed in good faith), the dissolution of the WTO, and the emerging defensive Soviet military posture in Asia, the panel concludes that a new paradigm for the application of West-East export controls is now required. The panel recommends that the United States and the other nations of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) change the basis of their technology transfer and trade relationships with the Soviet Union and the East European countries from the "denial regime" that has existed for more than 40 years to an "approval regime" based on multilaterally agreed and veritable end-use conditions.

In contrast to the reduced threat posed by the Soviet Union and the former WTO countries, there are growing concerns about the acquisition bv certain countries and political organizations of technologies contributing to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, missile delivery systems, and advanced conventional weapons. Proliferation of these technologies could be a decisive factor in the expansion to a global scale of conflicts initiated by regional powers, the exacerbation of intraregional instabilities, and the further spread of extremist violence and state-sponsored terrorism.

The most important distinction between traditional East-West and proliferation controls is that the United States is not in a position to exercise the same level of influence over the suppliers of proliferation technologies. Indeed, some of the potential suppliers of weapons of mass destruction also are the targets of current control regimes. Moreover, to be effective, such control regimes must include participation by the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. With the end of the Cold War, the possibility of such comprehensive multilateral cooperation may now exist.

The panel notes that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems is a U.S. national security concern and should be treated as such in U.S. law and policy. Proliferation control regimes must be tailored to the particular circumstances or threats, but some of the policy responses are likely to include properly fashioned export controls. The choice of policy responses—including the appropriate mix of export controls—for

Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
×

managing proliferation risks is a complex and difficult problem that requires far more careful and extensive study than this panel or any other group has yet been able to conduct.

U.S. POLICY

Carefully tailored and/or refashioned export controls can be appropriate and viable in support of the following U.S. policy objectives: (1) constraining access by the Soviet military to technology and end products that contribute significantly and directly to the improvement of weapons capabilities, (2) constraining access by certain countries to technology and end products that contribute significantly and directly to the development of advanced weapons systems, (3) constraining access by countries of proliferation concern to nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile delivery technologies and know-how, and (4) imposing multilaterally agreed sanctions for violations of international agreements or norms of behavior.

THE COCOM REGIME

The continued credibility of CoCom now depends on the willingness of its members to recognize and respond to the new political, economic, and military realities by developing a flexible and adaptive strategy. The panel finds that the traditional CoCom objective of retarding the qualitative progress of Soviet military capabilities could be preserved while simultaneously allowing for expanded trade by shifting the focus from a denial regime, based on an embargo of controlled goods and technology, to an approval regime, based on a sharply reduced CoCom Industrial List and contingent on verifiable end-use conditions approved by CoCom.

PROLIFERATION REGIMES

There are currently insufficient linkages between the multilateral arrangements established to address nuclear, chemical, and missile technology exports and the CoCom control regime. Further, issues pertaining to international arms trade, and trade in high-technology weapons, require more coherent multilateral attention than they now

Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
×

receive. Given the great complexity of proliferation problems, and the many actors who are involved, the panel believes that high-level leadership and policy coordination will be needed from a small number of countries, including at least the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, France, Germany, Japan, and China. This should be combined with a mechanism or set of mechanisms for developing and maintaining coordinated international regimes to which all interested states can be parties. In applying export controls to proliferation problems, care must he taken to make them narrowly targeted and as fully multilateral as possible.

THE U.S. CONTROL REGIME

The U.S. government should develop a new policy process in which all interests are fully and clearly expressed so that presidential leadership can drive decisions in a balanced and timely fashion. At present. line agencies with conflicting missions are often unable to integrate the various national security, economic, and foreign policy issues and give executive authorities a balanced, coherent view of the key issues. As a result, a disproportionate amount of bureaucratic resources are expended in resolving disputes, rather than administering and enforcing the export control system. The resulting confusion has on some occasions caused additional delay and expense for U.S. exporters. To resolve these difficulties, the panel recommends that clear policy guidance he established by the President in a national security directive; that an interagency policy coordinating process be established to formulate and review proposals and recommendations in full consideration of all relevant national interests; and that all routine administrative activities undertaken within the established policy guidelines be consolidated in a single administrative agency, with clear instructions as to when issues should he referred to the interagency policy coordinating process.

Note to readers: A complete statement of the key findings and conclusions of the panel is presented in Chapter 11 of this report, and a summary of the panel's recommendations is provided in Chapter 12.

Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
×
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
×
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Brief Overview." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1991. Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1617.
×
Page 4
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Finding Common Ground: U.S. Export Controls in a Changed Global Environment Get This Book
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Protecting U.S. security by controlling technology export has long been a major issue. But the threat of the Soviet sphere is rapidly being superseded by state-sponsored terrorism; nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile proliferation; and other critical security factors.

This volume provides a policy outline and specific steps for an urgently needed revamping of U.S. and multilateral export controls.

It presents the latest information on these and many other pressing issues:

  • The successes and failures of U.S. export controls, including a look at U.S. laws, regulations, and export licensing; U.S. participation in international agencies; and the role of industry.
  • The effects of export controls on industry.
  • The growing threat of "proliferation" technologies.

World events make this volume indispensable to policymakers, government security agencies, technology exporters, and faculty and students of international affairs.

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