Dr. Peter M. Leitner
before the Committee on Government Reform
of the United States House of Representatives
June 24, 1999
REPRISALS & RETALIATION: SPEAKING TRUTH
TO POWER ON CHINA
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I would like to express my appreciation for your collective concern over the mistreatment of career civil servants for ìspeaking truth to powerî concerning the systematic pillaging of the U.S. defense industrial base and our nation’s most precious military and nuclear secrets by the People’s Republic of China. Appearing before you today is both an honor and a rather dubious distinction. To be victimized by my own government ñ particularly the Defense Department ñ for consistently putting the near- and long-term national security of the United States ahead of all other considerations is something that I still find astounding to this day.
I believe that a deadly combination of corruption, greed, careerism, indolence, and possibly darker motives have brought us to this sad turning point in the nature of the military threats to the United States and along the Chinese periphery ñ extending from the Central Asian republics through the Indian Ocean and along the Pacific Rim.
History of Reprisals
My particular story revolves around my documenting evolving military threats to the United States spurred by reckless transfers of advanced Western technology, —technology capable of allowing potential military rivals such as the PRC to leapfrog generations of technological development and trillions of dollars of expenditures and to field advanced weapons systems faster than our experts have predicted. I have been systematically penalized for my initiative and efforts. From 1986 to 1990 I was consistently praised by DoD officials for my effectiveness in documenting and persuasively defending American technology security interests around the world in international negotiations. At that time I was DoDís principal CoCom negotiator and head of the DoD team on such issues as machine tools and manufacturing technology, advanced materials, and, for a time, computers. In addition, I served as chairman of a Paris-based military study group on advanced materials for weapons systems that turned out 15 reports and as the head of the U.S. team to another group on defense production technology and test equipment.
But all that changed in 1990, shortly after I received a Special Act Award for preparing the Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Policy to effectively argue in favor of rigorous machine tool controls. That was when I authored the memo and charts included as Attachment A. That memo pointed out dangerous flaws in the methodology DoD was using in determining which technology to drop from international export control lists. For the mere act of composing this message to my chain of command I was summarily recalled from Paris at 5 a.m. and told to abandon my technical team in France and get on the next flight home. There I was confronted by the first in a series of DTSA managers who place their personal interests and career advancement ahead of all else. I was told, ìYou are to be placed in a position of least trust in this organization ñ licensing.î A remarkable statement as export licensing is the legislative raison díÍtre for the organization.
After being banished into licensing, I began to detect a disturbing pattern of Indian acquisition of U.S. and British parts and components for India’s attempts to build a so-called indigenous supercomputer. I wrote a paper on this issue (U.S./India Relationship: What Are the Ground Rules?) that received the support of the Defense Intelligence Agency and numerous technical experts. In response, I was barred from looking at licenses involving India. After these two incidents, my performance appraisal dropped from ìoutstandingî to an entire level lower. My supervisor at the time told me he was ordered by the Director and Deputy Director not to give me an outstanding rating. He then advised me that he would lower my ìWritten Communicationî category because ìafter all, it was your memos that resulted in all of this.î Earlier that year I had been told I would be given a quality step increase as a result of my outstanding performance. This was quickly scrapped, and I was denied that $2,600 pay raise.
This was to be the first in a series of retaliatory financial sanctions, which, in my reckoning, has cost my family between $75,000 and $100,000 to date and over the course of my lifetime certainly much more. This loss of income punishes not only me but also my wife and four children.
In May 1991, I authored a technical paper entitled ìGarrett Engines to the PRC: Enabling Its Long-range Cruise Missile Program.î The controversy generated by this paper ran well into 1992 and eventually stopped a potentially disastrous technology transfer from taking place. The new administration was fighting tooth and nail to approve the transfer of cruise missile manufacturing technology to the PRC. I was internally vilified and later penalized even though the Air Force, CIA, and Arms Control and Disarmament Agency came around to support my position. While the technology transfer was prevented and the potential threat to the United States mitigated I was nonetheless punished for having been right.
In 1994, I wrote a technical paper called ìMcDonnell Douglas Machine Tool Sales to the PRC: Implications for U.S. Policyî and refused a direct order to change my denial of the transfer of the Columbus, Ohio, B-1 Bomber/MX Missile/C-17 plant to China. This incident was the subject of a recent 60 Minutes broadcast. Later that year I co-authored a study entitled ìTransferring Stealth Technology to the PRC: Three Pieces to the Chinese Puzzle.î This paper revealed how the PRC was targeting U.S. companies for technology acquisition with surgical precision. In 1995, I took the initiative and prepared a policy paper called ìNuclear Safety, Strategic Technologies, and Weapons Proliferation: A New Approach.î This was an attempt to reduce Indian access to nuclear weapons-related technologies while assisting India on the civilian nuclear safety issue. Prepared and circulated fully three years before the most recent round of nuclear weapons tests in the Thar Desert, neither the paper nor the initiative was acted upon by DTSA management despite strong support for many elements of the approach internally and externally.
Late in 1995 a series of events heralded a new round of internal retaliation against me. First was the publication of my book ìDecontrolling Strategic Technology, 1990-1992: Creating the Strategic Threats of the 21st Century.î This was followed, in early 1996, by my paper on ìDual-use Exports and Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Denying Exports to Brazilî; third was my active opposition (Non-Nuclear, Militarily Critical Uses of Oscilloscopes) to a DoE-led effort to decontrol oscilloscopes and remove them from the Nuclear Suppliers Group list of proliferation- related technologies. The reaction of DTSA management, after desperate attempts to prevent publication of my book, was to artificially lower my performance appraisal and insert all manner of political language into my Civil Service rating. I appealed the rating and while the score was raised somewhat, the political language was allowed to stand and I was again penalized financially. At one point, DTSA attempted to insert a criteria stating that my licensing decisions had to meet with the approval of my supervisor at least 90 percent of the time.
Examples of the political characterizations inserted into my Civil Service performance appraisal as criticisms include:
- ìDr. Leitner is an advocate of tightening export controls.î
- ì. . . he veers to the right as much as possible.î
- ìSome of his denial recommendations push the envelope towards tighter control.î
- ìHe is my most conservative/cautious licensing officer.î
- ìHowever, sometimes his conservative approach causes him to recommend denial based upon suspicious [sic] and/or assumptions that are not evident in facts, causing those denials to be overturned during the review process.î
In 1997, reprisals began to intensify with the publication of my second book, "Reforming the Law of the Sea Treaty: Opportunities Missed, Precedents Set, and U.S. Sovereignty Threatened,î and my being invited to appear before the Joint Economic Committee to discuss Chinese economic espionage and strategic technology transfer. Just before the hearing was to convene, DTSA management held a ìDirectorsî meeting where it was announced that ìno DTSA employees will be permitted to attend that hearing and if any apply for annual leave for that purpose it will be denied.î When I circulated the JEC announcement of the time and place of the hearing to my co-workers on the office E-mail system attempts were made to somehow construe this as a ìsecurity violation.î My testimony was entitled ìFeeding the Dragon: Technology Transfer and the Growing Chinese Threat.î
Two articles published in 1997, ìEthics, National Security, and Bureaucratic Realities: North, Knight, and Designated Liarsî and ìSupercomputers, Test Ban Treaties, and the Virtual Bomb,î were met with immediate hostility within DoD. The first looks at people who lie to Congress ñ the designated liar for their agency. The second reveals the nuclear proliferation dangers and suspect agenda of the administration in decontrolling supercomputers ñ a mistake about to be compounded as we speak. In June 1997, Mr. James Cole and I authored a study entitled Minimum Requirements to Produce Machine Tools Capable of Manufacturing Weapons of Mass Destruction.
It was in December 1997 that a campaign to further isolate me began ñ this time to confiscate my office computers, a laptop and a desktop. It began with an outright lie that the information management staff wanted the laptop assigned to me returned. Then my desktop unit was removed as well. I was told verbally and in writing by the information management staff that they never asked for the return of the computers and that they would only declare the machines excess and get rid of them. They also said that DTSA management was afraid that I might use the computers to write testimony, books, or articles critical of DTSA actions or policies. Therefore, DTSA management reasoned, take the computers away and I will no longer be able to write or testify.
About this time, I began to see and issue denials for a large number of export license applications originating with the DoE-sponsored national laboratoriesñ particularly Los Alamos, Sandia, Livermore, and Oak Ridge. These licenses were intended to facilitate the transfer of a variety of high-tech equipment with direct application to nuclear weapons development and testing to the most dangerous entities within the Russian nuclear weapons design, test, and manufacturing complex. I objected then, and continue to object today, to these so-called Lab-to-Lab transfers because there was no evidence of a security plan to protect U.S. technologies from being used against us, there was no evidence that the Department of Energy exercised any credible level of control over these activities, and after meeting with lab officials it was apparent to me that the labs had become entrepreneurial and were creating programs not so much to resolve the fictional ìloose nukesî problem as to keep themselves employed and avoid layoffs. Some of these programs go by the titles Materials Protection, Control, and Accounting Program, Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, Nuclear Cities Program, MAGO program (assisting the Russians to refine and miniaturize an Electro-Magnetic Pulse weapon), etc. Given my knowledge of how badly managed DoEís nuclear stockpile program was, I found it amazing that DoE was holding itself up as the paragon of virtue in these areas. My concerns were strongly validated by the Cox/Dicks Committee and the Presidentís Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. In the meantime, I was lectured by my supervisor that ìthe Russians are our friends" and I have "no business standing in the way of these DoE run programs.î I refused to alter my denial recommendations and virtually all of my denials were overturned by DTSA management. GAO later confirmed that more than 50 percent of the tax dollars going into many of these programs were spent in the United States on overhead and little if any results can be shown regarding lessening the nuclear threat facing the United States. For these efforts I was again given a poor performance evaluation and penalized financially. The following is representative of the denial positions I recommended on such cases;
DOD POSITION: 20 NOVEMBER 1996
Per Section 10g of the EAA and Sections 770.1 and 778.3 of the EAR DoD is recommending denial of this application. End-user is an unsafeguarded nuclear facility and this device is capable of making a material contribution to proliferation projects of concern.
DoD will either deny or return without action any cases which fall within this lab-to-lab framework which are not accompanied by a narrative describing how and why a particular item was selected, a national security impact assessment, a description of how it fits into the program it is to support, and specific points of contact at the lab sponsoring the transaction. In addition, DoE should provide a copy of their security plan covering each of the agreements.
DoE involvement in a materials accounting project notwithstanding, the end-user is a facility of great concern both for weaponization and naval propulsion reasons. As the commodity and the device it will power will be under the control of the Russian end-user there will be virtually no accountability for its eventual end-use. In addition, the portable nature of the equipment makes it quite suitable for maintaining strategic weapons and propulsion systems in the field, which would help to improve the operational readiness of Russian nuclear and naval forces.
This and related cases raise serious concerns as to whether the verification inspection, inventory, monitoring programs -- of which there appear to be scores -- are out of control. In every case which has crossed my desk the U.S. side of the agreement is some sort of private contractor operating on behalf of the USG. More often than not it is a contractor-run national lab which is negotiating and committing the United States to fairly open-ended programs of assistance and technology transfer. The export control process is then faced with license applications to transfer specific technologies directly to the some of the most sensitive areas of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) nuclear weapons complex where they will simply be turned over for permanent unverifiable use in facilities of greatest strategic concern.
The justification given for approval is that the U.S. contractor says it is needed to support the program all indications are that the various cooperative programs with the FSU initiated over the past few years are basically lab-to-lab agreements which have some, but very limited, direct USG oversight. Instead, day-to-day functioning of these agreements is left to the contractors to decide what technology is (or is not) relevant, required, or even desirable to transfer to the FSU. Whether national security concerns are factored in is not evident in any of the applications for export licenses submitted for approval. Unfortunately, contractors are given to focus upon the achievement of milestones and satisfying their clients, in this case DoE and Russia. With such a focus, quibbling over specific capabilities regarding a piece of equipment is not something that will be given attention. Yet it is precisely this sort of micro-evaluation which is at the heart of the export control process and must be performed for the system to function. There is no sign that such analysis is being performed at present in regard to these Lab-to-Lab agreements.
In almost every such case, licensing analysts are rubber-stamping approvals based upon the simple test of whether "it looks reasonable and appears to fit within the lab-to-lab agreement." One cannot even tell whether the FSU requested specific equipment or if the U.S. side recommended it; or whether the FSU rejected a recommended piece of hardware and insisted on a much more ont size="2">dvanced device capable of performing tasks beyond those called for under the scope of the program. This was certainly the case with the super computers bound for Arzamas and Chelyabinsk, and not required by the lab-to-lab agreement which was being cited as cover for this unjustified export.
Other USG agencies are deferring to DoE on these cases and incorrectly assuming a degree of control and analysis which doesn't appear to be present. There is no evidence that real analysis or oversight is actually being performed. Instead we are all being asked to "believe" that the technology being transferred is the minimum required to perform the task cited and that there is little to no risk to U.S. security.
In 1997, I witnessed the intentional orchestration by the administration of a series of events resulting in the false certification to Congress that China is not a nuclear proliferant. This provided the Chinese legal access to many nuclear technologies to complement that which the committee so clearly demonstrated they were engaged in stealing. During that year, I witnessed the development of the twisted logic that since the PRC lost out in a head-to-head competition with Russia to sell Iran a nuclear reactor complex it can be construed as being forthcoming on proliferation issues. The fact that the Chinese withdrew their offer to provide Iran a nuclear reprocessing plant only after they lost the contract was interpreted by the administration as an opportunity to ìsellî China to Congress.
In April 1998, I again appeared before the Joint Economic Committee to discuss continuing problems with the growing strategic threat from China. Next I was subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in June where I testified about the intentional systematic failure of the export control process, as structured by this administration, to protect Americaís precious military technology advantage. My Senate testimony resulted in an investigation by the Inspectors General of the management of the export control process by the Defense, Commerce, State, Treasury, and Energy Departments and the CIA. In August I was called before the Cox/Dicks Committee where I testified on the PRC threat and worked very closely with that staff ñ providing over 18 inches of documents and hours of follow-on interviews with staff. Ever since these testimonies I have been subjected to, in staccato fashion, one adverse harassing act after another. The most prominent of these are: further lowering of my performance rating, attempts to isolate me from attending meetings concerning nuclear exports -- particularly when the IGís were visiting the interagency meetings pursuant to the Senate inspection request, a trumped-up letter of reprimand, sick leave harassment, a falsified charge of a security violation, and implied threats to charge me with insubordination or defiance of authority. In fact, the DoD IG found that of the 16 DTSA licensing officers I am the only one not to receive a bonus, or an outstanding or superior rating, this in spite of the fact that I am the only person to have authored any technical or policy analyses or to have stood up for DoD’s national security mission in the face of interagency obstructionism. All of this happened since my Cox/Dicks testimony. These actions were deemed so serious that Senator Thompson twice wrote to the Pentagon, including to Secretary Cohen, expressing concern for his witnesses. In addition, the Office of Special Counsel has accepted my case for a full investigation of political reprisals and illegal retaliation.
Dangers Facing Civil Servants Today
The politicization of the career Civil Service is an extraordinarily dangerous and insidious process that has been more radically advanced during the past six years than at any time since the enactment of the Hatch Act. Todayís hearing is a microcosm of an insidious process aimed at co-opting, by-passing, or eliminating unbiased professionals from the policymaking/implementation process. Without a nonpartisan professional civil service this nation will be subjected to wild mood swings and radical policy changes that will wreak havoc pursuant to the particular agenda of, not a particular elected government per se, but the armies of non-elected appointees who are often the advocates of extremist positions. The professional career Civil Service is, in a manner of speaking, a dampening force, or, the Ritalin the body politic, which prevents dangerous and intemperate initiatives from getting out of control.
Unfortunately, the present administration has so weakened and abused the structure of the career civil service that legions of sycophants, carpetbaggers, and plain old crooks have supplanted civil servants in many key positions. DoD routinely engages in two questionable personnel practices: the militarization of DoDís civil service by allowing widespread conversions of military personnel to civilian positions, and the inappropriate, possibly illegal, use of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act to directly appoint individuals without competition and avoid ceilings on political appointments. In many cases, particularly within the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, civil servants with decades of expertise in strategic weapons programs were shoved aside and demoted from key positions while DoE lab employees were brought in to fill their posts. These lab employees/IPA Fellows are then given a strong voice in which programs are pursued and which research facilities are awarded applied/or basic research contracts. This is featherbedding at its worst ñ allowing an eventual beneficiary of a program to determine how and where money is to be spent—yet this is how DTRA is structured. Even the head of the organization is not a civil servant but an IPA Fellow from Lawrence Livermore National Lab, one of DoEís problem children.
Between downsizing, contracting out, military rehires, and the abuse of the IPA program the fundamental relationship and connectedness of government to the general population is being radically altered. It is a mistake to assume that the military personnel who are being allowed to ìjump the lineî today, and unfairly receive government jobs (25 percent of DTSA’s "civilian" staff are retirees previously assigned there) ahead of the tens of thousands losing their jobs due to base closures and downsizing, are the same as the WWII, Korean, or Vietnam War citizen soldiers. Todayís military retirees, particularly the officer corps, are careerists with a much more tenuous connection to civil values and norms than previous generations of draftees. All veterans are not the same. In fact, the proximity of career civil servants to the American people is clearly receding. The shrinking pool of nonpartisan professionals is instead being replaced by contractors, IPAs, political appointees, and others who are motivated more by profit than the spirit of dedicated public service. Whose interests are advanced or protected in this situation ñ good government, the American people, or special interests?
The overwhelming inclination of many career military people who are dropped into a civilian policy setting, is to find, or invent, an S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure) manual that will tell them what to do every step of the way. Often the ambiguity of civilian policy issues imparts an air of desperation to those accustomed to a more rigid, defined, routine existence. Questioning authority, or pointing out inconsistencies/contradictions in policy implementation is an activity many find hard to cope with. For instance, when I made an issue out of the Israeli Arrow missile program having changed to the point that U.S. assistance may be in violation of our commitments under the international Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) I was castigated for even raising the issue. Never mind that that the MTCR is one of the cornerstones of U.S. non-proliferation policy or that the U.S. publicly accuses other nations of violations (i.e., the PRC/Pakistan M-11 transfers). Instead of engaging in a productive discussion I was told:
Since the Arrow program had the support of the Congress and is executed through a GOI-USG MOU, I fail to see how any individual with your tenure in export controls could propose such a position.
I would like to call upon members of the civil service oversight committees to investigate the developments I have just described and prepare a legislative remedy to ensure that the congressional vision of the character of the career civil service and its importance to a free and open society is mirrored by reality. In the meantime Congress should act swiftly to ensure that the pay cap on ìdouble-dippingî by retired military personnel be kept firmly in place. Removing the dual-compensation ceiling will only exacerbate the problems I have outlined above.
Failure of the Inspector General
It has been almost exactly one year to the day (June 28, 1998) that I gave sworn testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on the sad state of the export control process. It was one year prior to that testimony when Michael Maloof and I went up to the DoD Inspector Generalís Office to request a formal investigation of technology transfer to China and the national security threats it was creating. As part of our request we described the internal mismanagement of the export control process by DTSA managers and retaliatory acts they were engaged in for those who offer unpopular opinions or positions on issues concerning China. We were quite surprised when the Division Director said he was not interested in what we had to say and bluntly asked us to leave.
Is it any wonder that almost ten months after Senator Thompson directed the IGís of the Defense, Commerce, State, Energy, and Treasury Departments and the CIA to undertake an extensive review of the export licensing process that the DoD report is very weak? It does not reflect many of the issues brought up by DoD personnel. I am still surprised that of the six IGís directed to follow up on the concerns I expressed to the Committee only one, the DoD IG, even attempted to contact me. While I spent many hours speaking to the DoD IG, the reams of evidence I presented were minimized or shrugged off with statements like ìThat is beyond the scope of our audit.î While I have extensive notes highlighting the fatal weaknesses in the DoD report I think that the point can be better made by paraphrasing from the Air Forceís preliminary review of the draft report, which excoriated the IG for rampant failure to utilize evidence provided, downplaying major issues, and ignoring corroborating material provided by not only the Air Force, but the Army, Navy, and NSA as well.
In part, the Air Force stated:
The audit report based on word usage, semantics, and omission of significant and relevant documentation substantially misrepresented the documented facts, submitted by the Air Force. The seriousness of congressional testimony and the related congressional concerns that prompted this audit are downplayed when compared with the facts reported by Air Force and which are in documented OUSD databases, files and directives.
Those questions and requests from the DoD IG, on behalf of Congress took approximately 325 hours to perform research and answer specific requests for the Congressional inquiry. Approximately 194 specific questions were answered. Thirty-three typed pages were prepared with approximately 74 specifically detailed attachments. Over 124 historical records were reviewed and an additional 9,896 e-mails were individually reviewed and evaluated for the DoD IG. Air Force examined over 16 linear feet of Air Force records in order to answer the DoD IG questions.
This documentation revealed: the unauthorized release of classified futuristic space technology to foreign countries which negatively impacted both U.S. military and U.S. industry interests; the Defense Intelligence Agency's non-review of over 99% of all submitted munitions licenses; intimidation and related acts against export licensing officers; and the alteration and deletion of not only submitted positions of agencies but also the deletion of the coordinated office.
Only one reference could be found to an Air Force input. That input was in regard to training and that was semantically in error.
The DoD IG downplayed and failed to reference the potential compromise of numerous advance Air Force systems, directly related to actions by DTRA. The DoD IG never provided to Air Force specific documents that they requested our comments on, despite repeated requests by Air Force. The fact that the DoD IG promised to provide such information, on several occasions, yet elected to finalize a report to Congress purporting a collective DoD response is disturbing.
A DoD That Wonít Say No
The Defense Department was the leader in successful efforts to decontrol exports of supercomputers capable of processing vast quantities of complex information, and it supplied funding and other forms of assistance to contractors hired to justify preconceived policy initiatives in this regard. In a strategic context, such computer systems typically figure in weapons development laboratories, nuclear weapon simulation and modeling facilities, ICBM warhead design activities, and a host of other critical military applications. DoDís leadership harked right back to the role played by the new DoD chain of command in decades-long efforts to reform [read scrap] the export control system centered at the National Academy of Sciences.
Was it any wonder that DoD officials were unhappy when the Congress mandated, in Section 1211 (a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998, that Commerce was required to forward to the Defense Department all computer license applications for systems exceeding a certain level of performance? This new authority was an unwanted gift to some in DoD who led the charge to decontrol the very computers Congress addressed in the law. The White House immediately sought to neutralize this congressionally mandated requirement by requiring the signature of an under secretary in order to object to such an export (see Attachment 4). The Commerce Department narrowed the window even more by refusing to recognize the right of DoD officials to delegate authority internally.
As we meet today, the administration appears poised to announce yet another round of unilateral supercomputer decontrols. This time many fear that administration excesses will extend well above the current unjustifiable 7,000 MTOPS level. In 1995, ìPresident Clinton [unilaterally] decontrolled computers up to 2,000 MTOPS [from the previous CoCom ceiling of 260 MTOPS] for all users and up to 7,000 MTOPS for civilian use in countries such as Russiaî and China. This will enhance proliferators’ ability to pursue design, modeling, prototyping, and development work across the entire spectrum of weapons of mass destruction. The weapons design establishments of Russia and the Peopleís Republic of China stand to reap the greatest benefit from further decontrol.
Technology Security vs. Balance of Trade
These philosophies are, of course, diametrically opposed. Technology sold to a potential adversary that can be used to close the technical gap between its military systems and ours diminishes our national security. Any short-term gain in our economy would, with this result, represent at best a Pyrrhic victory. The flip side to the argument is that by engagement our economy is improved. This provides incentives for increased R&D to maintain the technical gap. The biggest beneficiary in such a cycle would be the defense industry, which would be called upon to save us from our own trade policy.
The National Science and Technology Council Committee for National Security listed three conclusions in its Phase 1 Progress report briefing (28 April 1997):
- Government controls over controlled technology are effective within legal and regulatory guidelines, but license decisions are generally made based on narrow evaluation factors and so do not include analysis of multidimensional and long- term effects.
- The government does not have a comprehensive understanding of the effects on U.S. national security interests of the international flow of both controlled and uncontrolled technology.
- Collecting and analyzing sufficient data to develop a comprehensive understanding of the international flow of both controlled and uncontrolled technology and its effects on U.S. national interests to determine if adjustments to policy are called for would be a major undertaking.
Controlled technology is being redefined as uncontrolled technology at an unprecedented rate and is being exported despite the fact that the government does not have a comprehensive understanding of the effects on national interests. While claims of ìregulatory effectivenessî are made relative to controlled technology (again, which is being nearly defined out of existence), the government has no clue concerning multidimensional and long-term effects. Why? -- it would be a major undertaking and would almost certainly expose the recklessness of current export control policy.
The export control system works only when there is a strong degree of creative tension between agencies. This natural adversarial approach ensures full and open debate. In addition, it is vital that higher echelons be regular participants in the process, and this is achieved only through escalation of issues to their level. Pre-emptive surrender because one does not want to involve higher authorities or because one is afraid that escalation may be misinterpreted as a personal failure to resolve issues does a great disservice to the agencyís mission, the process, and this nationís physical security. DoDís consistent pattern of weak or no opposition, capitulation, and failure to escalate issues is the single greatest factor in the loss of tension from the system and its consequent failure to execute its mission.
Tragically, nowhere in this government are analyses being performed to assess the overall strategic and military impact of the technology decontrols I described in my testimony before the Joint Economic Committee on June 17, 1997, and April 28, 1998. Nor are any analyses being performed on the impact of the day-to-day technology releases being made by the dysfunctional export licensing process. Yet it is precisely at the ìbig pictureî level where the overall degradation of our national security will be revealed. Without such assessments the government will continue to blunder along endangering the lives of our citizens unnecessarily. I was surprised when the Commerce Department’s IG concluded in response to Senator Thompson’s question:
The current dual-use licensing process does not take into account the cumulative effect of technology transfers. While individual technology sales may appear benign, combining technology sales over a long period of time may allow U.S. adversaries to build weapons of mass destruction or other capabilities that could threaten our national security.
On three separate occasions I formally recommended the creation of a modeling, simulation, and research branch which would be dedicated to conducting such cumulative and tactical impact assessments. To date, the only cumulative impact analyses created within DTSA are those which I undertook independently and for which I was routinely subjected to reprisal. It is notable that the Commerce Department has recognized the importance of such an effort while DoD still ignores the issue. Perhaps the reason lies in the following passage from a 1993 memo from DoD’s former DUSD for Counterproliferation to his boss the ASD for Nuclear Strategy and Counterproliferation. In describing the role of DTSA in DoD’s pecking order, he stated:
. . . it helped to assure that the [Assistant Secretary] and the [Under Secretary] were insulated from most (but not all) of the mind-numbing, arcane details of the world of export controls . . .
Perhaps, some day, DoD will be blessed with a leadership possessing the intellectual curiosity, capacity, and attention span necessary to effectively protect America’s national security equities in this "arcane" but vital field. In the meantime, however, the special interest juggernaut continues its steamroller tactics in attempting to "mow down" whatever is left of the export control process. Like the two-minute warning in a football game, the remaining 18 months of the present administration will witness a renewed assault on the concept of national security export controls. The upcoming supercomputer decontrol decision, new DoD initiatives to back itself out of the munitions licensing business, and an internal move to speed up export licenses for some of the key players in the China space launch fiasco—the event that gave birth to the Cox/Dicks Committee—are only the first in what promises to be a desperate push to completely gut the process. The increasingly politicized and compliant bureaucracy cannot be relied upon to restore balance to the system. Only detailed and vigorous congressional oversight is capable of preventing these excesses and their dangerous legacy from undermining our children’s future.
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