Proposed U.S. Department of Defense Rule Could Restrict Research, AAAS Says
A proposed Department of Defense regulation on the use of export-controlled technology is premature and should not be pursued until the Department of Commerce finishes work on a rule covering similar ground, AAAS told the Pentagon this week.
Alan I. Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS, said in a letter to the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council that the association is concerned that the proposed rule "will further restrict the conduct of fundamental research and impede national security interests rather than protect them."
Leshner noted that the Department of Commerce is finalizing a rule to define the use of export-controlled technology by universities, laboratories and industry.
The Defense Department's rule is aimed at preventing unauthorized disclosure of dual-use information and technology to foreign nationals. It mandates segregated work areas and unique badging requirements for foreign nationals who may have access to export-controlled information and technology.
"Requiring segregated work environments appears overly burdensome and unnecessary, and could discourage bright foreign scholars and students from attending U.S. universities," Leshner wrote.
Beyond the additional costs of creating a segregated work environment, he said, the badging requirement "would appear to single out and perhaps stigmatize foreign students," even those from allied nations.
The letter said there are ample safeguards already in place, including visa screening for foreign nationals, classification procedures, export control laws and contracting language.
Read the text of the letter here.
12 October 2005