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U.S. battlefield superiority for sale to America's enemies
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 06/12/2009 @ 10:50 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
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A new report raises alarms about existing U.S. export controls over militarily-sensitive high technology, suggesting they are are insufficient to prevent them from illegal export, theft, espionage or reverse engineering, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The result could be a loss of the historic U.S. battlefield superiority because of the billions of dollars the Defense Department spends to produce advanced weapons systems.
In addition, sensitive dual-use and military technology can be easily and legally purchased from manufacturers and distributors within the United States and illegally exported without detection, the report says.
These and other conclusions from the U.S. Government Accounting Office, or GAO, come at a time when such technologies increasingly are making their way into the hands of such proliferating countries as Iran, North Korea and Syria, and to such major countries as China, India and Pakistan which act as conduits to these proliferators, some of which are regarded as state sponsors of terrorism.
GAO contends that the system designed to prevent or minimize these occurrences is insufficient to meet 21st century challenges of a hostile world security environment, coupled with serious economic challenges.
“Programs to protect critical technologies may be ill-equipped to overcome challenges in the current security environment,” the GAO said. “Vulnerabilities and inefficiencies undermine the export control system’s ability to protect U.S. interests.”
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The U.S. government controls the export of militarily-useful technologies, whether they are weapons or dual-use technologies which have application for weapons. The State Department reviews all munitions license applications for foreign policy reasons under the authority of the Arms Export Control Act. Exporters of munitions items use the International Trafficking for Arms Regulations, or ITAR, as a basis to determine what munitions are subject to State review.
Dual-use technologies come under the purview of the U.S. Commerce Department by authority of the Export Administration Act. Export Administration Regulations, or EAR govern the technology levels that require such licenses.
The Defense Department role is to review for national security reasons those munitions and dual-use license applications referred to it by State and Commerce. DOD can only recommend a position. However, if it is at variance with State or Commerce decisions, the Secretary of Defense can escalate DOD’s recommendation all the way to the President, if necessary. That rarely happens.
After an extensive study of the U.S. export control system, however, the GAO discovered many sensitive munitions and dual-use exports subject to export control are escaping proper scrutiny. Export controls, which no longer have the attention they once did during the time of the Cold War, today are mired in serious jurisdictional disputes between State and Commerce, resulting in poor coordination.
“These disagreements create considerable challenges for enforcement agencies in carrying out their inspection, investigation and prosecution responsibilities,” the study found.
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