DIIG Current Issues No. 21: The Time Is Right for Export Control Reform

Over the last year, a flurry of meetings, papers, announcements, and legislative initiatives has focused on an issue area that has bedeviled policy makers and industry officials alike for decades: how to reform the U.S. Government’s “byzantine amalgam of authorities, roles, and missions”  relating to export controls. The goal, in President Barack Obama’s words, is “to concentrate our efforts on enforcing controls on the export of our most critical technologies, making America safer while enhancing the competitiveness of key American industries.”

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has long held a “change advocate” position on export control reform. CSIS President and Chief Executive Officer John J. Hamre, in particular, has been a leading voice since he was Deputy Secretary of Defense. Within CSIS, the Defense Industrial Initiatives Group has provided a forum for meaningful debate and collaboration among various stakeholders, including officials from the Departments of Commerce, State, and Defense, the U.S. Congress, foreign governments, industry, academia, and think tanks.