High Performance Computers and Export Control Policy: Issues for Congress [Updated February 10, 2003]   [open pdf - 123KB]

"Congress has a strong interest in export control policy and technologies that may have both commercial and military applications outside of the United States. Through its constitutionally delegated authority to regulate foreign commerce, it has the authority to control exports for national security or foreign policy purposes. The 107th Congress is closely examining issues of national export control policy, including reauthorization of the Export Administration Act (EAA), and control policies concerning key technologies...Congressional interest in HPCs has primarily, but not exclusively, been focused on the dual-use applications of HPCs...The 108th Congress likely will again consider the the reauthorization of the EAA...There are several issues that congressional policymakers are addressing concerning reauthorization of the Export Administration Act. One is proliferation-- who obtains this technology and how they use it. In response to concerns about proliferation, Congress legislated licensing, post-shipment verification and Congressional notification of exports and changes in licensing thresholds for HPCs. However, some contend that these safeguards and restrictions have not been effective. Another issue is the notification process, in which the executive branch not only notifies the legislative branch of HPC export control changes, but describes the national security implications as well...The U.S. computer industry has raised concerns about another issue-that restrictions only hurt U.S. commercial interests...Yet, there is no consensus as to what should replace MTOPS, if anything. Among the issues facing the 108th Congress are whether to maintain HPC export controls by using MTOPS, revise them by using a benchmark other than MTOPS, or completely eliminate controls in recognition of the worldwide availability of certain technology and rapid technological innovation." - From Summary

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31175
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