A study prepared by a top-level panel says that current export controls on militarily sensitive U.S. technology may be “overcorrecting” previous weaknesses in that system, resulting in “a complex and confusing control system” that makes it more difficult for U.S. businesses to compete in international markets. Moreover, this control system has “an increasingly corrosive effect” on U.S. relations with allies. The panel recommended that the United States concentrate more effort on bringing about uniformity in the export control policies of countries belonging to the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom), i.e., most of the member nations in NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and Japan.
The 21-member panel was appointed by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), a joint unit of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The panel, composed of administrators, researchers, and former government officials, was chaired by AGU member Lew Allen, Jr., director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, Calif.) and former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. Their report was supported by NAS funds, by a number of private organizations (including AGU), by the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and State, by the National Science Foundation, and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.