Raining Cannonballs on the "Fortress America" Mentality

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

Rules meant to protect the United States from sharing important scientific secrets with its enemies have created a thicket of red tape that is hindering the work of high-tech companies, scientists who want to collaborate with foreigners, and even efforts to equip U.S. soldiers with up-to-date weapons. Those are the conclusions of a National Academies' panel that released a damning report today, called "Beyond Fortress America: National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World." Such rules include restrictions set up by the Department of Commerce and the State Department that prohibit the export of certain items, the hiring of foreign nationals to work in dual-use fields such as aerospace or biotechnology, or the sharing of information through academic papers or other means.

The Academies’ report calls for new policies and changes within the White House, described after the jump:

1. A new policy that would require the government to consider the negative effects of limiting technological exports or scientific openness for the sake of protecting U.S. national security.

2. Setting an expiration date for items on lists that restrict the export of technologies abroad, as well as requiring federal agencies to revisit the lists once a year.

3. A new coordinating center in the White House to ensure that applications to export items are being reviewed expeditiously by agencies.

4. A new board in the White House to mediate disputes among agencies.

More to come later, after a briefing at the Academy.

Posted in Policy, Technology