Thompson Schedules Hearing on Defense Technology Security administration

Washington, D.C. –Senate Governmental Affairs Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) has announced a public hearing on whether national security concerns are given proper consideration in the licensing process for the export of dual-use technologies. The hearing will focus on the Defense Department’s licensing role, which is handled through the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA). The hearing will be held on Thursday, June 25, 1998, at 10:30 a.m., in Room 342 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. Witnesses will include Dr. Peter Leitner, DTSA Senior Strategic Trade Advisor and Franklin C. Miller, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction.

DTSA acts as the executive agent for the U.S. on agreements to limit sensitive technical data and technology such as supercomputers and satellites to foreign countries. “Recent experience with technology exports to China illustrates the need for greater oversight of the process for approving advanced technology exports,” Thompson said.

In recent weeks, Congress has begun examining the effects of allowing U.S. satellite makers to launch communications satellites on rockets built by the People’s Republic of China. In Thursday’s hearings, the Committee will step back from the specifics of individual satellite cases in order to look at the crucial process by which our government licenses the export of all so-called “dual-use technologies.” Dual-use technologies are products and know-how that have both commercial and military applications. Communications satellites are one example, but there are many others, including supercomputers, advanced composite materials, and high precision machine tools.

“DTSA is supposed to bring to the licensing process the views of our fighting forces, who at the end of the day have to live with any military benefits other countries might obtain from dual-use technologies,”said Thompson. “However, concerns have been raised about the job DTSA does and with the dual-use process generally.”