The Obama administration is taking the first steps toward streamlining all aspects of export control under “four singularities,” National Security Director James Jones said Wednesday.
Speaking at the Senate Aerospace Caucus Luncheon, Jones said the administration’s goal is to have a single control list that incorporates both military and commercial goods that require licensing, a single agency to issue licenses, a single enforcement agency, and a single computer system to manage the control list.
The “singularities” will emerge in the third phase of the administration’s control program. Right now workers are evaluating items from the State department munitions list and Commerce Department control list, Jones said. The objective is to prioritize items by the degrees of control and licensing they require, starting with weapons of mass destruction and the most sensitive technologies.
Jones said the system will allow regulators to add new items, and more importantly remove items that no longer require export licensing.
“Second, it will help us to prioritize our controls, with the most stringent controls on the highest tier items and more flexible licensing mechanisms in the lower tiers, to include program licenses,” Jones said. The system also would allow the government to prioritize the processing of license applications.
Completion of the administration’s third phase will require congressional action, Jones said. In particular lawmakers will have to find a way create a single agency from the three that are now involved in export licensing. Congress also should harmonize civil and criminal penalties for export violations.
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